Ur-Delth

Where's Rein?

Gin’s Journal Entry, Day 32, Page 39

With six dead bodies and a handful of living fish buggers below deck, we needed to move quickly.

“You two,” I said to Rein and Tamar, “Burn the big body. We need to move fast and now.” Of all the bodies that could come back from the dead at any moment, the giant fish bugger was not the one I felt like dealing with.

Rein tried to set the slimy, wet giant fish bugger ablaze with one of her fire spells but failed. She thought for a moment, and then came up with a rather smart idea. She summoned forth the power of nature and conjured giant weeds and vines from out of the metal walls, ceiling, and staircase. The plants entangled around the body, creating a cocoon. Then she cast her fire spell again and torched the plants, which in turn, torched the body. It was one less thing we had to worry about.

“Follow me,” I said, leading the two of them to one of the hatches on the deck.

I slowly, and quietly, opened one of them and instructed Malum, who was invisible, to fly down and scout the deck below. Oddly, she saw nothing. I was concerned. Where were the other fish buggers? Were they hiding? Were they laying a trap for us? Or were they trying to escape and flee?

I instructed Tamar and Rein to go down the ladder and I followed behind. Once inside the first level of the hull, I, again, commanded Malum to fly down to the next level. It was there Malum saw three fish buggers, particularly a fat sahuagin that I had seen before. The other two fish buggers looked to be mere foot soldiers. The fat one led the other two. One of the soldiers carried an overflowing sack of what appeared to be giant embryos, not too different from frogspawns I had seen when I was young. The solider gave the sack to the fat sahuagin. The three of them spoke in their gross language. If I had to guess based on their body motions and the intensity of their voices, I would guess they were afraid. Good.

In a whisper, I instructed Tamar and Rein to go to the other side of the ship’s hull and climb down a ladder from that end. Malum was still down the lower level, watching the fish buggers. I wanted to create a distraction while Tamar and Rein climbed down and would attack them from behind. We would out flank them, slaughtering their bodies and crushing their souls.

Looking down the ladder, I cast my dark gift and created an image of my little sister, Circe in her purple and brown dress and red ribbon in her blonde hair. (She was only 11 when I remembered her like that. Had it only been a few months? It’s felt like years now. I miss her.) Following that, I had cast another spell to complement the illusion – this one would create sounds. I almost went insane when I saw the image of my sister with her voice. I hadn’t heard her voice since the massacre. What was I thinking? Why would I do this?

The illusion climbed down the ladder and the fish buggers immediately took notice. She danced, twirled, and wiggled her buttocks at the sahuagin all the while giggling and laughing in her most obnoxious way that I remembered when she was still alive. The fish buggers just stood there, shocked and confused. And then Circe blew a raspberry at them. That apparently set them off. One of the soldiers rushed to attack the image. Malum, who was still invisible and flying around somewhere down on that floor, told me that Tamar had climbed down the ladder on the other end of the hull and was sneaking up towards the sahuagins. No mention of Rein.

Then I heard the fish buggers yelling at each other. They had spotted Tamar. Malum told me that the second soldier had raced over to engage in the giant paladin. The fish bugger that went to attack Circe was shocked and sorely disappointed as its trident passed through the illusion.

I had to react quickly. I wrapped my legs around one the steps and allowed my body to fall backwards. I lay vertically, upside down, and with my head popping out to the third floor of the ship, I pulled out a scroll and read the incantations.

With the sound of a thousand thunder roars and the light of a thousand suns followed by the heat of a thousand bonfires, I had let loose a massive fire spell in the midst of the fish buggers. The ship shook and the force of magic blew off a large portion of the hull’s side, exposing it to the open, green sky. I had hoped the floor would have given way, but it didn’t. Worse yet, the flames didn’t kill the sahuagin. Pity. I had hoped for some grilled salmon.

The fish bugger that had attacked my illusion saw me and climbed up the ladder to attack. It stabbed me in the shoulder and then bit me. I needed help. Death was, once again, close.

All the while, I saw Tamar across the other side of the hull engaged with the other fish bugger. The fat sahuagin had cast some healing magic on the other fish buggers. I was in trouble.

And where was Rein? Where, indeed. She was off on the level above, socializing with prisoners while her companions struggled for their survival.

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Dichotomy of Battle

Gin’s Journal Entry, Day 32, Page 37

We live in a violent world and peace is only a dream for the weak. Everyone is born in blood and steel, and death looms over all. Only those who accept this fact live; those who do not become someone’s lunch. I grew up with this philosophy and, to this day, I have never questioned it. It is what has kept me alive. So when I find myself in a fight, I pity the fools who see me as a tasty morsel. For when the day comes, when I become someone’s meal, I will be ripping, tearing, and exploding down their gullet. I will not be a pleasant meal. Life is too important to live and let die.

But it saddens me that we live in such a reality. My great-grandmother told me the stories of Daciana and the times of peace, and I find myself fighting back tears of remorse. What have we done? What crime have we committed? Why must we teach children to kill or be killed? Why must we live in such an evil world?

Creation is a bitch.

One interesting thing I’ve discovered about fighting is how memory warps and alters reality. When you’re in the middle of fighting for your life, time seems to move slowly and yet, everything goes by so quickly. One moment you are in a fight for your life that feels like eternity, and within what feels like only seconds, it is over. It is an experience of dichotomy for every fighter. When you are a trained fighter, you perceive your own motions and contemplate the movements of your enemies. And yet, in a battle for life, you are not consciously thinking of these things. You don’t have time. To the trained, it is an instinctual reaction of thought processing itself in the deep recesses of your mind. The subconscious part of the brain controls those aspects and you act merely like a puppet, only hoping that you have been taught properly how to survive in a fight. And when all is said and done, and you stand victorious over your enemies, your recollection of the fight quickly tears apart and disappears in a cloud of misty memory. It is your unconscious thoughts that took over during the fight because your conscious mind had little time to process and record the event. And thus, you begin to create your own experiences from imagination that may not have occurred during the fight, just so you can fill in the missing holes in your memory. This is how stories of legends and myths are created. Is that a bad thing? No. It is the only thing and the single greatest force in all of Creation.

At any rate….

The ambush was set and they took the bait. The three of us hid behind an illusionary wall I had created, waiting for whom ever to come up the stairs, and come they did. Malum dispelled her invisibility and appeared at the top of the stairs to the oncoming fish buggers. Such fools. It was a like a slaughterhouse. Malum disappeared and Tamar jumped out of the illusion, roaring and swinging her great sword. Rein cast her Moonbeam spell right in the middle of the staircase, encasing the poor buggers in light and pain. I was in the back, casting my dark magic. With Tamar towering over the top of the stairs, Rein’s light of pain in the midst of the attackers, and me slinging Sentinel tentacles, we had bottlenecked the fools and they had no chance. A part of me pitied them and another part of me relished in their torment and fear.

But then their giant leader came, and it was stupid. It attempted to climb the stairs only to get itself stuck. It was too big and barely squeezed through the stairwell. Of course, the three of us took that as an opportunity. It went too fast. My memory couldn’t keep up. But I know we slaughtered the giant beast like a fish in barrel.

A couple fish buggers did have the presence of mind not to come up the stairs. They actually tried to ambush us by sneaking up on us from deck hatches and flanking us. Little did they know, Malum was watching the deck and warned me of their coming. I easily and joyfully exterminated them with my Sentinel tentacles.

But is that how this fight actually happened? Probably not. There are too many holes. It’s not a great story in this form, but I will fill in the gaps with vicious violence and glorious victory. The people of Osmarren would remember this tale for generations to come.

But the battle was not over. There was still a handful more of the fish buggers in the ship, waiting to be skinned and gutted.

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It's a Dragon! Or is it?

Gin’s Journal Entry, Day 32, Page 35

We subdued the last of the fish buggers; Tamar held him by the neck with one arm, lifting him up off the ground. The beast squirmed and she snarled. I could see the impatience in her eyes as she barely resisted snapping his neck. (Was it male? How do you tell? Their sexual organs aren’t exactly the easiest things to see, even up close.) I approached the two. Something, somewhere deep in the dark recesses of of my mind spoke: ‘Penetrate his mind. Invade his consciousness. Delve deep into his being. Rupture open his dreams, nightmares, and secrets, and shatter them to pieces. Throw them to the winds of the abyss. Obliterate his existence and relish in

“We can do this the easy way or the hard way,” I spoke telepathically to the little fish bugger. It merely squealed at me. “Very well then – the hard way.”

I grabbed hold of his head and broke through his mind. What pleasure and delight Sadly, I didn’t learn much, at least nothing worth writing down. But what I did discover was that his community wasn’t very large and that they held slaves to nurse the hatchlings. And then I felt a sharp pain stab me in the back.

Two little buggers had snuck up out of the ship and attacked me. The nerve of such insignificant insects to attack ME and

I looked down and saw part of a trident pierce through my side. It’s an odd sensation being stabbed through. The pain is intense and burning, yet at the same time, you can feel the coolness of your blood oozing out. I fell to my knees and my vision began to blur. Death was close. But you cannot die. Not yet. Not until

I heard Tamar roar and, in a single motion, she threw her grappled sahuagin over the ship. I heard him scream in terror and I felt a grin creep across my face.

As Tamar fought the other fish buggers, I knelt there, fighting to keep conscious and alive. Then die. Then DIE! THEN DIE! AND WE SHALL BE FREE!!

I am Gin Okami of the Okami Clan, Sentinel of the Umbra and last of my line. I knew I could not die, not yet. The voices. And that gods be damned ring on my finger!

“What are those voices?” I remember the ring asked.

I will not die. I will not damn the world. Not yet.

I turned my head, holding my bleeding side, and saw Tamar struggle against the two fish buggers. “If you only had fire,” the ring said.

Fire. Fire? Yes fire.

I remember looking through an old children’s book that belonged to my grandmother, Batresa. There was one particular picture that had always fascinated me. And that single image took form in my mind’s eye.

I held out my arm and spoke the words of the forgotten language of the Umbra. The magic flowed through me like sweet mother’s milk and I felt such formidable power.

It appeared far above the ship, flying in a circle. Its shiny scales glimmered in the green light of the sky. It had claws as large as spears and teeth that looked sharper than swords. Its wings were massive and flames streamed from its gaping mouth, flowing along its body. The great beast looked down upon the four of us. I pointed at it and, giving my best performance, acted frightened.

The two fish buggers turned around and looked up to see the great dragon above. They screamed and jumped up and down in terror. Their only reaction was to run away and back into the ship. Even Tamar seemed terrified and it took me a moment to calm her down and point out that the red dragon I had conjured wasn’t real.

Once we were safe, for the time being, I drank one of our healing potions and that helped to seal up my grievous wound. In time, Rein had finally arrived along with the invisible Malum.

We needed to learn more about our enemy and what we were dealing with. It would have been unwise if we had followed the two fish buggers blindly, and found ourselves in a worse situation than where we were then. I ordered Malum to follow the sahuagin and scout out what we were dealing with. I closed my eyes and transferred part of my consciousness into hers, to see through her eyes, to hear through her auricular nodes.

Malum went through the hatch where the fish buggers came through and discovered the layout of the ship, and how many more of them we were dealing with.

“Tamar. Rein. We need to get on top of the platform in front of us,” I said, still with part of my consciousness in Malum. “I see stairs and there must be stairs on that platform. I think the sahuagin are planning to ambush us; we need to ambush them first.”

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Almost All Aboard

Gin’s Journal Entry, Day 32, Page 33:

…and so Eki died; eaten by sharks. I can’t say it was a terrible lost. It’s not that I didn’t care for him but, as I mentioned in previous entries, I never trusted him. There was something about him that made me uncomfortable. Each of us has secrets we hide, but I could tell his were ones that could put the rest of us in trouble. But now that he’s gone, perhaps his secrets will be buried with him underneath the waters.

Tamar took his death a bit more personal. As I hovered in the sky, I saw her expression go from shock, to anguish, and finally to pure rage. She lifted her great sword above her head and let out a blood curdling screamed in her Orcish tongue that felt like needles being shoved into my ears. Even from my distance, I felt the power of her strength and might build up within her. There was strange magic there. In one fell swoop, she lopped off the head of the great white shark that leapt towards her. Impressive.

I do not deny that Tamar possesses immense power of sorts; but from a god? That I will always question. The gods are dead or gone, and all that is left is the encroaching Umbra. As far as I know, everyone is ignorant of the impending doom and I am the only one that holds it at bay. If the gods are still around, but silent, then I damn them for ignoring us. I do not need them.

The headless body of the great white shark attracted the rest of the smaller sharks giving me the opportunity to fly down and pick up Tamar out of the water. I flew back up and towards the barge, looking back to see if Rein was alright. I left bad for leaving her, but there was nothing for it. She had turned into a giant toad and there was no way in the nine hells for me to lift her up. I could tell she was in bad shape, surround by sharks and Sahuagins.

As we flew away, Tamar used her free arm to throw one of her javelins at a Sahuagin. The spear hit its mark and pieced through the neck of the fish bugger, killing it instantly. Again, impressive.

This left Rein with a single Sahuagin attacking her. By that point, the whole school of sharks couldn’t be bothered to fight. There was free food with the corpse of the great shark and, now, Tamar’s latest victim. And then Rein did the most peculiar thing that, even to this day, makes me question the fabric of reality and my own sanity.

She swallowed the Sahuagin! – the whole damn thing; without even having the courtesy of chewing. Gulp. Down went the Sahuagin and straight to her belly, still alive. Now what perplexes me is not the fact that she is able to shape change into various beasts and swallow whatever she damn well pleases, but what would happen when she changes back to her human form? What would happen to the body of the Shuagin? Logic would say that once she reverted back, then her stomach would burst and her body torn in-two because there’s another 200-pound body inside of her. Or does it shrink within her stomach? And if that is true, then the implications and possibilities could be very interesting.

As Tamar and I flew closer to the barge and the ship, I started to get a better look at the massive structure. The term massive seems inappropriate. I have never seen anything like it before or anything that big. Who would ever need a ship that size? And built with strange metal? There were a few stacks on the deck as well as a strange, giant glass cylinder positioned horizontally. From my guess, the cylinder may have been some sort of power source. At the front of the ship appeared to be a huge weapon of sorts that still look formidable. This ship was made for war.

On the deck of the ship were three Sahuagins waiting for me and Tamar. My survival instincts were still in play. I flew up to the deck and dropped Tamar onto one of the Sahuagins. With a war cry, she swung her sword and split the fish bugger in-two from skull to groin; fish guts everywhere. I, in turn, still flying, spun around to another Sahuagin and released the Eldritch Arms of the Umbra. Two long, slithering, scaly tendrils with gaping maws covering the skin surface, glowing and oozing fluorescent green slime, lashed out from my palms and flew toward their prey. They dug deep in the flesh of the fish bugger and I found delight in its scream of agony … The force of the tendril’s impact pushed the poor little bugger right off the deck’s railing and down the forty feet drop. I was never sure if the thing died before or after his body splattered against the sandy barge. What a delight it would have been had it stayed alive just a little bit longer, suffering in pain and slowly dying, alone and no hope of NO NO NO NO NO

Tamar tensed up her formidable orcish presence and let out a roar, causing deep fear in the last Sahuagin. The creature cowered in fear as Tamar swooped in to place the fish bugger into a choke hold.

Teamwork. Have to love it.

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Fish Food

Long into the future, in a land far, far away…

Gin, Tamar, Eki and Rein trudged through The Serpent on their way to a sand bar in the distance where a school of Sahuagin set up residence in an old stranded sailing vessel. During the journey, the group came under attack by Sahuagin guards that rose from the water and attempted to drag them from the small pinnace.

A disturbance in the water and a fin made them realize that sharks were also near to aid the devil fish. The Sahuagin were eventually able to pull Rein and Eki into the water. Rein used her druid powers to change into a giant toad and swim to aid her companions.

However, Eki immediately came under attack by several sharks and was eaten despite Tamar’s attempt to save him. Gin came to the realization that the battle was lost and used his magic to fly over the fray. He tried to reach out to pull Tamar from the water, but she refused to abandon her other allies.

And the current of The Serpent began to take hold…

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NO TRESPASSING!

Long into the future, in a land far, far away…

Gin, Tamar, Eki and Rein continued to catch their breath on the beach of Ur-Delth following a heated battle with a school of Sahuagin. Rein healed Badell and the rest of the group tended to their wounds before heading off again to find Merrill. As they approached where the hermit supposedly lived, a giant rusted metallic creature jumped from the cliff face. In a high shrill voice it screamed, “Go away! No Trespassing!” and began swinging its axe and hammer at the companions. The group was able to slowly chip away at the construct’s armor. But as the battle wore on, Gin shrouded the creature in magical darkness which gave Eki the opportunity to shut down the mechanical creature with a final fist punch.

The group then headed to the hidden entrance of Merrill’s cave. Eki went inside and found a boat floating in the cave river and Merrill riding on a mechanical walker. Frustrated with the seemingly crazy halfling, Eki turned over negotiations to Gin. They discovered that Merrill had proof of lands beyond Ur-Delth. He planned on using his pinnace to travel to these lands, but needed a binder disc in order to use an elemental to power the vessel. Unfortunately, they only known disc was held in a large ship trapped on a sand bar out in The Serpent where Sahuagin now laired. He also told them that a new Sahuagin Baron now led the school. Merrill asked the companions to help get the disc and join him on adventures to other lands.

Gin agreed to rout the Sahuagin as he promised Hannah Truebeard and also secure the binding disc. In order to traverse the swift current of The Serpent, Rein learned to drive Merrill’s walker after some trials. They then tied the pinnace to the walker. Gin, Tamar and Eki loaded into the boat and they entered The Serpent for the distant ship. As they moved away from the beach they heard Merrill shout, “Watch out for the sharks…”

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Off to Save Osmarren

Long into the future, in a land far, far away…

Gin, Tamar, Eki and Rein continued to investigate the turmoil surrounding the night’s events in the settlement of Osmarren. Gin begrudgingly accepted Eki’s denial of any involvement in Nathairue’s death before heading back to the Sea Inn with Tallalia. There, he met with Irma and convinced her to take on Tallalia as an employee. Gin hugged his travel companion goodbye as he headed out to a meeting with Hannah Truebeard.

Meanwhile, Tamar further explored Osmarren and was stopped by Pern. He confessed that he knew the crab Blarg kept as a pet was a shape shifter. He wondered why such a creature would be after Eki. Tamar bristled at the tiefling’s insinuations and offered Pern no additional information. She divulged her conversation to Rein who urged restraint in alarming the rest of the group about Pern’s suspicions.

Eki met with Dosha Marl at the Toehold to receive his fee for killing Nathairue. Marl handed over a pouch of dust and a pair of boots created by the Circle of Silence in exchange for the ears and tongue of the former priestess.

The companions reunited at the meeting with Truebeard. There, she made her case for the group to help the town rout the Sahuagin that kept raiding Osmarren. They accepted the challenge and headed out to find more information from Merrill. The heroes climbed down the cliffs to the beach below, but Gin lost his grip and fell. Although shaken and wounded, Gin walked it off.

Badell led them west on the beach until they encountered a bubbling pool. Three sahuagin warriors and their priestess emerged from the waters to battle. Gin was quickly struck down by one of the creatures, and Badell soon followed. Eki blasted the priestess into the water, giving his companions time to deal with the warriors. Rein healed Gin, who woke to see Malum scratch out the eyes of one of the sea demons. Tamar finished off the priestess with a final mighty blow.

Needing rest after the ordeal, Eki tended to Badell’s wounds and the companions found crevices in the cliff face to take a much needed rest…

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Contractual Duties

Long into the future, in a land far, far away…

Gin, Tamar, Eki and Rein found their night interrupted by Sokai, a crab Hengeyokai assassin hired to kill Eki. The crustacean tried using its poison and claws flee from the group’s wrath. Rein used her powers to summon a tangle of vines to trap Sokai. The creature was held for questioning once Gin arrived back at the Sea Inn. Sokai revealed no further information and was eventually executed.

Hannah Truebeard and the Osmarren Guards arrived to investigate the attacks. Gin convinced the guards that his companions were not involved and could even possibly help the town. Meanwhile, Eki slipped away in cat form to find his target, Nathairue. He found the priestess sleeping, but accidentally woke her. He quickly changed form and carried out his contractual duty. Unfortunately, he could not make Nathairue’s corpse look like it was pincered to death, but he burned down her tent before slipping off into hiding.

The fire woke the sleeping town for the second time that night. Gin, Tamar and Rein helped douse the fire and once again convince the guards that they were not involved. Blame for the night’s events shifted toward the Sahuagin. In fact, Hannah wanted to enlist the group’s help in eliminating the creatures that, according to Merrill, laired in a sunken ship in the The Serpent.

Concerned for her friend, Rein used her powers to find Eki in a nearby tent. Gin confronted Eki about the night’s strange events and his shrouded past. Eki defended himself by denying any and all involvement with Nathairue’s death.

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Eki Gets Crabs

Long into the future, in a land far, far away…

Gin, Tamar, Eki and Rein entered Osmarren and stopped at Pern’s Exchange where they were able to trade some of their treasures for the shells used as currency in the settlement. With additional payment, Pern told the group that the settlement had recently suffered attacks from the Sahuagin, causing business to be slow for the upcoming Blank God’s Blessing Day. The companions headed to the Sea Inn, where the wounded innkeeper was healed by Rein in exchange for free night’s lodging.

Before retiring, the heroes took a much needed bath and had their clothing laundered. Eki went back to his room to rest as the remainder of the group visited the Fin and Claw tavern. They were disappointed to find the place was deserted, but were able to secure spirits from the half-orc barkeep after tensions rose between him and Tamar.

Gin decided to explore Osmarren further as everybody else retired. Gin found several interesting stalls including a brothel, gambling den and another scummy tavern. But when he once again reached Pern’s he noticed that Blarg had his head nearly severed and the cage holding Pern’s large crab was destroyed. He quickly roused Pern who called the town guards. Fearing for his friends, Gin quickly fled back to the Sea Inn where he found Bevel lying dead.

Meanwhile, Eki woke from his deep slumber with a crab Hengeyokai attempting to poison him. Eki was able to fend off the poison and tried to attack the creature which identified itself as Sokai, an assassin hired to kill Eki for sleeping with Commander Ottara’s daughter. Tamar, Rein and Tallalia woke from the commotion and ran to aid Eki.

Tamar arrived first and burst into the room ready for action…

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To Osmarren... Finally

Long into the future, in a land far, far away…

Gin, Tamar, Eki and Rein decided their mission in the Monolith of Surrel was complete after Tamar blessed the altar and received Solemn. The sword continued to consecrate the area around it as the companions worked their way up to the exit of the Monolith. Both Malum and Rein slipped as they crossed the chains bridging a crevasse from the Monolith to the Abzaal Rock Flats. Malum slipped and fell to her death below, but Gin seemed unconcerned about the death of his familiar. Rein managed to catch herself and then spectacularly jump back onto the chain and nimbly walk across the rest of the way. Gin then spent time summoning Malum who reappeared with insectoid wings in place of her tentacles.

The heroes continued their journey through the Abzaal Rock Flats toward Osmarren with Gin and Tamar arguing along the way. As they neared Osmarren, two zombies, one a halfling and the other an ogre, shambled into their path. Tamar struck the ogre with a mighty blow, nearly destroying it with one strike and knocking it back. Eki ran up to finish the beast, but was met with a smash to the face with the zombie’s morningstar that sent him to the ground. Rein managed to save Eki from dying and the ogre was eventually killed. Meanwhile, after several attacks and Rein’s moonbeam, the halfling zombie also met its doom.

Tallalia recognized the halfling as Safeth, a member of a missing Sternco caravan that never returned from Osmarren. The creature had a strange trident sticking out of its back made from a pinkish rock and wrapped in plant matter. The group hoped for the best as they continued to Osmarren.

During the night, Master Krallak woke up Gin and urged him to go back to the Starwind Monastery. Gin promised the dead monk that he would try to find somebody in Osmarren that could fix the broken telescope at the Monastery. Satisfied, Krallak let Gin go back to sleep.

At Osmarren, several guards stood post outside the gates as another tended to a pyre of the dead. After asking the group’s purpose, the guards opened the gates to let the weary travelers enter Osmarren…

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