From the Ashes of Angels

All Journeys Begin Somewhere...
Recollections of The Iron Raven

It was nice to arrive back at the House of 1,000 Candles just 4 short nights since my Time Under the Stars… I guess I cut quite the striking figure in my new leathers and fine blades; Alexi almost didn’t recognize me.

Being back was a short lived feeling though. No sooner had I arrived than I received a summons from none other than Keira Ghosttalker. It seemed that though I was fresh back from my training, I am already to be given my first assignment! Truly, I expected some amount of time before being called upon. I must confess that truth be told I was looking forward to some moments of quiet amongst the 1,000 candles, after what I’ve seen and done…and the dreams return when I’m gone from these walls.

When I arrived at the summons I met the rest of the group her eminence had assembled. It is quite the disparate group. Don’t get me wrong, they’re all nice people and make good traveling companions; but it’s quite the eclectic mix she has called upon. I forget my place; her eminence knows what she is doing and is much more knowledgeable than I…and hey at least I won’t be leaving everyone I know behind at the temple! As a group we are to report to Abbess Jenaya Reni at the Temple of the Black Star in Rejksburg to help investigate the frequent occurrence of “shadow crossings” in the region around the city, whatever those are. I’m guessing that’s what some of the others of our group are for, I know it’s not what I’m useful for.

After the briefing, Brother Hrafn decided there was no sense waising time and we made ready to head out that afternoon. So my “hellos” would also have to serve as “good byes”…at least THIS time I got to say “good bye”.

It was an uneventful few nights to Donistun, but then we had a comfortable bed to rest in. Four nights after that we came across a walled way stop consisting of a single inn and stable, apparently run by and for the Fast Horse service. Dirge was able to barter lodging for us for in exchange for several of his tales. A win-win for me, as I hadn’t gotten to hear his stories in some four years of more.

Several more nights out on the road later we came across some vagabonds posing as travelers in distress…“their wagon was hanging off the road”. After a few short words with Hrafn it was clear they were not who they claimed and they lashed out at us. Fates collided…

“I must not hesitate”

My training coursed through my head and I reacted quickly and without hesitation, going straight for who appeared to be the leader. I delivered a devastating blow, exactly as I aught; then I faltered… It all happened so fast: her blood sprayed everywhere, swords rang, people swirled around every which way. I was pierced heavily through at the shoulder. Then there were the incantations from behind, spells from those that I traveled with. Hrafn bestowed a blessing from the Raven Queen upon me and my shoulder felt much better. I was pierced through a second time then again. The chaos was complete…or at least more than I was prepared for. Training is one thing, but can only prepare you so much. I was overwhelmed; my vision began to dim, then the world went black….

…when I came to…my secondwind lifting me from darkness, the battle still raged. Though it had moved slightly down the road and to the side. I shook my head and got my wits about me, “remember your training”. I quickly got to my feet, finished off the warrior I had first engaged, then rushed to Deitrich Essenbach’s aid. He was battling two of the brigands and more where coming back in. They had apparently been knocked from the road. I rushed past him and quickly dispatched one at his back. It was mop up work after that.

I think we learned a lot from our first test as a group. Most importantly, I think, we learned we haven’t worked together and for my part at least…we don’t function like those we’ve trained with.

Majestic Queen guide me…guide my vision, guide my arm, guide my purpose…

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Hrafn's Journal -- 16 Harvestide, 1117
Game Session 1 - 5/6/2015

Harvestide 5, 1117

Keira Ghosttalker gifted me with a relic of the Temple, a suit of dark chainmail armor. She told me the Raven Queen wished me to have it for a time. This is quite a handsome gift, and foretells of fateful days ahead.

Harvestide 6, 1117

High Priestess Keira Ghosttalker gathered a small group of us together in the House of a Thousand Candles. Many of the faces are familiar, though some unexpected.

There is the human woman, Hali, child of famous psionically gifted heroes. She has always been an unusually bright flash of color around the temple when her parents were frequently off on some adventure. I cannot help but wonder if she is to join us to give her a chance to step from their shadows, or perhaps to keep her out of the hair of the elders, given her past reputation for mischief, or perhaps our Dark Lady has some unrevealed purpose.

Monique Iron Raven is another unexpected addition. I have not seen her around the temple for some years now, since the incident that evidently prompted her departure. Strange to thing that a death would cause someone to leave a temple to the goddess Death. Still, she seems to have been trained in more martial skills in her years away. Perhaps her fate lies with ours yet.

Deitrich Essenbach is a logical choice for a trip through dangerous lands. His sponsor/mentor clearly chose a capable travelling companion, though I wonder what his inner motivation to serving the church is.

Drelf the half-orc is another natural member of the party. His Order is known to sometimes serve as escorts to members of the faith on dangerous pilgrimage. His visage and demeanor alone may help to dissuade would be bandits.

Finally there’s the bard known now as Dirge. I do not know what his real name is, if he even has one, but I cannot be one to judge men by the names they may have once possessed. His knowledge of the arcane and skills with coordinating others could be powerful boons. What brings a bard into service of the Raven Queen is also interesting, though I sense something unusual about him, as if he has a more intimate knowledge of death than most living men do.

The High Priestess has set us the task of travelling to the Temple of the Black Star, in Rejksburg. I have heard this temple is most favored by the Raven Queen, but I have not previously been able to visit. The Abbess Jenaya Reni has reported that an unusual number of shadow crossings, weak points between our work and the Shadowfell, have been forming nearby. We are tasked to assist in investigating the reasons for such. I believe we shall depart this very afternoon.

Harvestide 10, 1117

We are passing through Donnistun and beyond the boundaries of what passes for civilization in these troubled days.

Harvestide 14, 1117

We are staying at one of the few walled way posts kept by the outriders who send quick mounted messengers throughout the lands. A warm meal behind sturdy walls is welcome, and they seem to welcome new faces and Dirge’s talent in entertaining.

Harvestide 16, 1117

We must be getting nearer to our destination. We came across a group of bandits on the Imperial road. They were rather clumsily pretending to be in distress with a wagon run partly off the raised roadway. I tried to warn them off, but it must have been the day of their ultimate fate for most of them.

I thought way may lose one or more of our own number as well. The fight was swift and brutal, but we were victorious. Deitrich Essenbach even claimed a war prize of their fallen leader’s enchanted blade. A couple of them fled and the rest of them are now beyond the worries of this world.

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Hrafn's Journal -- 18 Harvestide, 1117
Game Session 2 - 5/13/2015

16 Harvestide, 1117 – Evening

Today was evidently slated to be an eventful day in the celestial calendar, at least for our newly formed troupe. Only another hour or two’s travel down the road we came upon some sort of spiders’ nest built up against the elevated roadway. We tried to skirt the far side of the road to avoid the creatures, but they must have been hungry. They were very large for spiders, the better part of the size of a man! Several made impressive, lunging jumps in to bite at us before jumping away. Others skittered in to try to bring us down. While our group still needs to learn how to fight better together, we were able to defeat the beasts despite their venomous bites. Monique Iron Raven fell again in this battle, but she clearly has a part yet to play as by the Queen’s grace (partly applied through my ministrations) she recovered.

- OOC Note: I’ll correct dates if I have them wrong here. I’m doing this from memory and can’t remember if there was another travel day or not but thought there was based on previous calculations on how long our trip should be -

18 Harvestide, 1117

We continued down the highway and began entering into more developed farmlands… The outskirts of Rejksburg’s territory.

We arrived at the city proper today, arriving to a gate in the walled section of the city. Across the river, in the unwalled reaches of the city built up for the last great crusades, I can see a truly massive structure. I have to wonder what it might be. Those thoughts quickly left my mind as we proceeded to the heart of the city.

On the great square at the center of the city we passed the massive block of a temple to Erathis, god of civilization. Along one edge of the square lie the walled grounds of a large estate or palace, presumably the Ducal residence. Most impressive though is the towering, ornate edifice of the Temple of the Black Star. I had heard tell that this temple was favored by our Lady, and once was a favorite of pilgrims, but stories could not prepare me for its size and intricacy. There were ravens perched everywhere. While my people are known for skill in architecture and design, we do not build structures with so many elements purely for decorative effect. It is a sight to behold.

We made our way inside and the interior was just as impressive. Multiple altars were inside, and we were met by an usher or docent before we reached the main altar. He led us to meet another brother, who seemed to serve as an aide or secretary to the Abbess. His name is Brother Seerick (? I do not know how he spells his name). He seemed surprised when she agreed to see us almost immediately.

The Abbess herself is an impressive figure, and was grateful that we were sent to answer her call for aid. While she would like our help investigating the Shadow Crossings, there is a more pressing issue she requested our help with.

It seems that recently deceased criminals were no longer lying still in one of the licheyards. We spoke with one of those who perform the burials and learn they recently discovered empty graves, and a group of corpses milling about the yard. They were attached when they approached, but were able to escape without loss of life.

We have agreed to go out to the site and try to lay these souls to rest, and hopefully find any source for the disturbance. We are heading there now…

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Some time before night fall
Recolections of The Iron Raven

Wow, out here the hits just keep coming. A few hours after the bandits, we encountered a nest of spiders camped out along the same side of the road. My guess is the bandits had been camped out here to lay their ambush for a little while, else the spiders probably would have eaten them. We attempted to skirt them on the south side, but I guess they were just hungry and came for us.

Deitrich Essenbach strode forward and led the way, but was quickly assaulted. We knew there would be no walking past. Drelf jumped forward to engage but the dastardly spiders were too agile. Being a little slower off the mark I hustled to catch up and covered our left sides; quickly tossing a dagger at one on the lower ground.

CRAP (oops language) I left that dagger down there. What was I thinking?

Anyway, I continued along to the main fight at the front where our front line was attempting to wade into the skirmishing spiders. They swung around behind us Deitrich Essenbach and Hrafn turned back to cover them while Drelf pressed forward. I went with him hoping a good one two combo would put the lead spider down. Have I mentioned we’ve never worked together at all…?

Drelf missed and I tripped up on him attempting my own strike, scoring only a glancing hit. The spider bit me deep on the leg. I could feel it pumping it’s poison into my blood. Moments later it over whelmed me.

Hrafn bandaged the wound and brought me around and I helped clean up what was left of the pests. We continued on to Rejksburg. We entered the gates unquestioned; passing by a set of inattentive guards, who pointed us along to the Temple of the Black Star when questioned. The temple is a massive structure sitting on the city square, and temple to Eraiths sits opposite. Between the two is a walled compound I can only assume is the mayors…or baron…or whoever it is that governs here.

Inside the temple is massive…you must be able to hoast thousands of worshipers here. There are multiple smaller alters through out. I could find a lot of blissful solitude and reprieve from my dreams here. I made my way to the main alter alongside Brother Hrafn to pay my respects and offer up a prayer. We were met shortly there in by the first of several go betweens which would EVENTUALLY lead us to Jenaya Reni.

When we were able to finally meet with her, she thanked us for coming to help with investigating the Shadow Crossing occurrences; however, she had a more immediate need that she hoped we could fill. It turns out the guilty aren’t staying at rest and have run the grave diggers off. We agreed that this is troubling and the Raven Queen would not stand for such things.

So, we spoke with one of the caretakers and headed off…

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Hrafn's Journal -- 18 Harvestide, 1117; pg 2
Game Session 3 - 5/20/2015

Upon arrival at the licheyard, nothing unusual was seen. We ventured further in and a bit to the east and saw several figures milling near a tomb.

As we approached through the neat rows of headstones dating to the time of the great crusade we began to see the figures were shambling corpses: zombies. We fought the zombies amid the grave rows, avoiding the freshly overturned dirt where restless corpses seemed to have recently clawed their way from the ground.

The zombies hit hard, but we were victorious, though Monique Iron Raven was knocked out again. I am somewhat concerned that she might be rushing to Lady’s embrace before her allotted time… Ultimately she was revived and we were victorious. We found the zombies wearing the tattered remains of Imperial soldiers of old. Monique also recovered some enchanted armor from the toughest of the zombies.

While we caught our breaths and examined the bashed doors of the tomb, Monique climbed to the roof to see if there were any other undead in sight. She reported seeing no others nearby. Where then were the other bodies from the disturbed graves? There were more than the zombies we put down could account for.

Soon we turned our attention to the battered doors of the tomb before us. It looked as if one had been bashed in and then shoved back into place with the outside surface facing in. Once we moved the door out of the way, the light from outside spilled into the building, dimly illuminating three intact sarcophagi, and a whole in the floor where a fourth had been. Four animated skeletons, wearing the tattered remains of Imperial army officers moved to attack as soon as Drelf entered.

Drelf quickly assaulted two, but they returned the attack with brutal force and he fell to a pair of short ranged arrows. It was clearly not his day to die, as only a different fate could explain how the skeleton standing over his fallen body could have missed with its killing blow. We quickly rushed in and drove the creatures back with the Holy Wrath of the Raven Queen and we quickly put the creatures back to rest. As we caught our breaths and made sure everyone was ready to continue on, we noticed with some curiosity that the three sarcophagi were still sealed.

Once we ventured down into the tunnel where the fourth sarcophagi should have been, we found ourselves bathed in a harsh, blue-white light and I sensed a dark, unholy presence. We had entered into a series of chambers, three arranged off of a central chamber, each with some sort of large plyon, emitting the light. The chambers themselves appeared unworked by tools and were arranged to the north, east and south of the central room. Each pylon was surrounded by defiled ground that I believe was boon to unlife, providing reanimating force to abominations that were felled within it.

We faced off against a spectral undead who directed zombies and skeletons against us. The foul power of the pylons kept animating piles of nearby bones into more skeletal foes. We fought the monsters while buying time for one another to disrupt the powers of the pylons. As each one was broken, their light dimmed, and they stopped animating more foes.

The ghostly creature fought hard against us, proving hard to hurt and very elusive, able to slip beyond sight, evaporating like so much mist before our blades and prayers. It also proved able to cloud our vision and judgement, causing us to see foes where our friends stood… A terrible foe indeed. However, our prayers and spells protected us and tore at our foes, our strikes shattered skeleton after skeleton, and our determination saw us through. We emerged the victors, all pillars dark and our ghostly foe and its minions vanquished.

As we caught our breath and assessed our surroundings, we found quite a number of riches in the cave-like chambers: coins and gems, and a blackened helm set with green gems that seems to be enchanted with potent, dark power over the souls of the recently dead.

Many questions remain… What is this strange place? Is it new or old? Have we accounted for all the disturbed grave sites? Perhaps the Abbess will be able to provide insights once we return to report our findings.

At least for now there are fewer afronts to the cycle of life and death wandering about.

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Into the Graveyard
Recollections of The Iron Raven

We got to the graveyard later that afternoon. Nothing was readily seen as we approached so we entered and began to explore its depths. We soon spotted, in a deeper section amongst stones marking the deceased from one of the battles of the Crusades, some Zombies milling about a simple mausoleum.

We moved up to position and Drelf got the jump on them. They reacted quicker than could be expected and started to converge on him. My purpose could not be clearer…I moved up quickly alongside Drelf in support and dispatched one, plunging my blade clearly through its decrepit body. We turned in towards center in support of Hrafn. Next thing I knew the larger zombie had clubbed my hard about the head and I blacked out.

A quick blessing from the Raven Queen through Hrafn and I was back, barely missing a step. When all was said and done I’d dispatched 4 of the foul things. In searching the bodies we noted that one suit of their leathers hadn’t aged in the least since they’d been interred. I rolled them up for examining and cleaning later.

So I know I dropped a goodly number of our foes, but I can’t let that make me over confident. I need to stay on my feet better, or I’m going to have a hard time proving myself in the eyes of these veteran warriors. I know it’s early in our travels together and they probably see me as “still young yet” or “that temple kid”; but this is what I’ve trained for these past three years. They’ll come to see it, if I can’t keep my head….possibly literally.

We moved into the mausoleum. Drelf took the lead and breached the door. He was confronted by a sinister looking skeleton wielding a large sword while attempting to rush the archer in the back corner. He got two in the chest for his efforts and dropped like a stone (just goes to show you it’s not as easy as it looks). Before the rest of us could react the skeleton raised his sword over his head for a finishing blow. By the grace of her Majesty he was missed. There really is no other explanation.

I rushed through the door hugging the wall to the left. Two strikes later and I’d swept clear the flank. Hrafn pressed up the center to the aid of Drelf. Soon after I converged on the pair of them. Drelf went for the archer in the corner while I worked with Hrafn to dispatch two more. Other important highlight…I maintained my feet the entire engagement.

In the back corner near the archer, where a sarcophagus once lay, there was a sloping tunnel leading further underground. We pressed onward. At the bottom was a rough hewn cavern with an eerily lit column at it’s center. Three other such chambers with similar columns branched off this central chamber. Some sort of ghost was there along with several zombies and skeletons.

I sprang ahead to engage the ghost, tossing a dagger into one of the zombies as I went. A glint of something caught my eye as I engaged and I pointed it out to Dirge as the rest of our party poured into the room. Hrafn called on The Raven Queen to deliver a divine blessing onto us to bolster us in the face of such ubominations. When Dirge investigate the column further he caused it to diminish. Drelf was accosted by the ghost and next thing I knew he charged me.

Chaos ensued, but with the Raven Queens blessing upon Hrafn’s lips we could not loose. Dirge and I cleared out several foes from the left side of the room and I rushed the column in that direction and powered it down. Dirge, Drelf, and I had a much harder time with the one in the room straight away, but eventually we got through it and caught up with the rest of the party in the remaining room.

As I said, with the Queens blessing flowing so clearly from Hrafn’s lips we could not loose. It’s hard to say how many I dispatched here, at least 5?, because the dreadful columns kept reanimating their fallen corpses. But just as we had the battle all but wrapped up, he ceased the blessing and walloped me someth’n good. I hope he hasn’t mistakenly read the fervor with which I pour myself into my Queen’s cause as anything more than just that…a devotion to her design. Or was it that he caught a glimpse of my end…?

He apologized later, saying that the ghost had gotten into his head. That makes sense, as it’s what happened to Drelf as well apparently. Oh well, I really don’t need them trying to help speed me along while there is still work to be done. Guess I should be on the watch for signs as well.

Tally count as night falls…around a dozen filthy undead returned to the cycle…I hope. All in all a much better day.

Majestic Queen guide me: lend clarity to my vision, keep my aim true, and guide my purpose…

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To investigate a Shadow Crossing...you have to start some where.
Recollections of The Iron Raven

We returned to the Temple of the Black Star, from the graveyard to give our report to the Abbess. She seemed pleased by what we’d accomplished, but not surprised by the news. Not even Hrafn’s theory that the chambers that we descended down to might have actually been in the Shadowfell. I confess, his theory definitely caught me by surprise. The others seemed to agree though and I find now fault with his logic.

We presented the Abbess with the question as to if this skull shaped helm, which seems to be able to trap souls, is acceptable to the Goddess’; for Brother Hrafn was quick to note that it seems to be something that she would not condone. Jenaya Reni could not comment one way or the other for sure. She felt that at the least the Goddess would not want to see it used on citizens. Serick, seems to be of another opinion, but he didn’t express it. Additionally, Jenaya Reni offered that if we wanted to seek further guidance we could seek out a small shrine to the Goddess in the mountains north of here. She warns that such a path would likely be treacherous, as the last group she sent on a pilgrimage to the shrine has not been heard from. They left in the spring. She fears the worse.

We spent the night in the Temple’s dorms. Once I’d fixed up my gear and did my best to cleans the leathers we found today, I laid out my gear for the morning then went down to the chapel for some quiet, meditative, cleaning. I met one of the young acolytes while I cleaned. She must have drawn the short straw to get the late night shift cleaning the main chapel. She was rather bashful and I wasn’t able to get much out of her while we worked, nor could I dissuade her from coming to help wherever I tried to work. Oh well, it was less meditative then I might have liked, but the company was nice. I retired after an hour or two and got some much needed…dreamless…sleep.

After the night passed we were up and out early enough. First stop was to get some supplies on the way out of town. Hrafn was able to learn that there is apparently a shortage of Healing Ritual components. There have been targeted raids of caravans carrying such goods since winter. He bought what we could from the one vendor we found with them. It was only a few gold’s worth. Good in a pinch, but that’s about it. We also grabbed a few days provisions then headed out.

It was a pretty uneventful trek out to the location of the largest of the recent shadow crossings. They apparently appear randomly and only remain for a time. It isn’t know what causes them, why they appear where, or pretty much anything else about them. I’m hoping my companions can figure something out because I’m at a loss. My roll here is probably best served keeping a sharp watch out and a quick blade if the need arises.

We searched the half dozen abandoned farm houses at the site of the crossing. We found practically nothing. The only thing of note really is that what “signs” we could find seem to indicate that the residence were last here at some point in the evening (evening tasks were left/dropped while in process). Others have come by since and lead the animals away.

We continued on another hour or so to the forest. Nothing of note was seen here either until just as we were preparing to turn around I noted some drakes lurking near the edge of the woods, just before they decided to strike. From what I’m told they wouldn’t normally roam the edges of such a wood, but rather lurk further within. I noted that they looked famished and we guessed that something had driven them from their usual haunts and led them to attack what they could find (us) out of hunger.

It was a quick confrontation. They attacked quickly and almost overwhelmed us with their ferocity and determination, but we recovered and quickly turned the tables on them. I piled their corpses so that when we return tomorrow it’ll be easier to tell if something else come along and feasted on the carcasses.

We returned to the site of the shadow crossing and proceeded onwards to a farm house on the next hill that might have seen something of what happened. We were informed that it seemed to happen one night about a month back. The boy we talked with had said “night” to them as everyone retired for the evening but no one was seen out and about the next day. He confirmed that a few days after the incident some people braved the strange occurrence and rounded up the animals. They had a couple at their farm here. Once the animals were calmed down he couldn’t decern anything different from their own animals. Some people have reported seeing lights at night is some of the houses at night.

We’d already had the idea, but that seemed to help confirm our path forward. We ventured back to the site of the crossing as the night approached…and are now sitting tight in one of the houses, waiting to see if we can learn anything else once night falls.

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Hrafn's Journal -- 19 Harvestide, 1117
Game Session 4 - 5/27/2015

18 Harvestide – Late Afternoon

After catching our breaths from the battle, we examined our surroundings. The chambers of our final confrontation were definitely unusual. The transition from the tunnel into the first chamber seemed like something that couldn’t be manufactured by any humanoid craft. Considering the feeling of the area, I suspect this place may be some sort of shadow crossing into the Shadowfell.

We returned to the Temple of the Black Star and reported our findings to the Abbess. It seems she was not overly surprised to hear our report that a shadow crossing may have opened so close to the city.

We discussed the magical helm we found, seeking her thoughts on its powers in relation to our Queen’s ways. She agreed it sounded like something that should be used with great caution, and suggested that if we sought more direct judgement on the matter by our Patron that there is a shrine in the mountains where it is said She may focus Her gaze.

After some more discussion, we agree to head to a cluster of farming homes a bit more than a half day’s journey from the city to investigate one of the other areas of shadow crossing in hopes of discovering something that had been missed by those who had already been there. We leave in the morning

19 Harvestide, 1117

On our way out of town we stopped for some supplies. It seems that the herbs and other components required for healing rituals are in short supply this year. Since winter, several merchant caravans carrying such supplies had been robbed.

We made our way uneventfully to a cluster of farm houses at the appointed location. They seemed abandoned as if the occupants had just gotten up and left. There were no signs of panic, nor signs that the occupants packed up or planned to leave. One of our group noticed a few sets of footprints that just seemed to stop in mid-stride.

Finding nothing else glaringly obvious, we headed closer to the forest, to see if we could find any sign of incursion from that direction. We didn’t see any major signs of humanoid passage or activity, but when we reached the edge of the wood, we were assaulted by frightened looking, somewhat malnourished drakes. This was definitely unexpected considering they normally lair further into the forest. We had little choice but to dispatch the creatures after their aggressive assault.

Since it was already getting later into the afternoon we decided to return to the area of the houses for the evening. On our way back we detoured to talk to one of the local farmsteaders. The young man there described how one day the farmers were there, the next morning they were gone. Eventually some of the locals went and recovered the livestock, but there had been no sign of the missing people. Some sketchy reports claim lights have been seen in the upper windows of some of the abandoned houses.

The only other real point of note was a comment the man made about the animals of the forest being more aggressive this year. After our experience with the drakes, I cannot help but wonder if there is something stirring in the forest that has upset the natural order and driven some of the creatures out of their normal territory in the woods. Perhaps we will have a chance to look into it further.

Tonight we’re setting up camp in the center of the cluster of abandoned farmsteads. Maybe nighttime will reveal something we could not find in daylight…

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Night Falls...Day Breaks
Recollections of The Iron Raven

Change of plans….

We camped between the houses, such that we could observe all of them. It was figured that this would improve out chances of noticing evening happenings. We broke up into two watches instead of three and settled down for the night. I was to be on second watch some time after midnight.

Some time after second watch had settled in and fell to slumbering our awake compatriots noted some lights moving in various houses. They roused the rest of us. I grabbed my blades and made ready to approach a house. Hrafn gestured that I should put on my armor…that probably would be helpful. shrug While doing so I too noted a light in a nearby window. As soon as we were set I quietly made my way over to the house.

After gently opening the door we filed inside, Deitrich Essenbach bringing up the rear and watching the other buildings. What we found I cannot really understand. They were people somewhere between here and the beyond, seeming to just be going about their evening activities. I went over to a lady in the corner appearing to be tending to some mending; mending that also seemed to be laying on the floor in our reality.

Did something kill these people and these but shadows….memories of what their life had been?

Drelfand I led the way upstairs, while a man came in through (literally) the front door, carrying a candle. I am told the downstairs apparitions vanished when the candle entered the room. The man made his way upstairs, passing through Hrafn with an icy coldness on his way to bed. He entered one of the upstairs bedrooms, lay down in bed, and blew out the candle before sinking through the bed. All the while, I had been notinceing movement out of the corner of my eyes in the corners of various rooms, but I couldn’t

Lastly, some of us went to investigate the basement. It was completely dark, so I lit a candle and led Drelf and Dirge down the rickety stairs. There was nothing down there we could see, though I shown the light all around. I gestured the other two back up the stairs, moved to the base of the stair, and blew out the candle. I’d been thinking to see if anything appeared once the light was gone, something that couldn’t be seen in the presence of the candle…

…well I still couldn’t SEE them, but I suddenly felt their despair wash over me from the darkness in biting waves of cold misery. It quite nearly froze me where I stood. I did my best to regain my senses and rushed headlong up the stairs back into the welcoming moonlight and my friends. I raised the alarm as best I could, but all I could really think for the moment was just how cold I was and of a need to get warm. Someone through a sunrod to the bottom of the stairs, Hrafn I think. Deitrich moved to block the stairs and intercept whatever might come rushing up after me. Drelf quick stepped down past him to investigate and engaged what turned out to be two tiny balls of darkness exuding sorrow. They quickly fled his onslaught and rushed Deitrich who pinned one as the other…bounded by?

More revealed themselves within the house, yet they all headed for the doors which they couldn’t get out. Failing to escape they turned their misery on those of us closes to them. I admit, I was torn as to what to do. They seemed more scared than vicious, yet I couldn’t deny the attacks they had inflicted on myself and those with me. I quickly turned to Hrafn for guidance; he assured me of their undead nature and that we should put them to rest. I fell inward on my training and that was it. We dispatched them all.

Once night faded, we gathered up our gear and headed back to the forest. The carrion I’d piled up previously had been ravaged by a variety of beasts of all sizes. We headed off into the forest. The sounds were rather intense, more so than I would have expected from the descriptions of what forests were like. We found the remains of many beasts and animals picked clean as we ventured beneath the forest’s canopy.

As we pressed on with out exploration, I eventually came to the understanding…perhaps more like “feeling”….that we were being watched, or rather hunted. I can’t put my finger on it, but there is something out there.

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Hrafn's Journal -- 20 Harvestide, 1117
Game Session 5 - 6/3/2015

Harvestide 19, continued

Not long had we settled in for sleep, having set a modified watch schedule to keep more eyes out as part of our investigation, then those of us not on watch were awakened.

The watch team had noticed moving lights inside some of the houses. Dirge even claimed to have seen a shadowy human figure beyond the houses…

We geared up and went in to investigate. Unlike during our daytime exploration, at night there was a strange, prickling feeling as we crossed the threshold of the farmhouse. It wasn’t as intense as what we experienced under the tomb, but definitely marked something unusual.

At first, things seemed much as we had left them, but then spectral images of the inhabitants came into view. Unlike ghosts, they seemed to pay us no mind, as if they were memories given faint form of the last night these people inhabited the house. While a few of our number noted faint stirrings of dust or cobwebs in the corners of some of the rooms, all else was still and quiet.

Just as some of the group started up the stairs, another spectral man entered through the rear of the house, and strangely the candle he carried gave off light as he entered. I’m at a loss to say how this phenomena manifests. He passed right through me on his way up the stairs, and he disappeared when he laid down in a bed, his candle light extinguishing as well.

Finally we were wrapping up our survey of the house when Monique extinguished her candle while still in the basement…

We were immediately beset upon by griefmotes. They are particularly tricky little undead balls of sorrow who can disappears before your eyes and freeze their victims. They did seem to act strangely, trying to escape the house, but apparently unable. Fortunately their disorientation allowed us to defeat them without permanent losses.

Once the fight was done, we surveyed the other houses and found no more disturbances or lights. Eventually we settled back down and managed to get some rest.

20 Harvestide

After readying ourselves for the day we made off for the forest to do some investigations there. It seems the situation within must be particularly rough for the wildlife as the bodies of the drakes we’d defeated only a half day prior had been ravaged by scavengers. This included what looked like signs of creatures that normally would not eat the dead…

None of us are wilderness experts by any means, but we did our best to plot a course through the forest so that we could take an arcing path that will bring us back out to the forest’s edge with time to make it back to the farm settlement by nightfall.

While we traveled through the wood we noticed a cacophony of animal sounds. It seems odd to me that it would be sounding so full of life when such violent death seems to lair in this place. We’d best be on our guards for with the strange behavior we’ve already witnessed, who knows what creatures that might normally avoid us may choose to attack instead.

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