Pa'Aerth

Putting the past behind and musing on a clear purpose and a glorious future...

Middle August, European Calendar; Khoiak Waxing, 4th month of Inundation, Stygian Civil Calendar


Nearly a fortnight has passed since I last penned words to these pages. The days are busy and attention is urgent – for the city prepares for war.

War.

Months ago, almost a year by the common calendar of this place, a mighty host assembled to make war upon the Church of the Deceiver. We fought them to their stronghold and overcame them. Our onslaught swept away the defenders of The Lie and…and now we are here. Here, by the Deceiver's treachery. I know not where…stripped of what we once were and…

…Were my heart not so filled with hatred for The Beast, I would wonder at his comedy.

Chaos is on the march. Their first stroke, as presaged by the stone tablet found in the Book of Faceless Hate, has been to take the Valencian Pass. The pass has fallen and it is expected that the Chaos Host has gathered and now moves toward Avignon.  And it is here, in this Avignon that we are positioned to defend a mewling flock of…the Deceived. 

The Scroll of Thurizdun tells the story of when Atum-Ra, the Deceiver, sought to rob Humanity of their birthright…their power to create…their power to RULE…he moved secretly to secure the favor and alliance of the other Aeons. One by one the Deceiver filled their heads with tales of woe and misery, poisoning their thoughts to the point they rejected the wishes of the Creator, Ammon-Re. Not all were initially convinced…and sought time to ponder or seek the counsel of others. This enraged Atum-Ra as he did not wish his secret to be revealed. Those that refused to embrace him he set apart through lies and falsehoods about their intentions and allegiances.

Lord Set, as Ammon-Re's appointed Protector of Humanity, was to be last on the Deceiver's contact list. Atum-Ra knew that Lord Set would not favor a plan to betray his commitment to protect his charges and wanted to ensure the support of the other Aeons against Lord Set before approaching him.

Lord Set knew of these actions because he imbued his Ka into flesh and placed it that among those loyal to Atum-Ra. Through this homunculus, he embraced the teachings of Atum-Ra and learned the ways of those that gathered around and supported the Deceiver. The homunculus was able to gain favor for its dedication to Atum-Ra and even was elevated to a trusted position among those in the court of the Deceiver's House. 

Thus Lord Set knew of the Deceiver's plans and actions long before he was approached. He knew too of those that aligned with the Deceiver, those that sought time to ponder, and those that stood firmly against him.

This knowledge allowed Lord Set to prepare for War. War against his fellow Aeons. War to the Death.

Despite the unfathomable odds and the powers of the rebellious Aeons arrayed against him, Death did not claim Lord Set. He yet lives and it was his willingness to embrace his enemy, to do that which he abhorred…that positioned him to not only avoid it, but emerge stronger and hardened for the many battles ahead.

I am reminded of this story now…because my current company…a loose gathering of the lost and the damned if ever there was one…stands at a precipice. Behind them lay the past. A past where their deeds and accomplishments rivaled the heroes of legend and their might and power made them as gods. Before them is a chasm…the dark and unknowable future. A future where what once was may never be again.

Not unlike Lord Set, the events surrounding us and the enemy arrayed against us may seem awesome and overwhelming. We must not bow to this. It is an illusion. We must make a decision and act. In so doing we can reshape the illusion…and begin the journey toward reclaiming what was already once ours.

We must prepare for what lay ahead and forge a bright path through the dark to the future we want.

This is how it WILL be. That which finds itself arrayed against us…must bow to serve or be killed. There can be no exception.


NOT ONE.

Even among our number…there are those that we must be reminded of this simple fact. They MUST embrace the idea that we are on a path to regain AND SURPASS our previous glories…and achieve our quest to see the Deceiver undone. Or…if what Kael tells us can be believed…they would need to be sacrificed to avoid their death being of benefit to those that would oppose us.

The war here in France, against the degenerate minions of Chaos is a stepping stone. A paltry thing in the scheme of events that lay ahead of us, but a step that will make clear those that have the mettle to pursue our goals and those that do not. Soon, by will of The Dark, we will separate those that will join us in our ascent from those that must be left behind.



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Vauculusa be damned...

Beginning of August, European Calendar; Khoiak Waxing, 4th month of Inundation, Stygian Civil Calendar

I find myself returning to this chronicle with many things to write… regardless of time away from the quill!

Our number were surprised in camp shortly after Inali and I relinquished our duties at watch. What I have pieced together since the encounter is that a human in Roman garb and an Orc dressed as a hunter in natural patterned armor happened upon us. It would appear that they were as surprised to find us as we were to see them appear. The human recovered more quickly and deployed a form of screening smoke to cover their escape. (This effect is not unlike the sorcery that Inali calls down for us for similar purpose). The two made haste to escape through the wood toward the direction we suspected we would find Vauculusa…and the direction of travel for a patrol of orcish beasts. (There were a few dozen of these and they were dispatched with haste. I few escaped the fury of the cohort and I suspect that these alerted the two that tracked us to our camp.)

Following the two we made our way to the waterfall I had read about in Avignon. After our troubles, I dare not lose pursuit of these two so I gambled that the waterfall would be a hidden entrance to caves or mines where we would find the cultists. I was able to swim into caverns beyond, but lost pursuit of the Roman garbed man. After arriving in the caverns recalled a minor Gift of Set and rendered myself unseen. Shortly afterward, the Orcish brute found his way through the water and into the cavern. I gave chase as he stormed deeper into the cavern. Following him, I found my way to an exit overlooking several buildings collected along the side of the river on the other side of the mountain we had entered. Thinking it best not to give chase without the others, I waited for the remainder of the band to assemble.

Together, we made our way down to the valley below and made battle with those that would stand against us. More orcish beasts were pushed against us to test our strength. They fell in swathes to the blade of Kizzar and the magicks of Inali and Lewanna. Once freed of the screening advance, it became clear that our opponent was not unstudied in the arts of war. The entire approach, where we were forced to travel, had been prepared to make all visible for bowmen and spell conjurors. Several of our number fell to arrows coated with a powerful slumber inducing formulae. Of those that pressed forward, Erik made haste to advance and was separated from our sight. We later found that he paid his life for this moment. The remainder of the cohort advanced steadily forward masked by a majickal fog of Inali's conjuring.  This was decent proof against the considerable skill of the archers that tracked us through the cleared space…as, despite the concealment, a number of arrows found their way to World Eater…each contact ringing loudly even in the din of combat.

Once we accounted for our number in the woodline, Inali set out protections against the withering fire of the archers. This proved wise as within moments were were set upon by Ogrish beings with mattocks and hammers. Several killing blows were required to fell these monsters and we were able to do so through skill and sorcery.

A lesson that was well learned is that the chaos cultists are not necessarily as eager for death as they might claim. They fight with strategy and intelligence…and sometimes brilliantly. The Roman garbed human, having escaped our earlier pursuit, returned to make battle with us…from our flank…as we were engaged with the ogres previously mentioned. The effect was devastating. He was able to move silently and quickly through our ranks…dispatching one after another of those that remained. Inali, guided, no doubt, by her new found affinity for Darkness found the bastard and bound him with sorceries that rendered him immobile. He was brought down by Connor and, as we have seen previously, his death triggered chaos magick that repelled us from his corpse.

This majick conjured spiders…spiders the size of pack dogs…and we were finally driven back. Few in number and short of battle sorcery that would see us through to the village, we collected those we could and fell back to the caverns.

Here, Lord of Dark be praised, much good came of Erik's demise…as we agreed as a group to offer the Dark the Book of Lies that was being carried among our number. This offering, on a most holy occasion, was to the liking of Lord Set and is a most auspicious beginning to the new year ahead.

Once we have recovered our wounds and are fit to advance, we shall press again to the village below. Perhaps, if we can accomplish it, we will secure a reconnoiter of the place before we venture forth. This will be something to discuss once the others have awakened and regained their wits. For now, I retire from watch to prepare for the battle we will find below.

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On the road to Vauculusa

Beginning of August, European Calendar; Khoiak Waxing, 4th month of Inundation, Stygian Civil Calendar

Strange life courses through my veins. Once again I find myself, among comrades in arms, hunting for heretics and sorcerers. In pursuing this, my new body seems to remember things that have not yet happened in this prison. This body craves knowledge…to know what I once knew…to vanquish mighty and capable foes…to wield weapons so ancient, they themselves are legend…and to be free of the Deciever's yoke of Illusion.

This night, what I believe to be the final night of Hebj Aybed, the night, in times before the Giant Kings of Old, a night in times before the stars, planets, and their moons were affixed within the firmament, a night in times when the Ancient gods were yet unborn and Humanity was yet unconceived.


This night, in translation of the overly cluttered European Calendar is accurate, shares its darkness with the birth of Lord Set. In Stygia, at least the Stygia I know, this is the last day of a week long festival – the first day of which celebrates the health of the King…the last two honor Set…and those in between celebrate the lives, deeds and fates of lesser gods within the Pantheon of Set.  The day would have been filled with sacrifices of material items such as fine jewelry, rare metals, silks, and other precious possessions. These, invariably being made by Rank members of the faith and Phyle priests as a manner of showing their dedication and devotion through tithe of worldly goods. The night would be the time of Revelation. The screams of the Shattered would fill the air…thick, guttural proclamations that mark a soul's first realization that its eyes finally see and the cold, iron weight of its shackles lay at its feet…not on its wrists. Perhaps, at one time, the utterances appeared to me as meaningless noise, but no more. Upon my own RISING, I realized that each voice was on instrument in a symphony…a masterpiece orchestrated by the Universe itself…for the edification and pleasure of those that knew how to listen.

I digress. There were also blood sacrifices. The most plentiful of these, of course, were animals. Goats, sheep, and the occasional exotic beast. Human sacrifice…these were the finale of the ceremony and carried out with ritual care…from brutal contests of arms to sensual orgies. Regardless of how the blood was delivered, those offered for the purpose were usually purchased slaves, slaves raised for the purpose. Some were volunteers from the Death Cults. Occasionally, the sacrifices were wives or captured enemies. Never, though, were the sacrifices of children or criminals. Children, of course, were too precious…we, as adults, are to protect them and raise them up to make choices of their own. Criminals, on the other hand, have made their choices…and have rendered themselves unworthy of sacrifice. The taint of their guilt makes them bitter morsels for Set.

Tonight is that night.

Instead of making an offering of a defeated enemy…which has long been my custom…I am left with presenting strong oaths about the future. I offer intentions.

A bastard son of the Deceiver claimed that my heart was consumed with darkness and that Inali and I had opened a ‘portal to a dark place' thorough or devotional prayers. Dark to it, no doubt, because it saw the possibility of being revealed as a fraud! I have no way of knowing for certain if the delusional creature did, or even could, speak truth. If what it said were true…perhaps Sutekh Djet's silence all these months will come to a close. Sure, I have had dreams and visions…but this is paltry communion for one who has been CHOSEN and RISEN. I would and will speak with Sutekh Djet once more. I will carry the flame of his rage…and together we will, Maker be damned, make way for the return of  Lord Set.

How can I be sure? Because I will it!

In so doing, I will need to press our cause with the other members of the cohort. Merisel, I figure, is on board with seeking out the knowledge that we need to free ourselves…and the actions that might be necessary to gain such knowledge. Kizzar, the Barbarian…he is not yet fully known to me. I believe, though, if he discovered the sense of calm that comes with devotions, he may join us. If he gained favor of Set, this would only lead to further benefit. Roan is too aloof to truly persuade to our cause, I suspect and Lewanna…while she has no real love for the Deceiver, I am not certain that she would take up arms against unless the imbalance created by the Maker's illusion could be made clear.

Daymin, I do not yet know enough about him or his companion to make a judgment. I shall watch them to learn more. 

Of Connor and Erik, I fear for their souls. These two claim to have been ‘called up' into the heavens by a self identified messenger of Atum-Ra. While the creature could not withstand the knowledge that I would not fall easy prey to its lies, it targeted Connor and Erik and once free from critical eyes, it tricked them into signing praises to the Maker! Erik, it seems, claimed allegiance to the Deceiver and was given a token of his oath…a testament of some sort…in the Dwarven tongue. I asked Erik to release the book to be sacrificed in the brazier during nightly devotions. He refused and even claimed to believe that the messenger creature would return to avenge such a sacrifice. Upon hearing these utterances, I believe that Erik has confused his spirit and will only bring ill upon himself. Connor does not seem bereft of his senses…but I shall remain wary enough to ensure such is the case.   

Of Inali, I can not speak highly enough. She has accepted the offer of ordination and this pleases me greatly. With her voice in devotions, we will be as Hathor Aset and Sutekh Djet…twins fathered by Set through Nephthys. Surely we will gain the attention of Lord Set and our work here can begin in earnest.

For now, our watch comes to a close and I must make final preparations for rest. Tomorrow…we seek out the cultists who have made a base of Vauculusa. If the messenger beasts speaks truth, we will find our foe here and with them an opportunity to learn more about how their sorcery opens gates to places outside of our prison.

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Vauculusa - Orcs and Ogres, Part II
Orcs, Ogres and Killers in the Night

August 1208 SA

Mori debilem calcaret, die weakling

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Vauculusa - 1st Skirmish
Vauculusa - Connor's quick notes from 1st skirmish

Journal of Connor MacLaurin

Aug 1, 1208

As we wait within the hidden campsite, we observe a short platoon.. only 2 squads of 21 Orcs and 2 Ogres (commanding?) approach our position. The hidden campsite provides us complete cover from them and so we have the luxury of preparing before the coming engagement. I cast arcane energies to provide hasted actions to my companions, Inali begins a prayer enhancing our ability, the rest prepare as is normal for them. One squad is across the road and will take longer to approach, the other squad is directly upon us and contact is imminent.

First contact occurs as an Orc crashes into our campsite. Kizzar attacks with fervor, downing the Orc before it realizes what has occurred. An enraged Erik steps from within the cover and launches fierce blows against 2 orcs on my right. Roan steps out from the cover as well and begins to inspire courage for us all with his drums. I read and unleash divine power from a scroll provided by Sachael the Angel, singeing half-dozen of the enemy. Then I take a quick swipe with my sword at one of the 2 ogres in front of me. Lewanna begins a spell of lightning blasts that tear into the Orcs repeatedly.

The hostile forces can still only see Erik and Roan so the begin to head for them. Daymien steps out beside Erik to assist. Erebus steps up beside me and attacks one ogre with vigor, carving great wounds into its armoured hide. I unleash an arcane ball of fire into the midst of the Ogres and Orcs remaining in front of me. Then, I follow up with hard slash of my sword against the other Ogre. As the Orcs and Ogres on my side wither to our fierce attack, Erik and Daymien finish those that they’ve engaged.

The secondary forces are making their way towards us and I loose another ball of fire into their midst, thinning their ranks considerably. As that concussion goes off, I hear Erik grunt and fall to the ground. About the same time, Roan also seems to take a black arrow to the back and falls to the ground. Kizzar wades in and dispatches several more Orcs, the lightning blasts persist, and then suddenly the last 4 Orcs are running for their lives.

Kizzar gives chase, dispatching one. Daymen roars and runs wildly toward the other fleeing Orcs, but slips as he jumps over the trapfall. Lewanna steps from the protection of the campsite and unleashes final blasts of lightning at the cowardly Orcs, dropping 2 more. But, as she completes her action, she is struck with a black arrow, groans and topples.

I quickly step out and drag Erik back within the campsite’s safety. Erebus steps out and brings Lewanna within, and then Roan. Kizzar, returning from his chase, stealthily reaches the trapfall and assists Daymien, they both then return to the campsite as well. As we examine our unconscious companions, Inali indicates that they’ve been poisoned, and Kizzar affirms that it is Blue Whinnis. We have no remedy to their poison, so the group decides that we must fallback to a position further from Vauculusa.

We journey back 2 hours on the road, then move off the road to begin clearing a campsite. As we complete the clearing, our 3 companions awaken. They are sore and weak, and will need to rest. Lewanna casts for another hidden campsite and we settle down to let them mend. We rest for 12 hours, then decide that it would be prudent to move forward with our reconnaissance the next day rather than forging ahead in the darkness.

As we settle down again to wait for morning, we are startled as a camouflaged Orc tracker and its human companion in black garb step into our camp…

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Vauculusa - Orcs and Ogres
Late Night Battle vs Orcs and Ogres

Monday, August 1, 1208 SA

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Vauculusa
Traps, Orcs and Ogres

Saturday, July 27, 1208 SA

Travel is difficult and slow through the underbrush between the trees. Kizzar keeps the group on their path eastward and just before night fall the group comes upon the road. The road is unkept and overgrown in many places.

The Gray Hand retreats from the road to make camp. After the group makes a clearing, Lewana creates a Grove of Respite.

Sunday, July 28, 1208 SA

After several hours on the twisting road, the groupd discovered a massive tree that has fallen across the road. As they approach Kizzar notices that the tree is covered in Poison Oak but knows that Poison Oak shouldn’t be growing in this type of forrest. After some investigation of the tree the group moves around and continues up the road.

A spiked pit trap opens beneath the lead members of the group, Inali and Erebus are unable to spring away and fall 50 feet to the bottom of the pit. As the group scrambles from the pit a huge tree swings and hits Erik.

Weapons are drawn and the group scans the surrounding woods for a possible attacker. Roan checks on Inali and Erebus and sees that Erebus is floating slowly up as Inali concentrates on his ascent.

Daymen spots a camouflaged stand within one of the trees and Kizzar rushes through the underbrush to investigate. After a brief search, Kizzar returns to explain that the hunting stand seemed to have had much use and some of it recent. It was filled with spoiled remains of food and bodily waste.

Inali heals herself and Erebus of the damage sustained by their fall.

They Gray Hand decides to make camp a few dozen feet away from the camouflaged stand. Lewanna prays to the goddess of the moon for a few minutes and hides the campsite. The size of the hidden campsite forces close quarters as the group squeezes together.

Erebus and Inali perform their devotions to Set. The Gray Hand performs their typical watch routine.

As Daymian and Lewanna take watch they hear noises in the underbrush and see a large number of creatures moving in the darkness. Daymian awakens everyone and they discover almost two dozen orcs and a pair of orges searching around near their campsite.

Some of the orcs make their way to the road and say in their brutish language “The tracks lead that way” and point toward the Gray Hands hidden camp site. As the orcs and orges make their way toward the camp the Gray Hand prepares for battle!

Ogre small

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In the Thick of Things
Erik's Thoughts

“An Angel of the Maker, of all the things the gods of old could throw at us, they threw an Angel of the Maker. " Erik thinks as he stands before the glowing winged figure. The angel booms out with a voice like the ringing of bells to demand to know who defiles a sacred place of the Maker? Erebus steps forward and announces that he was preforming a sacred ritual and meant no disrespect.

The Angel claims to see the Darkness in Erebus’s heart and demands he leave, though Erebus tries to find ground with the Angel by announcing a common enemy between us, The Chaos Cultist. The angel would hear none of Erebus’s words but allowed Connor and I to converse with him upon Erebus’s removal from the Church. The Angel revealed his name as Sachael, Angel of the Maker, he asked me if I would confess my “sins”, denounce Aegir and accept the maker as my God. I humble the angel with what he wants to hear as not to start a quarrel, we need what information he has. I began to tell Sachael the story of my awakening with the Roman 88 and the deeds that took place among us, to the meet up with the companions I am currently with. Sachael asks for information as to why we believe the Chaos Cults are in the area, to which Connor and I reply with knowledge of their previous encounters. Sachael places his hand on my shoulder and extends his hand to Connor and offers to take us to where we will find answers about the cultist.

We are teleported to an armory of great wonder, weapons and armor made from materials unknown cover the walls. We are led into a large sitting room as Sachael informs us that this is his home and that we must wait while he goes for answers. An hour passes before the Angel returns to inform us that the Chaos Cult has taken Vaculusa as there current base.Sachael offers to teleport our group near to Vaculusa upon return to the church. Upon request of tools to aid our mission Sachael give Connor 4 scrolls, two of the healing,one of dispellment,and of holy smite. I am given an dwarven written copy of the Maker’s holy text.

We are teleported back to the church where we gather everyone together to move on to Vaculusa. we are instantly teleported to a dense forest of shrubs and shadows. Sachael directs us 15 miles to the road and a days journey up the road till we make it to Vaculusa. After some time cutting our way through the wooded areas, we make camp in an area of clear ground. the second day passes like the first with help from Kizzar’s excellent tracking skills and Lewana’s magical grove. On the third day we reached the road which looks as if time had taken its toll of the environment.

Late in the day we are surprised when the earth opens up and drops Erebus and Inali in a spiked pitfall but with fast actions from Inali none were harmed, with the exception to the dead drop tree trunk to the head of the dwarf.

We set up camp off the road to ambush whoever set these traps with Lewana concealment spell. As the day goes by and the night goes on, I am awoken to Damian’s announcement of something in the woods.

As I look out from our hinding space to see two Ogres and a BATTALION of ORCS! Mighty Aegir, Give me strength to defeat these filthy creature in the honor of my kin!

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Exploring Alès - Meeting an Angel

Friday, July 26, 1208 SA

Talk with the Angel..

Monavic deva

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Exploring Alès
Pond Drinkers and Angels

Thursday, July 25, 1208 SA

The Gray Hand continues to travel through the forrested hills and nears the abandoned mine outside of Alès. The road forks to a small town in a valley below and beyond a broad lake.

Daymian serves as a scout to explore the town down in the valley. He discovers that all of the buildings are boarded shut and the town seems to have been long abandoned. Using a crow bar, Daymian makes his way into three buildings (warehouse, home and another warehouse). Erik returns to the group.

They Gray Hand spends the night in one of the warehouses.

Friday, July 26, 1208 SA
After breaking their fast, the Gray Hand heads off to find the mine. The road leads past the broad lake. As the near the lake Kizzar notices that something isn’t right about the water in the lake.
Skimming along on six legs, over a dozen tiny carapaced vermin suddenly lift from the surface of the water and darts toward the group.

Lewanna shouts to the group “These are pond drinkers, they were created to hunt the Fey and spells will be difficult to cast while they are near.”

A brief battle develops, Connor is attacked by several of the creatures and as the drain his blood he finds himself weakened. Inali’s Air Barrier gives the Gray Hand a means to safely disengange and depart from the Pond Drinkers.

The road leads to a box canyon and the entrance to the mine. Much like the town, the mine entrance is boarded shut and shows no signs of recent use. Erik tells the group that there may be other entrances where air shafts have been carved. Kizzar climbs up the face of the box canyon and searches for another entrance. Kizzar returns to let the group know that he found one.

Lewanna shifts shape into a bat and goes to explore the mine. Some time later, she returns to say that the mine seems abandoned.

The group decides to return to the town to camp for the night and then determine next steps.

They decided to search through the abandoned temple of The Maker. They search the temple and discover no trace of the Crimson Coil or the Death Mantle. The group decides to make camp within the temple.

Erebus and Inali begin their nightly worship of Set. The ceremony is cut short as a bright light flashes and a crystal clear voice booms and says…

“Who dares to violate the sanctity of this place!”

As the group looks toward the source of the light they see a creature that is all sharp lines and angles, muscular but lean, with large wings and a mighty flaming greatsword.

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