The Bitter Fallen

Glad No Elves on Board

I’ve looked over every sailor on board in the past day or so. It appears that no elves or even half elves are among us. That is a relief, none of them can be trusted, even the supposed cruel ones that would be called a pirate. I will be able to rest some easier knowing this, unless some are under disguise….

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Ick-Ben’s Blog on the Ship

The loss of the Shroud weighs upon my mind. I should have taken it from Her in the tunnels; but how was I supposed to anticipate that the Bear would show up – much less the Tiger! I knew I should have acted, but I was thinking of my crew and what was best for the success of our mission…now she is an enemy though I do respect her. Never again will I trust an ‘assassin’…

Though successful our mission was! We defeated the Gith and made ‘friends’ with Pelor’s people. We killed the Gith wizard and now sail wherever we choose with a cloak of secrecy upon us….assuming that it works as promised…

We still have the ‘Body’ on board, and now we sail to another unknown: Drackene the Hand…yet another wizard. But I am happy…as happy as I can be, that is.

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Ick-Ben's Plans

Aye, my mates, it has been a great victory we have won. Now we must decide what to do. The great minds of our vessel have gotten together, and though they have determined that there is much going on in the world, we have still decided to follow the Hessian’s advice and sail to the north – at least for now.

By my reckonings of the maps we have approximately 1000 miles to sail to the icy lands of the north. At an average of 3 mph (in light winds, caravel, Stormwrack pg 98), it will take us some 2 weeks to cover that distance – assuming fair winds, good waters, no enemies, good navigation, and constant sailing.

Again, by the maps, there is a huge coast to our East. It will be hard to miss should we need to find land. Ick-Ben says, “We will take to the deep waters for now. Our ‘great minds’ (meaning Asdar and Aerrant) have agreed that we must maximize our advantage of secrecy. Therefore, we will risk the open Seas and make our escape. We will test our fortunes against the Fates. I know that this is not our time to die…not yet anyway. And when that time comes, I and we will face it as servants of the Sea! And we shall take our gold with us to the bottom to rest beside our slumbering souls…”

One question DM: How far off are these Moonshae Isles? And what do we know of them?

Depending on your answer, Ick-Ben suggests that we skip the obvious port of Waterdeep; we either hit something south or sail further north. Perhaps we can find a smaller anchorage before we get to Neverwinter. If we are to try to escape detection, then we could try for the furthermost or the most hidden port possible. At any rate, this means that we are all immediately placed upon limited rations. Everyone. No exceptions. And anyone who has any problem with this, had better keep it to himself. Ick-Ben sleeps very little and is often anywhere upon the ship at any time. He has little patience for those that are not doing their jobs when they are on duty….

Ick-Ben’s plan would be that we sail north in open, deep waters for 7 days on limited rations. Then, south of Waterdeep and west of Daggerford, we find a trading route and waylay a merchant vessel. Some of us sail into Daggerford on the merchant vessel and get what supplies we need. Then they sail out and meet The Black Cloak, where we sink the merchant vessel and continue our journey to find Drackene the Hand.

Ick-Ben to the main people: “You have many good ideas. I do not understand them exactly, but I do feel a right-ness in what you say. Still, on my ship, I give the commands [we all understand that I can be demoted from Captain if the group chooses to do so – pirate democracy]. I do not think that anything you have said changes my plans (see above). So, let us choose our watches and get the winds behind us….”

Ick-Ben

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I Can Taste These New Powers

“I am on the edge of a breakthrough. Just beyond my fingers’ reach are powers that I have long lusted over. Not for long will they be beyond me. I will soon be able to touch other’s minds like never before and to connect with my allies from far away. Monsters will call me master and foe’s will fall to their face in shame before me! Watch out, all of you! I shall soon show my real self, who I’ve always been!!”

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Why did they still pay us?
On our deal with the Pelorites

We travel on the open sea, and unlike times past, when the world was seen though goggle covered eyes, now I can stare into the glistening water with no harm. And though I love all of this, a question haunts me, “Why did they still pay us?”

We brokered a deal with Pelor: The body of Aleria, daughter of Pelor and deceased occupant of our cabin wall, for 20,000 gold and help getting the Gith off our backs. Man, Aerrant struck a nice one. I can understand they had a desire to go kill Gith, so that was easy. But it turns out they didn’t even want the body, they left it with us. They didn’t kill us and surely had the chance and they paid out the gold anyway. How ridiculous?

Why, why on earth? What do they get from it? What’s the angle? Are they are really that noble? I don’t believe it, but yet the more I turn it over that seems to be all that comes to the surface. These are strange people indeed.

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The Sun Burns All Day
Vharuse

The Sun was always a curse to our people. I never knew how awful it could be. The way it comes off the water makes it all the worse. It just burns into your eyes and into your mind and never lets go, not until it goes down past the water. Ah, for the days when the sun never rose and the lightless caverns never changed. I pray that Vharunne brings eternal darkness to this land, my misery may never stop until he does.

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Aerrant Thoughts (1)
"I don't like paladins."

I don’t like paladins in general, and I like this Stephen II even less. I broker an amazing deal, and he reneges on the most crucial part. What are we going to do with these remains now?

I suppose I should be happy that I was able to get the White Sun to help us assault the Gith stronghold. We also managed to deal with the Red Wizards for a net gain. That’s always a good thing in my book, although my dealings with them before now were minimal.

The question remains of what to do about the Boy‘s offer too. Being a general in his army seems tempting on the surface, but I know there’s a catch. There always is with ones such as he. He is either deluded or dishonest about what the gods have promised him. There is no way that they would allow him to rule. I don’t know what to think about about his words concerning my father. I need more time to plot a course, and time is precious. Perhaps our trip to the north will allow me the time I need.

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Davhorn's Purpose

After a long, whole day march through an increasingly tangled and sweltering jungle, the adventurers arrive at the closely guarded underground Yuan-ti lair. Davhorn’s body is taken to Aleric, the abomination and leader of the Yuan-ti. After several hours he is reincarnated in the body of a yuan-ti pureblood. Why would someone with such a lowly upbringing and few connections be treated in such a way? That question filled his mind with wonder as Aleric questioned him. It seems he should know more. The Abomination expected he would be recognized by Davhorn, but seemed unsurprised that he was not.

The weak barbarian, in his new form, was reintroduced to Chathrin and Ich-ben, those faithful to him even in death. That evening they supped with Aleric and many of the Yuan-ti and non yuan-ti leaders of his army. Ich-ben was asked about and produced the Red Dagger. This was then given to Davhorn. As he picked up the blade and held it in his hand a torrent of memories suddenly flooded back to him. It was as if a wall had been removed in him mind and the flood it held raced into his consciousness. Seeing the change in his friend Ich-ben asked what it meant.

“Ich-ben, more has transpired in the ten years since we parted than you, or even I have realized. These events have been hidden in my own mind until just tonight, but I know them now and they are real and no trickery.” he says while giving you an earnest look.

“After being abandoned underground by your father, Hessian, I struggled. I drank heavy and fought and made a severe fool of myself. In time, out of a need for money and purpose, I reluctantly took work as a gladiator. I fought often, in the very arena you saw me just two weeks ago. I was a favorite there, a favorite of the Queen’s and much of her court. This is how I was known to her. One night I was called to council with her and given a new assignment.”

“I was to join a very secret society of warriors. These warriors, called ‘the Exilers’, included several of the dark races. They included the Drow, the Yuan-ti, the mind flayers, the Gith, some humans and several other dark and hideous races I still could not identify. We had one mission, to free a angel from his prison of stone. This angel was ”/campaign/the-bitter-fallen/wikis/kige" class=“wiki-page-link”>Kige, whom we have talked about this very night. Kige was a servant of Pelor, one of great power. Something, and I know not what, had caused animosity between them and Pelor had exiled Kige and imprisoned him. The dark powers, including the Drow Queen, had decided they could make an alliance with Kige by freeing him somehow and use his power and hate of Pelor to make themselves great"

“Of the Exilers I was one of the youngest. I was desperate to prove myself and saw in this a chance to make myself great. We fought hard and completed dangerous missions. We gathered the items of power the magicians said where needed to free Kige from his prison. I took a terrible chance, climbing a sheer 50’ cliff and retrieved a chest feather from a living Phoenix. I think my comrades choose me planning to collect the feather from my dead body. The beast ferociously attacked me immediately, but somehow I fought off the animal and sought refuge in a cave. They were all startled when I miraculously survived the event and returned with my prize.”

“Finally, the great day arrived, all the pieces where in place. A unicorn’s horn, the phoenix feather, blood of a Pegasus and many others I wasn’t a part of retrieving. The last and perhaps the most difficult was a live, unharmed nymph for the sacrifice.”

“We assembled in a dark, hot, underground cave. A great and beautiful statue of the seated angel was before us, chained to a large stone chair. We stood in anticipation and excitement for the ceremony to begin. We were freeing a monster, and he would love us for it. When he destroyed the powers of good in the world he would give our lords authority, and we, those who had fought for his return would receive great honor and power with them.”

“Powerful agents of the Archdevil Belial lead the ritual. The nymph was sacrificed, plunged through the heart with the horn of a unicorn. As her blood filled the basin before the great statue of Kige, he warmed and came to life. He stood, tearing off his bonds as we cheered with frantic excitement.”

“After Kige awoke, a lesser Angel, lesser than Kige, yet great in all our reckoning, greeted him and presented him with a relic. It was an amulet on a chain. He placed in on Kige, who appeared very pleased to see it. As he wore it, it appeared to cause him pain, but he didn’t take it off.”

“Kige gave a great speech to all those present, thanking us and sharing his vision for the future when Pelor would be destroyed and darkness would fill the land. As he welcomed us to join him everyone cheered in excitement. His charisma was amazing, though we were all devoted to the cause, he had each of us stirred and ready to die for him at that moment if necessary. He is great, and you may see that yourselves one day.”

“Then Kige asked the priests of news. He was very interested in how he was awoken. He asked questions about parts of our missions and in time the story of the Phoenix feather came out. It intrigued him and he asked who it was that took such a risk and survived it. All eyes and several fingers pointed to me as I timidly stood in the spotlight of attention. Kige beckoned me forward and thanked me personally. He declared me ‘a friend of Kige’ and touched my left shoulder, marking me with this”

As he says this Davhorn uncovers his shoulder reveling the tattoo of the angel rending Pelor’s sun in two.

“It is the Seal of Kige, it is a mark that view few mortals have, though I’ve seen it on many of the angels that follow him, including the one with the necklace I spoke of earlier.

“So, that brings us to this blade. You may wonder that after going through all of that why would we talk of killing Kige. Kige initially spoke of bringing us and our people to power, but it became clear to us in time that his intentions where different that his words. Kige hates Pelor, hates him with a burning fury that seems to shape him more than anything, as his symbol indicates. His plan is not to establish evil in the world, it is to destroy it all. When he destroys the followers of Pelor and everything good in the world that Pelor delights in, his fury still won’t be satisfied. He wants nothing less than to destroy the whole world. To wipe it clean and build it anew in his own fashion. He sees this as the ultimate insult he can deliver to Pelor, and I’ve heard him speak of myself. He will use our people until he has finished what he needs from us and then he will clear us from this world as well. That is his plan, and we cannot allow him to finish it.”

“Aleric, the Drow Queen and some of the other forces that formed ‘The Exilers’ met again to conspire against Kige and stop him from his plan of total destruction. Their goal is to assist Kige in his destruction, but stop him short before they are destroyed. After that they will fill the vacuum of power he leaves behind. Due to my unique relationship with Kige, I am a key part of that mission”

“And so is this sword. You will know it’s original owner. He and several champions attacked Maermydra some 20 years ago and he currently is trapped and being eaten alive in bubble on the public square. This was his blade, a blade blessed by Pelor himself with great power. Great power that was unwieldable by our people because it was a power of good. The queen and her magicians cursed it in every way they knew but could not turn it to evil. Finally two drops of Kige’s own blood, collected without his knowledge from a wound of battle were applied to it. Somehow the heart that holds such hate for Pelor had the power to defile it.”

Davhorn pulls out the blade, wincing a bit from the momentary pain it causes him and shows you a deep red burned line that appears to be a trickle down the blade ending in a solid red hard dot. He turns it over and shows you another on the other side.

“That is the blood of Kige. It’s the only thing keeping this blade from killing me just by holding it. It still holds it’s power though, and that power is from Pelor. The Red Knives believe that to be enough power to kill Kige if driven through his heart. I don’t know if it is or not. A part of me thinks of this as the phoenix errand, one my comrades don’t expect me to live through. But, either way, it must be done or I will not live, and neither will anything else. Of the Red Knives, I was the closest to him, and he never questioned my devotion. For some inexplicable reason, he enjoyed having me around him, perhaps as some keep animals as pets. I don’t know.”

“This was all revealed to me some time ago by the Drow queen. At the end of it I was hauled away with instructions to my captors that ‘he forget all this until the time he is needed.’ And that is the last I know of it. I woke up, drunk downtown in the place I was before ever fighting with honor before the Queen. I had no memory of this and no clue that I had ever accomplished these great things and known such power. I’m still having trouble stitching my memories back together into a seamless fabric, but I know it all is real. Tonight it all came back to me like a room in mind I had never been in that opened up into a new world.”

“This is my errand and these are my people now,” as he indicates his place with the nearby Yuan-ti and Aleric, “I understand if you two find your own way, and I am honored that you seek this druid on my behalf. Whatever you decide to do after, unless it is betrayal, you will have by support as it is needed.”

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Kige

These details came to our adventurers in bits and pieces, but here lies the full tale of the Great Kige and how he became what he now is.

Champion of Pelor

Kige was once the greatest of Solar Angels in Celestia. He was the champion of Pelor for time endless. I, and two others like me who are also in my condition, won countless wars for him. He was full of emotion and energy and was a genius in war. The greatest love he ever had was for the youngest daughter of Pelor (for he had many). Aleria was the favorite of Pelor. She loved Kige and he loved her. He wanted to be with her for ages, but Pelor always demanded wars be won, always more. Kige was even able attain the greatest jewel in all the worlds. More valuable then ten great wyrms’ treasures.

Corruption

Pelor still denied him his daughter. This made Kige’s heart grow colder through time. Perhaps the devils then got into his heart also, but his plan to gain her overgrew everything else. His plan was to darken her heart and to corrupt her and then to have her forever. He turned her toward what he had become over a very long time, and then she was murdered. The heavens wept for years, for she was the most beautiful that was ever known. Her body and soul was lost even from her father, it went to Belial.

What a crime that was. Kige, who had kept all this secret, was able to finally steal away to Hell and confront his new ally Belial (who he had worked with for some time to corrupt her). To his horror, Belial had turned Aleria to choosing him over Kige. She stood in Belial’s great throne room in the depths of Hell and chose to stay with Belial over Kige. This turned Kige into the darkest of souls and he swore then to destroy all that Pelor held true – Everything.

Exile

He was cast into Exile and turned to stone and much more. Three other angels fell with him and where corrupted themselves as a punishment. These are the Bear, who is cursed with an endless craving for rotted flesh, the Tiger, who drips acid from many parts of his body and the Shark, who is tormented with huge open wounds.

Return

After years of exile, these three with the help of a group of elite dark races, working under the name Red Knives, succeeded in freeing Kige from his stone prison. Now he is building an army to finish what his revenge on Pelor.

Many support him in this task and others support him to a point, intending to kill him before he destroys the world and ride to glory and power in his wake.

Seal

The Mark of Kige is a darkened silhouette of Pelor’s sun being torn in two by an angelic figure. Even in this hate pours forth.

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