Ember: Fire and Wind

Qualith's Journal

So, I seem to have found some companions for my journey, but we have a long way to go before we could become a team. My old friend Tychaeus sent me a message via sending to let me know that some adventurers he has been guiding were headed toward the Mirrored Sea, and I might find some help in my search with them. I discovered one member of the party, a curious asherati called Taen Ziad, studying the walls in the Glyphs in Shard and questioning a water mephling about religion. I observed his interaction until he noticed me, then approached him to introduce myself. He was very curious, but friendly, and we got along well. His companions were in the marketplace buying supplies for the trip. I eventually met them, Osookh, an asherati ranger and sandworm rider; Route, a stealthy warrior of a strange race called Venara; and Veruna, a human channeler and devotee of Isis from another land. Veruna had a hyena with the fanciful name of Sir Gigglenibbles. I spoke to him, and he approved of her character, so I decided to go with this group. I have yet to speak to the ranger’s owl. I had expected another member in their party, but they were cryptic about his absence. Some of them were a bit suspicious of me, but that was soon diminished when I mentioned the cache from Tychaeus.
We went to Oldcity, and searched for an old mill, since the cache was under the millstone. We were investigating some buildings when we were ambushed by some odd earthen creatures. As I went to assist the others, I was attacked by a mass of animated rubble and barely managed to fend off it’s attacks by the edge of Ariketh. While I was occupied with this creature, the others descended into chaos and started attacking one another and wandering off. Route incapacitated the one with some traps, and I tried to help restrain Osookh from pursuing Veruna when I was overwhelmed by the rubble, and only escaped by using my bloodscarf. I was battered, but rushed to defend the others from the final remaining enemy. When it finally fell, we got everyone to calm down and stop fighting and unearthed the cache from under the millstone. We found tokens that will allow us to traverse the mirror realms, as well as some defensive items and bejeweled holy symbol. Veruna took them all, despite having spent nearly the entire fight fleeing and fighting fellow party members, and in spite of my having directed us to the cache. I find myself very suspicious of her, despite the assessment by her hyena. Perhaps there is something more there, or perhaps it is simple human greed. Oh Tychaeus, when you sent me to meet companions, I did not realize you meant for me to forge them into a team! This could be quite a journey, but battles are not won by individuals, and these are the companions with which I find myself. With a little bit of effort, perhaps they will do. Chan, guide me.

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Osookh's Letters: The Mirror Realm

To my loved ones,

I do not think that I can explain all that transpired in the realm of Mirrors and not sound like a mad fool. We prepared ourselves to enter the mirror path by first trading our possessions. Our theory was that any evil versions of ourselves that came into existence would be less effective without the equipment we are skilled with. A warrior without his sword is hardly a threat, yes? Once on the other side of the mirror, we would trade our belongings back and be unhindered ourselves. It was a smart plan that I believe worked to our benefit…. if not for the mephits that caught us off guard in the lower temple chambers where these priests keep the entrance to the Mirrored Path. I have never fought with a quarter staff before and I can say without doubt that I much prefer my Eagle Claws.

We moved swiftly through the Mirror Realm, turning corner after corner and always expecting to stumble upon our murderous counterparts. And so we did at a cross road; Trapped between my own reflection and that of the human female. By stroke of luck, they were the only two reflections of our party that showed themselves. Unfortunately, they did bring friends. I was uneasy that my companions might confuse my double for me and so gave him a wide berth. In the end, we vanquished our assailants, and they became nothing more than glass dust. A dash further down the indisguishable hallways and we managed to take the correct exit.

Confluence greeted us under the point of blades, for fear that we may have been our our evil doubles. Luckily we convinced Sabacus’s colleague, Tychaeus, that we were in fact the same souls that were sent into the Mirror Realm. This is quite the city, but of course the news Tychaeus has given us suggests that we need to move fast if we are to catch our connection to… The object we are seaching for. I wish I could say more, but I fear who else might be seeking knowledge of our quest. Rest easy! We will be
(cont.)

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Osookh's Letters (Part 3)

Dear Asaanah,

As you can see, I have survived our last adventure unscathed. The crypt held secrets and many questions. It also held animated skeletal remains. To speak of it now, I can hold my quill steady, but I am disappointed to report that at the time I found myself bolting for the light and warmth of the open sands. It was an eerie feeling, like something took hold of me. The creature we faced had but to scream and stare at me, and it was as if it peered into my soul. I lashed out at my fellows in arms before something sent me careening down the dark hallways of the cavernous grave.

The expedition was not without benefit. The mural we sought was entombed near the creature and upon its defeat a piece of it was obtained. What was more interesting was what we did not find. After delivering our report to Sabacus, an official of the Temple of the Old Ways, he believes that a great gem may have been stolen from its hiding place in the tomb. This gem is…. well, to preserve the secrets of the Clerics here, I should not speak too much of its story. It is a powerful relic that, if truly missing, must be tracked down. We may have a lead in the city of Confluence, but the journey is a long one. Sabacus has suggested the use of a traveling mirror, but there are risks involved. Of course, taking the sand and sun route has risks as well, so the speed of the mirror may prove beneficial. He says that by entering the mirror realm, an evil copy of each of us will appear somewhere within and seek to kill us! We have a plan to deal with that problem, should it become an issue, though I do not look forward to battling my own reflection. My next letter will likely be from Confluence. I have heard many rumours of the splendors in that place. I believe that some of our people even reside there! I will be interested to see what sights there are to see and what direction our expedition might take. Until then, give my love to all.

-Osookh

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Osookh's Letters (Part 2)

Greetings Assanah,

I wish I could say that I am safe and sound, Sister, but alas, you know I am not one to stay still for too long. I am writing from an abandoned burial chamber, believe it or not. I am uneasy here. The floor and walls are made of solid stone. There is no quick escape into the sands, and I have already seen my fair share of guardian creatures this afternoon. Though the cleric that sent us here says the dead no longer dwell in these crypts, I can not help but feel a chill in my bones. I worry that something stirs beneath our feet. Now I wish I had asked the cleric why this mound has been abandoned, but I have a feeling we may find out firsthand. For now, my companions sleep while an earth elemental and I watch over them. I can take some small comfort writing this to you while I pass the hour.

My party arrived yesterday in a city called Abitaan. It is quite the spectacle, what with the many temples that seem to dot its landscape. We did not stay long, though. Much happened on the sands after my last letter, and we came into the care of a religious zealot. I am not entirely proud of how this came to be, though I believe we still affected the greater good. This man’s people hunted a majestic beast that I have only heard of in tales. It creates sandstorms in the blink of an eye to protect itself. Despite my failed efforts to soothe the beast, I did manage to defend it. It meant the deaths of the zealot’s companions, but their intentions were dubious at best. I know little of the Gods of these lands, but these Sun Worshipers seem the troublesome type, especially considering how they were armed.

Our captive became quite delirious as we traveled, calling out to his Sun God to deliver him to safety. If you ask me, it was the Sun which sought to take his life (and perhaps ours while it was at it). Thankfully we made it to Abitaan by way of the Mirrored Sea. Delivering the zealot to the temples did not have the reaction that my companions hoped. In the end, the Sun Worshipers are a small group that do not threaten the ways of Abitaan’s people. I feel guilty for the results of that conflict. I have gone back over the encounter many times in my head, but I do not know if the results would have been any different if we had….

[In a more hastily scribbled hand]

I may have been right about this crypt, Sister. Creatures stir from deep down in the depths, and the sounds of their crawling and clicking echo in the halls. I have changed shifts, but it is hard to sleep as the sounds persist and seem to grow louder. I hope that we are near to the item we seek. Should we find it, it holds the power to return our charge to his people with a message that we hope will discourage them from causing further conflict. I can only hope that is penance enough for what happened to his companions. I will leave this letter at the mouth of the crypt in hopes that someone may deliver it to you should the worst happen to me. Send my love to the family, and if I emerge unscathed, expect a letter detailing our triumph!

-Osookh

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Osookh's Letters
Letters

To My Loved Ones:

I have traveled to Fort Kysem, beyond the far borders of our home. With its central location, I had hoped this might be a place to hang my blades and look for work, but I found instead fire and death. Something strange has happened here, but I do not know what. I am thankful that I found a caravan in the shadow of this ruin that has seen enough value in me to take me on for a short while. Do not worry for me! I remember all your warnings about outsiders. I know too that to them, I am the outsider here. If I can be of any help to these people, then it is only right that I do what I can for them.

There are a few amongst the group that seem particularly skilled, if not also a bit odd. One is quite furry and constantly moving or talking or both, while another is quite the opposite: a Bhuka of few words with a sturdy boulder creature for a companion. There is one of our people with me as well, though he seems an eccentric the way he scribbles into his journals all the time. Finally, there is a female mystic of some sort. She seems guarded, but her skills can not be denied.

I believe I have gained the trust of the Caravan’s leader, and I believe he would keep me on as part of his guard if I were to ask. However, I am intrigued by these lands, and wish to explore them more thoroughly. I feel that we must part ways when we reach the safety of Abitaan, but perhaps my new companions will feel the same and join me. Odd though they may be, they are not to be underestimated. Together we have already faced many dangers that I may not have escaped without their aid.

I must end this message, or the parchment will be too heavy for the bird I send it with. Know that I am well and in good company! I love you all dearly.

-Osookh

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