Shadows in the Abyss

Dagon Wakes
It's about to kick off
The Veins of Atmar
Long goodbyes, descent into the Undersea, a lot of rum and coke
The King of Pirates
And it is, it is a glorious thing to be a Pirate King
Vision of a New World
Tyrnn travels the branches of Oldrim to visit the New World

A day of wonders, both great and small, and choices made. This journal entry may be longer than usual for I wish for some record of all I saw today to remain, even when I have gone from this world.

We set out for the temple, unsure what to expect but prepared for battle, only to find it deserted and decaying. Yet even in it’s dilapidated state I could see the glory that still shone through. This great monument had withstood so much and for so long that it could only be an inspiration for all of us to follow, and yet only a little remained of the god it represented.

Within the vaulted halls and the seawater channels, in the centre of a beautiful wildflower garden there stood a single tree, twisted and gnarled with age yet still bearing fruit. A black fig, much like the peach served in Lanzhou, hung heavy from the branches that seemed to reach towards me and bow in the wind. It was a sign, and time for me to meet my god.

Eating the fig I could feel myself changing. My feet rooted in the ground and my skin became as bark, my breath stopped and I crumbled away into nothingness. I came to in a place I had visited once before, the plane all souls come to after their death, and yet I still kept my body. Going in any direct was a futile effort, with no idea of my location or destination there was no reason anymore. So I accepted my fate. I laid down, I waited, and I died.

As my soul rose out of the body I used to inhabit, a strange figure rose too, but this one from my sword, Tranquility. He claimed to be an ancient follower of Gozreh, one Ondir and was to be my guide to them. And so we left this plane in a new direction, one I had not been able to perceive while still trapped in my flesh and that is still hard to explain now that I have returned to its confines. We climbed higher above the plane, above many planes, all laid out along branches as if part of a great tree, and set off.

As we travelled, heading along the convergence of the branches, I got a chance to see into some planes we passed and the strange ways of life those within had. I’m only left with an impression of the things I’ve seen, some mortal attempt to perceive something outside of our understanding, but what I saw was both magnificent and terrifying. Strange creatures swirled at the edges of some planes and slowly sapped away the life contained within, draining them and leaving husks in their wake. Dotted among the still living globes were those left behind, full of darkness and radiating pain.

Eventually we shifted back towards a specific globe, smaller than many others but somehow brighter; fresher and newer. The surroundings shifted into focus at the bottom of a vast cliff, a climb greater than any I have ever seen before, and my guide started to climb. The way was tough, a long climb that seemed to drain in a way that was unrelated to muscles or breath. As we reached the final push of our climb, Ondir’s gradual shrinking of stature became obvious and I was forced to carry him through the final push to a meeting I have so long awaited.

For at the top of the cliff was my God. Gozreh, whom had received so many of my prayers and curses, sat in meditation upon the plateau and overlooked the creation of this world. As sat beside her, and settled into my own meditative state, I could feel the work taking place around us. Mountains rose up and spat fire, flowing rivers carved out valleys and forests ages and spread. And then… a pause. My god turned to me and offered me the welcome I hadn’t known I’d missed for since I first left my childhood home.

She offered me a choice. To stay and help her create this new world. Or return to the world of my birth, the world she has now all but left, and fight back the darkness rising there. While I longed to stay there, in the warm embrace of my god, I knew I could not abandon those I had left behind. So I return to pen this entry and begin our journey, which will finally put us against Dagon, the one who would devour this world.

-Tyrnn Holyhand
Acolyte of Gozreh

The Giant King Falls
Battle in the flooded ruins of Gozreh's temple.

As the ship approached the giant camp we immediately became aware that something was off. The town was too silent, there was no movement. I ordered Tyrnn to land the ship, and smoothly. He’s been too incompetent of late, I didn’t spend all of that time tutoring him in proper shipcraft for him to go and break the ship. Thankfully we descended from the skies and landed without too much incident. I grabbed Treacle off her perch – I felt would need her insight – and rounded up the crew. I made it clear that we were in potentially hostile territory and we had to keep our wits about us. Tyrnn, Olo, and I descended from the ship and unfurled the magic carpet. We climbed aboard and made our way to the town. It was deserted, desolate. The temple looming above it cast a sinister shadow over the surroundings. All of the residents had presumably fled… but why? Had they heard of my coming? This wouldn’t be the first time that people have run in fear from the name Aramis Barbcock. The very sound gives even me chills. While Tyrnn and Olo clowned about I remained alert scanning the surroundings for danger. Ever since Jerome… No, I must focus.
We rode around the town to check for signs of activity before making our way to the temple. The courtyard was untended and unkempt. I had to resist the urge to build an effigy of myself there as tribute to our passing, it wasn’t the time. Perhaps later though… The temple was doorless and inside was dark and gloomy. I gave us some rudimentary light while Tyrnn brought out his torch, before continuing on our way. Very soon the corridor opened up into a chamber with a throne standing in the middle of the room. As we came closer we realised that it wasn’t empty. A massive figure was sitting on the throne. He was clothed in once fine rags and had bands of faded gold about his arms and neck. This could only be Altan.
I walked up to him, “I see you still had the courage to remain and face me! Commendable seeing as all of your lackeys have run off and left you.” Altan shivered and cowered in fear before me gibbering to himself like a maniac. Truly, word of my deeds had spread. I began to taunt him, goading him to face me in one-on-one open combat. No one had dared since Chadwick Blaze, and we all know how that turned out. With him broken and penniless, devoid of Elizabeth, and getting his breeches handed to him by yours truly. Altan simply kept cowering in the depths of his throne looking anywhere but directly at me. When Altan wouldn’t rise to the bait we decided to provoke him physically. However, as soon as we touched him he began spewing out a foul goop. Not knowing the nature of this substance we quickly jumped onto the carpet. Running through possible scenarios I reasoned that it probably would not be safe to physically touch this liquid making close combat out of the question. Olo and I fired a few shots at him before trying our luck with some dust of dryness that we had stashed away for a rainy day. This worked for a while until surprisingly; the dust began to get saturated. The liquid burst forth and eventually it began to fill the room, the corridor, and the land beyond. We decided to retreat to the ship and decide our next course of action. Upon getting to the door of the temple, however, we saw that the horizon and the surrounding area had now become partially submerged in water. We urged the carpet on over the deepening pools of water when, from below, the attack came. We were scattered, the most agile of us already back on his feet, goldsheen rapier in hand, scanning the water for danger. I began to feel a creeping sensation up the back of my breeches… it couldn’t be…ABOLETHS. I thought I had taught them to fear me all those years ago when we first did the dance of blades. I could beat this Aboleth single headedly, but first… I needed to look for my crew. We are strongest with my oversight. Olo was still on his backside, Tyrnn blindly searching for something in the water. “TO MEEEE,” I cried, trying to rally my crew. Then the tentacles came. Olo didn’t stand a chance. They began to wrap themselves around him, probing him in the most intimate places. Appalled, I surged forward. “BACK, YOU!” I screamed hacking away at them with my rapier. A few tried to sneak up behind me, so I released a cacophony of sound at them forcing them back. I used a burst of strength to free Olo from the remaining tentacles before dragging him towards Tyrnn. At this point it was difficult to tell where the man stopped and the tentacles began. I could only see his eyes, pleading with me to end his suffering, his sexual torment. “Not this day, Tyrnn!” I rushed forward frantically beating at the tentacles to release him. My fists had little effect, and I stumbled forward tripping over something in the water. I glanced down… Tranquillity! I submerged myself grabbing the sword before releasing a barrage of attacks onto my beleaguered crewmate. Finally, he managed to free himself, and handing him Olo we managed to retreat to the relative safety of the ship. I ordered Andrew to give us some height so that we may better understand the situation that we were under. A murky shape weaved its way through the buildings below in water that bizarrely was now above human height. I was about to order a blast of cannon fire to finish the fell creature off when the ship began to descend. The angle was too sharp though, and the decent to rapid. Tyrnn. Again. I looked over to the ship’s wheel only to find Andrew there grinning at me fanatically.
“What’s wrong with you, man?” I cried, fighting to make my way to him. He only rolled his eyes into his head and waggled his tongue at me. All around me crew members were rushing to right the ship, trying to wrestle control of the wheel away from Andrew. They finally managed it, only to have Andrew start attacking them indiscriminately. This unnatural behaviour, so out of character for Andrew had to be the work of the Aboleth. Some sort of mind control, I suspected.
Then all hell broke loose. Tyrnn began attacking Andrew, Olo began attacking Tyrnn, all the while the ship was still descending. Was I the only sane one?!
We reached a level where the the Aboleth was able to attack the ship directly, rending it with its tentacles. The battle between the crew however had moved below the deck. I rushed down the depths of the ship to find them in a standoff in the engine room. That jumped up jellyfish, He-who-Stickers doing absolutely nothing to defuse the situation [WELL ACTUALLY ARAMIS, OLO AND I WERE TAL-] Shut up. And stay out of my head. I began to try to talk Tyrnn down and stop Olo from peppering the inside of the ship with bullets. Then Tyrnn moved. Andrew exploded next to me, and Olo started shooting. I fell to my knees trying to gather up Andrew’s remains. Olo used his ring of invisibility to disappear and leave the engine room with Tyrnn hot on his heels. I could hear the cannons firing away at the Aboleth outside, but did it really matter anymore? Andrew was dead. [BUT I AM ALIVE!] YOU FOOL!
I gathered up the remains and stored them somewhere safe. Andrew would rise again. I guarantee it. Back on the upper deck, Tyrnn seemed to have regained his senses. About damn time. Did he even care that he just obliterated Andrew?!
We were outgunned. We needed help. We needed Mara. The reason I let her leave the crew was for moments like this. Moments where we would need her healing abilities, only grown stronger and more potent over time. Finding an opportune moment I conjured a permanent image of Tyrnn allowing him to use the portal in the oven to go to Mystcroft and commandeer her.

Space Dragons, Cosmic Giants and Valley Druids
Altan turns up the heat, Andrew becomes a man, Olo almost dies
Flaming Hair, A Murder of Crows and an Ancient Plague
The story goes back to its trippy roots...
Time Travel, Megafauna and Very Bad News
Altan plays his first card, Wei Wei begins his cosmic quest...

- City of Stillscour
- Surrounded by a dome created be reinforcing the bones of a gigantic skeleton
- Mayor of Stillscour was a jerk(?) bugman who charged us a docking fee
- Shopping trip, trainee monks seek guidance and meeting Weiwei, the timetravelling inventor
- He tells us he has to give us a weapon for our ship, The Very Bad News
- As we get ready to leave the city is attacked
- Fire giants through the entrances, blue dragons from above and a storm giant casting magic from afar
- Beat down a fire giant causing them to get really excited, rode the fuck out of a dragon and crashed it into the dome, escaped from the city after a warning from Weiwei before it detonated
- Farewell to Weiwei

Originally we stopped in the city of Stillscour simply to restock and prepare for the harsh journey across the desert. Right on the edge of the territory Altan attempts to lay claim to, this fortified city had grown in prominence through its reinforced walls, supported by the hulking skeletal remains of some gargantuan beast.

Ronins, Shamisens and Empty Promises
The Second Betrayal...

Leaving the destruction in Lanzhou in our wake we set sail once more, this time for Windsong Monastery, my old home. A bittersweet feeling. In some ways I dreaded the return and the disappointment my Master would feel when I could not stay to take his place; but to return to the place of my childhood, and the simple and peaceful pleasures to be found in monastery life, would be a balm from the betrayal and intrigue that had taken place since our last visit. This was not to be the case however.

Jacob, my counterpart from Catalan’s airship, had returned to the monastery. Master Hatori had secluded himself and seemed worn, tired and stretched too thin. Mei was distracted, her focus elsewhere and her infrequent returns to the temple should have warned of what was to come if I had not been too blinded by the chance to rest to heed the warning of the Guardian of Windsong.

A trip out to the nearby town seemed positive at first, we heard that the followers of Zon Kuthon had been less active in the area lately, and the chance to let loose was only enhanced by a dance and moonlight walk with Mei. Unfortunately this was cut short by the discovery of multiple bodies. The reason for the cults inactivity became clear when we came across bodies in the road, leading to the vast slaughter that had taken place in their grounds. None were spared. Monks, priests, civilians and even the children laid out to rot, only the coolness of the night helped to keep the stench of decay at bay.

Upon returning to Windsong, it soon became clear who had done this. Mei. I thought she could change when I spared her life previously; but the years spent fighting off enemy forces, only to have them return later, had worn down her commitment to defend. It would have been hard for me to cast judgement for while I have tried to avoid the death of innocents in our journey, I have some blood on my hands will not wash off. Master Hatori however, judged this a grievous breech of the principles he taught and he cast Mei out of the monastery, never to return.

This proved to be a short lived exile as she returned that night in an attempt to steal the relic of the Monastery, the Orb of Storms. I feared a battle to the death as I confronted her, demanding that she return the orb and repent for her actions against the followers of Zon Kuthon. It was not my place to repeal Hatori’s decision, but I vainly hoped genuine repentance might be enough to allow her to stay.

Mei could not do it though. She returned the orb and left peacefully, to wander where the winds would take her but without a place to call home. Life without a home is hard. Life without a family or purpose is empty. It is the people in our lives that drive us onward in our journeys and allow us to become more than we were yesterday.

Hatori took this hard. One student a betrayer, one a gun-wielding mercenary, and myself. He said his goodbyes and walked into the embrace of the ocean, leaving myself or Jacob to take up the mantle of master. Most of the students have come with us on “Betwixt Two Planes”, to continue learning the path from their inadequate new teacher. Some travel with Jacob, to destinations unknown.

I’ve tried to follow the teachings of our order, to bring balance to the world and better the lives of those I could reach. But what had our recent adventures wrought? Deaths by the hundred in the Imperative. Chaos from the unravelling of the Arcanum. Murder of the Empress and her consorts. I don’t see the alternative which could have avoided war with Tirrimere and our heads on spikes, but maybe that is a failing on my part. The uncertainty claws at me even as the responsibility for these young lives adds a new burden to my life. But I must go on, I must do better and try to show these younglings my way. For it is the only way I know.

-Tyrnn Holyhand
Teacher of the Way
Acolyte of Gozreh
Master of Windsong Monastery

Peaches, Kidnappings and Cannonfire
The First Betrayal...
  • The party is waylaid by a kraken on their journey to Lanzhou, which causes major damage to the ship. The crew beat it back into the ocean, where it drifts away and flees.
  • Arrival in Lanzhou is heralded by a very drunk Catalan meeting Aramis and explaining how upset she is at him while simultaneously buying him drinks. Aramis gets bored and wanders off.

Morale in the party is very low. Aramis’ mood is easy to read. He is irritable, grumbling at everything from the unsatisfactory pH levels of the salt water in this part of the ocean, to the quality of Andrew’s drink mixing capabilities. He is already talking about our need to bring aboard a sassy new bartender. It is harder with Tyrrn. He often seems vacant, lost in his self-medication of meditation, but at times he is strained and mournful. His good humour has waned, and he appears more serious than before.

Perhaps Tyrnn and Aramis should have taken the pragmatic approach to grief of yours truly, Count Olo Loamsdowne-Burrows, who has dealt admirably with Mara’s departure from the ship by investing in the purchase of the most beautiful pet cat in all of Atmar. See how the sun sparkles in her golden fur, and briny drops of the surf glitter delicately in her long whiskers. She darts nimbly between the legs of the crew, she steals treats from the pantry with a cunning befitting her master, and her round stomach carries an authority and dignity not known since the days of Annabelle d’Alum. Yes, the seas of the shattered continent have never known a cat more clever or magical than sweet Penelope!

Our long journey to Lanzhou was largely uneventful save for one major encounter. A cry from the crow’s nest alerted the crew below to unusual shiftings in the water not far from the ship. Aramis, who is well-versed in the taxonomy of the ocean knew immediately what we were about to encounter, and sprung into action, calling for the cannons to be manned. I had hardly clicked the spinning chambers of my blessed revolvers into place when the Kraken was upon us. The I Know What You Did Last Friday and The Small House On The Prairie were about to have their first taste of eradicating evil from our fair waters. A pity – I had been saving one a-piece for Silverfin and Chadwick at the Lanzhou bank.

The mammoth beak and tentacles of the kraken did considerable damage to the ship, and we lost a couple of able crew members. Eventually, and inevitably, we dealt enough wounds to the beast to send it fleeing. An epic encounter, but nobody’s heart seemed to be really in it, given the emotional climate. More concerning is the very appearance of a kraken. It seems as if Dagon’s power really is strengthening, and strengthening fast.

The city of Lanzhou was dense and hot. After successfully bartering for a very reasonable docking fee, Tyrrn and I set off in search of Pia Loosa’s tip off about a very particular noodle stand in the depths of the metropolis. Aramis figured he would rather go out and get himself drunk than aid us, and would regail us later about his meeting with a washed up old captain he had met in a bar, who had claimed intimate knowledge of him, argued loudly with him for a considerable period of time, and bought him numerous drinks, before he had got bored and wandered off. After considerable prompting, we were eventually able to deduce that he was talking about Catalan.

It was a long time before Tyrrn and I found the noodle stand we were looking for. Peculiarly, it was at the very moment that we had stopped searching for it, and had got distracted exploring and talking about other matters, that we stumbled upon it quite by accident. Truly, it would not be the only accident during our brief stay in Lanzhou, but certainly the most fortunate. The noodle stand stood alone in the middle of a small plaza surrounded on all sides by tall buildings crammed with living apartments. Despite the crowded nature of its surroundings, the atomsphere around the stand was tranquil and seemed to speak of a much more ancient time.

We were served with little fanfair. The peach broth had a flavour to make a hafling weep. Between sniffs, Tyrrn explained that the tears pouring down his face were actually beads of sweat from the midday heat. At the bottom of our bowls we found a stone of a peach, as black as the lightless abyss. Upon Tyrrn’s touch, an invisible seam in the stone split it in two. A fragment a parchment inside read, ominously, “You shall be betrayed three times”, before crumbling to dust.

We spent the next morning scouting out the Lanzhou bank. It is a truly magnificent building. It is colossal, the architecture a wondrous blend of intricate, ancient statues and carvings, and the glossy veneer of the modern corporate-chic aesthetic that is currently in vogue. Surely it will stand for many centuries to come, a shining example of the architecture of its day. We watched the comings and goings of the bank personel, but there was no sign of either Chadwick or Silverfin. The bank is heavily guarded, and we would need a devious plan to get to our destination on the top floor.

Our reconnaissance mission led us discovering the living residence of a notable clerk who had clearance to access many locked off areas of the building. We designed a plan to stealth onto his property in the dead of night, and isolate him, interrogate him, blackmail him, and strike fear into his heart, so as to acquire his cooperation into securing the passage we required throughout the bank. It should be made clear of course, that he would be in no real danger. It is the unfortunate burden of the crew of the Brandon’s Revenge, that sometimes the lesser of two evils must be chosen, and in this case there can be no greater evil than the rise of the dark lord Dagon.

The residence of the esteemed clerk was much more heavily guarded than anticipated. Unfortunately, we quite rapidly triggered the alarm system, almost as if they were expecting us to attack. Tyrrn, who for reasons known only to himself, had accidentally ended up in the sleeping chambers of the young daughter of the clerk. As the alarm sounded, and our cover blown, he seized the unfortunate girl, and fled the premises, with the clever idea of using her kidnap as a ransom to gain us access to the bank.

The next morning, a deal was struck. The young girl would be freed from the hotel room she was locked in and returned to her family after the clerk had guided us into the high-security areas of the Lanzhou bank. The poor man was extremely anxious upon meeting us in person, and nearly blew our cover. By the time we reached the second floor it didn’t really matter anyway, as we were forced to fight our way through various hired magical and martial mercenaries that alerted the whole premises to our whereabouts.

We despatched them without too much difficulty, and made our way to the top floor. And there he sat, in the middle of a pillared room, with a flowery table and tea set, ready for us to arrive, as if welcoming us to his penthouse suite. Silverfin smiled broadly as he offered us tea, the promises of all previous misunderstandings forgotten. And then, as our defences began to drop slightly, the scene changed. Silverfin was, of course, nothing but an illusion. Instead we were set upon by two huge menancing demons who were horribly familiar. It had been a trap all along.

As we sprang into action, Aramis and I were caught in a mass of black tentacles, conjured out of thin air. Tyrrn managed to evade them, and was forced to take on the demons single handedly. Around the outskirts of the room there prowled a huge white wolf with seven tails, waiting for us to be weakened. As Aramis and I struggled in our bindings, Tyrrn fought ferociously with the demons, but yet more were appearing. One had the torso of a woman, but from the hips down the body a serpent. An ugly demon weilding razor-sharp blades, she was accompanied by a horde of smaller evil companions.

Aramis transformed himself into a floating gas and was able to ascend above the reach of the tentacles before transforming back to his usual form to try and aid my escape. In the meantime, Tyrrn has beaten down a good number of the demons single-handedly. As I began to succumb to the tentacles, a flurry of crossbow bolts narrowly missed me. I quickly triangulated the exact spot from where the bolt had come from – an area of the room where no visible creature stood. I called out to direct Tyrrn to the location, and one swift, accurate punch later, Tennyson appeared before us.

Tyrrn and Tennyson exchanged blows, as Aramis held off the wolf that was trying to protect its master. There could only be one winner, and soon Tennyson lay dead upon the floor, His wolf would not outlive him for long. I freed myself from the tentacles from which I had been comfortably watching the battle and congratulated the others on proving their worth in combat without the direct involvement of their bullet-laden acolyte. Quite why Tennyson has it in for us remains mysterious.

It was clear of course that Karahil had betrayed us, as we had all expected from the very beginning. The only question that remained was how to escape the bank now that all the Lanzhou authorities would be on our case. We alerted Andrew, left behind (sulking, of course) on the Brandon’s Revenge, to steer the ship close to the bank so we could evacuate the premises. The idiot came in all cannons blazing, destroying countless years worth of achitectural masterpiece. As we sailed off through the skies, blasting the bank to smithereens behind us, our hearts went out to that poor bank clerk who had helped us with such kindness and understanding in our quest. We sincerely hope that he was able to escape the bombardment and reunite with his young daughter.



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