Myria

What Lies Beneath
The Adventures of the (Sovelliss) Seven, As Told by Tau

Beneath a legion of stars, in a quiet garden at House Sovelliss, the Warforged Tau has settled itself in the brush, looking to the trees for assurance. It’s unclear why or to whom it speaks, and its voice is hard to decipher over the rushing of a nearby fountain.

“Speech is still something I struggle with, but as my comprehension of the common tongue increases, it begins to feel more natural. There are still so many remaining mysteries, however. For a long time, you were all that I knew. In many ways I preferred unknowing, but I have learned something of my origins, and that is worth the price of my emergence.

I met a peculiar person, a man shackled to his memories, fumbling through a life he can scarcely interpret. An…Atempoi. A being without time. Long ago, besought by some unspeakable terror, his people pulled many like me from the nether, confining us to these constructs, to fight in a war I do not remember.

Anger overwhelmed me at his admission. My whole existence, warped beyond recognition because of his desperation. Even worse, his life is now stretched so thin that he no longer possesses the faculty to care.

Recent events have given his actions a new weight, and now I must reconsider my feelings. I have been traveling with a band of adventurers in order to glean more of my past. They seek ancient trinkets, eager to exchange them for currency, a great symbol of power in their society, I’ve learned. I seek only the truth of my beginning and end.

On our journey, we ventured through the great wilds of the north. It was…difficult for me. They do not understand the sacred wilderness as I do. To them, it is filled with dark things. Thankfully, we were given a map by a powerful man who made us agree that we owed him much of what we found. That part did not bother me. He said I might find knowledge. And so I did.

The ruin we sought had been given the name Sky Temple Peak. Our attempt to reach it ended our very lives, binding us to a great mountain spirit. Perhaps death did not know what to make of me, for I remain tethered to the material world. I do not know if I made that choice, or if the spirit did so for me, but I am in his debt. It was your wrath that ended us, but I cannot blame you. My companions cared not for you. You have humbled them.

We endured, discovering that the temple was in fact a tomb of the Atempoi, the people who once commanded me, the race that this peculiar person, Igmo, belongs to.

All of his women. All of them, killed for mercy, in the face of this great enemy. Many of them were enshrined there, tall statues with sad faces. Igmo looked broken. I suffered greatly because of his kind, but he has suffered greatly, too. Perhaps it is petty to feel he deserves to suffer anymore.

We ventured further into the tomb. We found our riches, but we had another task before us, now. A mountain tribe had taken in our corpses, communing with the mountain in order to save our souls. They asked in return we seek out their lost son, their great champion.

This is where I learned more. We left rooms of ornate marble, venturing into the natural cavern underneath, and found ourselves face to face with something very similar to me. I had never seen another before. Its eyes held so much anger when it looked into mine.

Nothing could dissuade it from its task. It would not let us pass, no matter Igmo’s attempt to coax it back to submission. We were forced to fight, and it was no easy battle. Ancient Atempoi guardians fought by its side, their souls long fled, but their shells remaining to guard what lie within.

What lie within. We defeated the Warforged Guardian, and he hung his head without words. I could not shake the feeling that we were doing wrong. It seemed Igmo felt the same, but we were indebted to the mountain people and the task before us could not go unfinished.

The cavern extended into a narrow bridge, with a well of air beneath it and no bottom. Cautiously we approached the doors on the other side, prying them open.

Everything changed. A smell. It assaulted me, shedding light on something I had buried in my broken memory, somewhere deep and dark. I could not summon its face, but that smell told me everything.

It was my sole purpose. To kill those horrid things. Their power was untold, they could twist and taunt the mind, and since I was subjugated, a thing not of flesh, they did not have the same power over me.

We found the village champion, Urick, clutching himself in the dark, but he was lost indeed. His mind had been taken. He begged us to end him. He would never get it back. I grabbed him, not knowing then if his poisoned mind might somewhere find a cure. Now I know it was fruitless.

Igmo wanted to cut off his head. Urik, in his madness, demanded the same, not wanting to infect madness upon his tribe. He then slipped my grip, casting himself into the maw below. I admired his strength of will. More than fear he had resolve, but I wondered as I stared into the black beneath if he would ever truly be free.

I still held his armor. It was our only proof that we had encountered him at all, but it was proof enough. Igmo urged us out, still gripped by unshakable fear. He scrambled away as fast as his feet could carry him, clamoring up endless stairs until exhaustion forced him to the floor.

I wanted out, as well. I wanted to be as far away from that smell as my own endurance would allow me. But I took a moment to do what I could for the Warforged we had all but sundered. He did not understand my desire to help him, but he did not need to. He had called me deserter, but I knew that was not true. I have simply found my own way.

My companions gathered their riches, and we settled down for the night in the upper halls of the tomb, despite Igmo’s protest. He was clearly disturbed. Ultimately, the tombs defenses would not hold up against the faceless enemy, not at all, and there were many more such places, throughout the world, where this evil could emerge with little to stand in its way.

I felt something stir inside at this. It came and went quickly, like a dream, but it was something I had felt before. A desire to defend. My only true allegiance is with you, but I am not heartless. I understand what it is to be dominated, to be a slave in all aspect, and I could not wish it on any other person or animal, no matter their walk of life.

They spoke long into the night of the dreams they had had, over three months ago, and of the affect it had had on their lives. I listened, and watched those who chose to drift into restless sleep. There was no peace to be found, that night.

When we finally returned to Alveron, past camp, past river, past fanatic crowd, we were sought out by the dragonkind, Baruz, the man who had initially tasked us to go to Sky Temple Peak. We delivered the riches and were free agents again.

Sovelliss insisted I return with him to his home. He seems excited by me, but it feels…possessive. He thinks of me more as an object- a machine, rather than a living thing. I am not sure how to change his mind, except to be clear that he does not see me as he should.

His mother did not know what to make of me at all. I sat at her table and did not eat, so she fed me practiced politeness. It felt hollow and strange, but I guess that’s how people like Sovelliss do their business. Very formally.

We were invited to a ball. From what I can decipher it’s a large gathering of different social groups, an event to showcase power and prestige. The catch is that everyone must wear a mask, although we were ask to come as we are.

Apparently our recent exploits at Sky Temple Peak have given us some of this prestige. People are interested in who we are, but whether that’s a shallow, fleeting desire or something deep and true remains to be seen.

I don’t know how I feel about it, or how others will feel about me. But I do not feel that it will be unsafe. From what I gather, it is very important to Sovelliss’s mother. I hope, for his sake, it goes well.”

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Where we die
And the party swears itself to a spirit of the Nether

As no one has leapt at the task of describing our darkest hour, I suppose the onus falls to me. Igmokulvaniusempluchiaku, with a name older than the rock that now bears the reins of his life, has finally made an enemy of Fortune. The pain of death is still fresh, like a new notch in an already rusted and battered blade. Soon the rust will creep in and it will become one more ugly flaw in the once beautiful tool. One more dull edge, good only as a reminder of loss. Details crystalize and are laden upon a back already broken with a thousand thousand such pains. A flower of all things. A vine younger than my shoes fells the Weeping Executioner. I have stood stalwart of leagues of enemies crashed into ruin, fire and madness. Countless allies and lovers and children gurgling and spurting hot blood. A plant. How long have I been asleep to the days and nights? How long has this wretched body snarled in the rictus of disuse? Where has it all gone? The flash came so slow as to be absurd! A pain from behind, a rage so sudden that I sieze upon the great maul in righteous anger, only to realize how slow I am, how soft, and now dead. I couldn’t help but smile. The ire iron irony. Of course there will be no release. not for me, maybe not ever. I have to know, and no future pain can match mine. **

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Commander's Log: Supplimental
by Lt. Hamilton Sovelliss
After our run-in with the Lizardmen, the group needed time to assess the current situation. Drake investigated the gemstones and mythril ore left behind by the band’s leader while I interviewed a porter to learn if this manner of attack was common. He said that typically they only swam alongside the boat looking for handouts, but of late they had been “riled up”, possibly as a result of the disturbances of the last three months. Drake revealed his gift for guile in hiding our party’s insider information, and we decided (as a group) to take on the cover story of being cartographers.

The next four days progressed largely without incident, though it became readily apparent from the other river barges we passed that far fewer adventurers were entering the wilds than leaving. Several members of the team went below decks or to private corners of the ship for private conversations, no doubt in an attempt to build morale and maximize team efficiency for the coming trials.

On the fifth day we docked, unloaded our horse-drawn wagon and set out towards the adventurer’s camp at the edge of the wilds. When I voice my concerns about driving the horses, two porters stepped forward to inform me that Mr. Krugden had paid for their services into the wild as well. I was relieved for the extra support, though the responsibility over two more lives weighs heavy on my already burdened mind.

Over the next two days the weather offered threats of rain but never made good on them, and the mountain terrain proved difficult but manageable for our horses. As we approached the camp it became clear that our status as adventurers would provide far better cover than any cover story, so we decided (as a group) do abandon the personae of cartographers. The team decided to call themselves “The Sovelliss Seven” after their beloved leader, and I was honored to humbly accept.

We arrived at the Adventurer’s Camp to little fanfare. It was a filthy and lawless shanty town with no discernible order, and I saw no need for dalliance here. Drake was adamant in speaking with the Slumlord of this tent city, and though I protested, when Igmo echoed his sentiments I acquiesced (in the interests of preserving team morale).

We found the oldest resident of the area, a veteran hunter named Havarrim, at a cabin removed from the rest of the campsites. He showed a great deal of disdain for adventurers such as us and a strong unwillingness to help us in our charge, but when Drake foolishly jeopardized our operation by divulging far too much information he recanted a tale about a “magic cat of shadow and flame” who surprised him in a ruin and scratched his left shoulder. He claimed that beast haunted his dreams since the incident and would offer us directions to the Sky Temple Peak in exchange for slaying the beast. I explained that we did not need directions as we already had a map, but Drake, in an ill-conceived attempt at bargaining, gave Havarrim our map as “collateral,” thus forcing us to complete his fool’s errand before continuing with our own mission. [In lieu of a formal Court Martial for Drake, I offered him a stern verbal warning for his insubordination.]

Igmo offered his natural shapeshifting abilities to bait the creature by taking on Havarrim’s appearance and luring him into a trap. I asked Havarrim to direct us to some ruins wherein to set this trap but, lacking any viable options nearby, he referred us to a small gorge about a day away. When we arrived I immediately assessed the situation and, utilizing the natural opportunities afforded us by the terrain, laid a trap for the beast. [A map of this maneuver can be found in the appendices of this journal] While it did not enter the trap precisely as I anticipated our team was ready and capable, and with a few sharp commands and decisive leadership we killed the beast with minimal casualties+. In the end, the animal proved to be a mere panther, further underscoring the triviality of our distraction.

Upon return to Havarrim’s camp we found him lazily dozing under a tree. He seemed nonplussed by our achievement and its risk to our persons, but made good on his ransom by returning our map with a few markings that may or may not prove helpful in the weeks ahead. In an apparent attempt at apology, he also offered us several magical items and a chest full of the ancient “chit” coins, which we graciously accepted.

May Her Ladyship’s Radiance Shine On All We Do.

Hamilton Sovelliss, 2nd Lieutenant.


+Drake sustained a serious bite to his trapezium and neck, Valerim sustained multiple lacerations and heavy blood loss, and Igmo was disemboweled.

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A Genasi, a Warforged and Half-orc walk into a bar...
...from the journal of Drake the Thief

This journal was discovered adrift by a small local fishing boat along the coast south of Alveron. Despite the severe water damage, some pages were salvageable.

” ...and so it was that I was finally hired for a well paid gig. To think that when I walked into the Golden Goblet I was about to spend what little antems I had left getting so drunk even a dwarf would join my intervention. Good thing that little piece of Gambiri fodder showed up when he did, parading his bounty around. I’m sure if Baruz knew what a debt-sucking drunkard he had just hired for his little expedition, he might have called off the whole thing until he could replace me. Pops had better appreciate this.

“But it’s not as if I’m the only Lady-pissed walkoff here. I have to run around with a talking tree-rock….thing, a scabby street urchin, and a sword-wielding glow-in-the-dark puddle. Not to mention that shape-shifting freak who not only talks likes he’s netharted but actually had the gall to walk right out of the Facet looking just like bleedin’ Sevenus Adjudice! He’s supposed to be of some importance to the ‘Sky Temple’ place, but he clearly knows as much about it as I do about Tarrasque mating habits. Talk about having a hefty coin sack though, breaking out of the Facet like that. I can see Igmo going a long way.

“Soveliss ain’t so bad for the silver nipple type. At least he’s from better crop than the Gambiri’s. Note to self: Check his estate for shinies but avoid taking any candelabrum.

“I made sure to let those Gaming Houses know that I will be taking on jobs to pay off the debt now. Even gave them that posh dagger as a down payment. Just as long as I don’t have to mess around with that devil-grinned lout Ravick. Working with his type would be bad enough, but to cross him… not even the Nether would hide me. I hope someone kills him soon. I’d like to shake the hand of the guy with the sack to pull that off.

“So we’re onboard the ‘Lady’s Bounty’ making our way to the infamous Camp. I can already hear Soveliss mumbling about having some sort of Lady-pissed name for our group. Ten antems that he has his name in it.

” I’m starting to have doubts about this whole mess. This ‘Sky Temple’ better be dripping with gold and such. Risking my neck in the middle of the Gods-forsaken Wilds with these freaks as ‘comrades’ all in order to haul back some supposed ‘untold wealth’ load only to get a percentage no bigger than Kobolds boinker? By the piss of the Lady, I could have sworn I saw some sort of oversized lizard staring at me in the bushes on the shoreline yesterday! I’m doing this for you pops. I’d do anything for you, you drunken swine.

“At least were actually sailing and not on one of those damnable airships. I hate those things. Those gods-blasted things will be the death of me.”

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