The City of Lives

Aquinus's First Journal thing
the journal thing…

“…I saved a baby today… it was totally unplanned and just happen. it started when we were about to go into a room full of cultist(for some reason we had to figure out if they were evil cultist, as if there are any). after coming up with a few ideas, the high class realm shifter, thought of teleporting in, and before i know it, I’m teleporting in with a giant bomb… right on top of a fountain of blood, with the fuckers of light(who managed to be unglyer than normal) about to sacrifice a baby, so, it was instict i threw the bomb to the side and bull tackled the head guy. my god, he was ugly, he had a hand coming out his back. shudders i tackled him shelided the baby with my body and then attacked him while waiting for the rest of my “party” to come in. so here i am badly burned and with a baby in my hand and what does the bomb maker do? Throws a bomb right next to me of course. Anywho, we kill the cultists, save for two who the Blood Shifter knocked out. Man, are those guys screwed up. Kept babbling about the “Fountain of Blood” and how much he needed it. apparently the stuff gives you blood lust and is addicting as heroin. so naturally the “professor” says “We have to stay here and do experiments!”. The Guy creeps the hell out of me. after much arguing we decide to realm shift it to the highborns “empty where house”. just gahh why?! i fail to see how nay good can come out of it. Whats going to happen? is it just going ot sit there? and why does the “Queen Bitch want it?” The more i get into this place the less i like it."

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Nila’s Third Account

At length, we were able to determine what lay behind the door and exactly what we should do about it. Each in our group has their own opinions and passions; it can be hard to come to conclusions at times, but when we reach a consensus we can achieve greatness. I have to say that my fellows are growing on me and that we are each valuable. By listening at the door that Knot had said would lead to the cultist’s layer we figured out that the room was occupied by someone chanting in an ancient Light’s Son dialect. Knowing how much trouble fundamentalists can be, we decided on an offensive entrance. I realmshifted our battle leader, Aquinus, into the center of the room with a powerful bomb that Phaedra had constructed. Aquinus was to use the bomb as she saw fit based on what was found inside.

What she found was alarming. Apparently, the center of the room held a fountain of blood and the chanting was a cultist sacrificing a Grate-Scratcher baby while drinking magic blood from the fountain. Aquinus threw the bomb behind her and rescued the child from the hands of its would-be destroyer as the bomb went off. Hearing the explosion, it was our cue to enter. I was the first through the door and the sight I beheld was shocking; the glowing ooze that was clearly the “Sun’s Blood”, the rubble and mutated bodies around the room. I immediately began to play my flute in an attempt to put what appeared to be their leader to sleep. The blast had killed most of the mutants and we were able to eliminate the rest of the threat quickly and efficiently. Aquinus took a fair amount of damage, but for the most part we were unhurt.

As the heat of battle cooled, we were left with the unconscious leader and two others. Our first order of business was to tie up the cultists and see to the baby, but Aquinus, in a fit of rage removed the head of their leader. Seeing her madness, I rendered her unconscious to be tied up as well. She wasn’t acting completely out of character but she’d also had quite a bit of exposure to the blood and we thought it best to be cautious. By the time we had searched the area, cared for the child, and analyzed the situation a bit more Aquinus came to and assured us the she was fine; just upset, when she executed our prisoner. We untied Aquinus and then interrogated the next man to wake using some of the blood as a carrot. Apparently, it’s a very addictive substance that has many conflicting abilities. Not only does it provide super strength, it also provides super aggression. I could sense the lightshifting properties it had myself, but it also had bloodshifting, shadowshifting, and blightshifting properties. After getting all the information we could out of the mutated Son of Light, I once again knocked him out so as to determine our next move.

After a great deal of convincing, Myrmec managed to persuade us that there wouldn’t be much danger if we did a little experimenting with this new and powerful substance. I was curious to see what would happen, but wasn’t terribly fond of the idea. For a minute I thought it might be best to take the young Grate-Scratcher back to its people, but the reduction of myself and whoever I might take with me would reduce our number and therefore increase the danger. I stayed, but kept my distance. At first. As the small amount of blood was given to our addicted captive, whom we had chained up and placed at the bottom of a pit, I handed the baby to Aquinus and crept forward to see what was to be seen. He was obviously strengthened by the potion, but there wasn’t much more of a difference. As he demanded more of the blood, our leader revealed a secret.

The Lady had pulled him aside before we left and told him that if we should find the Sun’s Blood that he was to bring it to her. At first I was upset that he hadn’t told us before, but as we were strangers, and he did tell us now instead of acting on his own, I managed to forgive him. We decided that it wasn’t in our best interest to immediately present her with such an item of power and that we shouldn’t destroy it before knowing more. As we couldn’t just leave it there and we didn’t have the opportunity at the time to learn more, we each (except for Ayla and Aquinus) collected a sample and Truthseeker and I realmshifted it to one of my father’s abandoned properties at the wharf, which was the safest place we could come up with on such short notice. That left our business in the chamber finished, except for the baby and the two prisoners. While we were discussing what to do with our wards, the one in the pit had an unfortunate accident and met his untimely demise. That’s when we left with the other, concluding that we would turn him over to Knot to deal with.

As we entered and were greeted, a woman rushed forward and collected her child from my arms. The joy, the love I saw in her was amazing. It once again reminded me that I can’t judge a people based on what they look like. These abominable creatures, as I’m supposed to believe, seem to have more love and happiness in the worst of situations than my people do in the best. I realize that this might be a rare and special example, but what if we’d just raged in here after Phaedra made their fire bigger and finished the job? I must remember not to judge a people based on appearances, but at the same time I can’t afford to hold myself back in a dangerous situation in fear of being wrong.

Knot was quite happy to see us, and between the prisoner (whom the Grate-Scratchers immediately put to death) and the returned child, we found that ally I had hoped for. He gave us a complete map of the area and all the advice he could. We agreed that we would send an envoy of diplomats when we returned to the city that would talk with him and his people.

I must say that parts of the map are intimidating, but I am optimistic that this quest will not have been in vain.

- Nila Sora

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Nila's Second Account

We decided to continue on the way we were going and see what was to be found. After some investigation, we discovered a concealed door and agreed that that was our best option for moving forward. It led into a small corridor with another hidden door at the other end. The only thing we found in the secret room was a small pack with Grate-Scratcher provisions. After much debate it was finally decided that we should take it, even though I thought that it should stay.

A very short time later we found the owners of the pack and our greeting was less than cordial. Phaedra had stealthily opened the door to see what lay behind and, as per her nature, she made something explode. When she looked inside the next room she saw a fire surrounded by people and her first reaction was to make that fire bigger. After the explosion, in which many Grate-Scratchers were injured, Ayla rushed in to see what she could do for them. I wasn’t sure she’d be able to make it to someone and show her good intentions before she came under fire, but miraculously, she did. Truthseeker was right behind her and a few more of us trickled in to assess the situation. Truthseeker approached one of the men to try and quell hostilities, but he inadvertently mentioned that we’d come from outside the Lost District and the lackey immediately summoned his leader, and not in a happy kind of way. Whatever, we only wanted to deal with the decision maker anyway.

The commander’s name was Knot and he seemed like a good leader, especially considering that I have been raised to believe that Grate-Scratchers are only disgusting wastes of space. He also seemed completely disinterested in our professed intentions of peace. Uninterested, but neither stupid nor rash, he allowed us speak to him and explain about the gate being opened in the city and that we were on a mission of peace. Truthseeker then tried to present him with the pack we had found as an offering, but as it was their pack to begin with, this only enraged him. It took a lot of fast talking and a large portion of my rations, but we managed to calm him. I justified it, but I almost wish I hadn’t. We had no need for the pack when we took it and it only led to trouble. Knot told us about the area; the mutated cultists, mold trolls, and where to go and find them. He provided us a map to get to the cultist’s layer, which sure sounded like it could be the place the Helior worshipers were looking for. It’s where the cultists alter themselves into their almost animalistic states. We headed out to inspect the area, but were left without the strong feeling of a new ally. He left us wondering about what was behind one of his doors and wasn’t overtly friendly, but he did provide us the map and let us leave peacefully. I am hopeful that we will earn his trust.

We made our way to mold trolls that lay between us and our objective. We stopped in a courtyard that gave me the opportunity to get a bird’s eye view of our placement in proximation to the map and allowed me to view a pit of spikes that seemed worth investigating. Before the troll hole was a dead Leovite female in adventure gear. There were two interesting things about her, she was moldy and she had a scroll on her person from a “world class adventurer” named Afton Brand requesting information about the Lost District. Phaedra once again peeked through the door and this time nothing bad happened. She spotted a large mold troll and Truthseeker heard another. That’s when Myrmec stepped in with his opinion; he was very much of the belief that the trolls could not and should not be harmed. It was a surprisingly contentious point, but he won in the end and rendered both trolls unconscious to be placed out of our way with the body of the Leovite in case they should get hungry.

After dealing with the trolls, it was decided that we should check out the pit in case there was something dangerous and there needed to be a quick retreat. As we made our way down we heard screams of distress. I was immediately suspicious and as it turns out I was right. A woman was in the pit screaming for her life so we pulled her out and tried to calm her. She was beside herself over a brooch she had lost at the bottom of the pit and wanted one of us to go down after it. Neither Truthseeker nor Aquinus saw a problem with it, but the rest of us did. We insisted that she take us back to her people and that they could help her search. She started to lead us out of the area with Truthseeker right on her heals, but before the rest of us could join them we were locked inside. Phaedra quickly blew the door to pieces and we easily won the day against the succubus, but we need to be more cautious as a group. At least we got to keep the brooch she had indeed left.

- Nila Sora

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Nila's First Account

It started in the library of one of the Light’s nobles.

Myself and five others. Quite a mix we are, too. Two Prometheans, a Kipling, a Leovite, a Pahiah, and myself; a Sky-Carver. We didn’t seem to be a trusting sort of group as there was no conversation while we waited, but then again that could have something to do with the fact that we had no idea why we were there.

The Lady joined us soon thereafter and explained to us what she wanted and why we were there. The Lost District, which had been used as a dumping ground for old buildings and other undesirables for ages now, had a gate to the outside world open up. Incidentally, this gate is in the middle of the city and no one seems to know what’s inside. That’s where we come in. Each of us has a skill that when used together make us a rational choice for the expeditionary force. Our leader, the Leovite, was included for his superior knowledge of culture and language. Our battle expert, the Kipman, was chosen for his innate ability to handle a threat, but that seems to be all he’s good for. The rest of the party consisted of the Pariah that was there for his vast knowledge of creatures strange and wild, two Prometheans that were thick as thieves, and myself. For my part, it was my realmshifting abilities.

With the Lady’s promise of reward we headed out and into our adventure. We made it to the gate and the rings we were provided allowed us through the barrier that had been erected to keep people out and whatever might be inside in. Once we entered there was only one way to go. It was a small corridor that winded through the rubble. At one point we came to a place where we could either stay on the path or explore a building. We chose to explore the building, which was a bakery, except for the Kipman who decided to stay on the path. Didn’t find much in the bakery besides a spoon and a screw, so we continued on through the labyrinth of abandoned buildings that were so tightly packed and morphed together it was like one big, confusing structure. We were rejoined by the reckless Kipman just before we discovered a party of seven that clearly shouldn’t have been there. They were obviously looking for something and were undeniably from outside the district. Our fearless leader approached them and tried for peaceful discourse, but they seemed bent on violence and pulled us into battle.

Watching my fellows engaged, I was impressed with our individual skills and how they came together to form a cohesive force. I was especially surprised to see that the Kipman was, indeed, a powerful fighter and valuable ally. For our first battle as a group we did well and won the day without too much difficulty. Unfortunately, our Kipman fighter decapitated the leader of the other party and he was not available for questioning. We did manage to spare one of them and the Kipman redeemed himself by using intimidation where the Leovite’s diplomacy had failed. After a great deal of questioning we were able to determine that this was one of three groups that are wandering around this strange place looking for some kind of relic or item. They seem like a cult that opposes the Light, Helior worshipers. On the bright side, we now know that when one of those twits asks us a question the answer is, “Across the Ocean’s Calm.” After receiving all the information we could, I gave him some gold and sent him to a tavern where he wouldn’t cause further difficulty.

- Nila Sora

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