Yeah - both of those are just byproducts of my old-man eyes not seeing well from the toolset and thinking there was a path down from those ledges that there turned out to not be. There's also a bug with a pitfall in one part of the dungeon Blue told me about that is a similar "Stuck" point. I got one fixed last night, but never heard of or saw the second one until now. I'll get it fixed when I get home tonight!
Forgiver, my dude. Falling into the gap on the way TO the dungeon is AWFUL. One good change today, not requiring a jump or a portal to even enter the zone, A+. But now if you fall (even if roped, because it doesn't actually work), you get stuck in an area you can't leave without a jump or portal.
Working telescopes (atm): old Celestron C8 SCT I purchased back in 1979, new Celestron OmniXLT 150 6" f/5 Newtonian, cheapo Meade 90mm f/8.8 refractor sniped off of eBay for $30 (these three I use on a Celestron AVX mount). Also a homebuilt 10" Dobsonian put together in 2010 and a homebuilt 6" Newtonian I made in H.S. c. 1966. Main imaging camera (atm) is a Canon 60D DSLR. The new camera is the SVBony SV305 Pro - plan to use it as a guide camera and for moon/planetary imaging.
They receive the DC benefit from items, but not from spell foci, since alchemist gas clouds are not spells. They also don't receive the bonus from the wild magic robe specifically since gas clouds can't wild magic.
I lost my my mother a year after I was born. Fourteen years later, I lost my father. At an age of fourteen, I was suddenly the man of the household. Patriarch. Did I shoulder that responsibility well? Surely not as was expected from a man, but then, what else could you expect from someone so young?
I used to be proud of the legends told about my father, before he was executed for shaming his family, faith and home. I never knew my mother, though many spoke highly her. An exemplary citizen and soldier, they would say. A woman of grit and righteous values. I often wondered what she was like, what she would have looked like were she still alive. Father took down her portrait from the wall not long after she died. Maybe it reminded him of a pain he would rather bury, bury alongside the body of his deceased wife. died. But, in secret, he kept a locket with our family portrait. I have worn it since the day they pried it off his cold corpse,
I used to look up to them, of what they represented, and I tried to emulate both - as much as anyone can emulate someone who is not there. It can be a dangerous thing to know someone from only what is spoken about them. Who they were, what they were, becomes an embellished or smudged portrait. A caricature. Something false. Like my father who had proved himself anything but the man he praised to be, supposed to be. All that he could have been, or continued to be, he destroyed with single action. Treason. After his deserved death, I try to emulate anything he was not. I am ashamed to share his blood, the weight of the shame not unlike a slab of stone upon my shoulders. Wherever I go, whatever I do, with whomever I speak, I am weighed down by it.
Before he died, my father had travelled to a strange place called Thain. He never wrote and never visited after left for the island. I often wonder why he left. Did he do it out of duty, for glory, or simply to escape the memories of my mother that haunted him at every step back home? Did he discover something or meet someone on the island that moved him to betray his oaths? I do not know - cannot know. But I do know that I swore a silent oath to travel to Thain to find out the truth the day I came of age.
The was yesterday.
Today, as I write this, foreign shores can be glimpsed on the western horizon, a shimmering outline of coast, trees and mountains. I wonder what my father found on this island that changed him so, that turned hero to pariah. I wonder what I shall find.
“You sent the boy away? What errant thought moved you to such decision?” “I did not send him away. He insisted on leaving.” “And you let him? Who will watch him, judge his deeds? It is a wonder the boy was spared the noose to begin with.” “The “boy” proved himself a man when he passed the tests at age fifteen. You underestimate what is easily our most promising recruit.” “He’s the son of a traitor!” “All the more reason he leaves the comforts of a familiar home to be tested in a land where he will be even more shunned, despised, than he is here. There is merit in brutal and uncompromising hardship.” “He is his father’s son. What is there to prevent him from disgracing his name and oaths like did his father? Out there, we cannot easily render due punishment.” “We will be watching, rest assured.” “For your sake, I hope so. He lives under penal servitude. If he dies on foreign soil and we are unable to collect what is due to us, you will take the fall.” “I am aware.” “By His will, so be it.” “By His will, so all things must be.”
I have not travelled far on Thain, but I have seen enough to form an opinion on the people that live here. The locals tell me that the capitol city, Steinkreis, is a place of law and order, that it is inhabited by honest and law-abiding citizens. I have been to Steinkreis, and what they call order is nothing but a veneer. Beggars and scoundrels crowd the main thoroughfares, and each corner boasts some seedy establishment. Those most destitute and wretched of the citizens are herded into a district called Lowtown; a place permeated and suffocated by despair, apathy and anarchy. If Steinkreis is the epitome of civilisation on Thain, I am disgusted to think about the moral degeneration I will discover in other cities and villages.
Uncouth though most of the islanders appear and behave, only few have treated me with contempt. I have even gained what might pass for friends. A beautiful songstress that calls herself White Rose, and a knight called Sollis. That name is not unfamiliar to me, and I wonder if what I might learn of the man aligns with the stories I have been told about him. I met an elven woman too, the first elf I have ever laid eyes on. She did not reveal much about herself other than she was a hunter honing her talents to defend her forest. I ask myself, what would the three of them think about me if they knew of my origins? Would I remain Lucuphus, a fellow adventurer - a word that is spoken with near-reverence by the locals who treat adventurers like an antidote to all imaginable perils - or would they see me as someone or something else?
I am trying to retrace my father’s travels on Thain, but it is not easy to get to the places he presumably visited. The safest is to travel by armed caravan, but such transport comes at an exorbitant rate, a sum of gold and silver that might afford a man their own horse elsewhere. Yet I cannot travel by foot, not when the roads are so overrun by brigands and roaming monsters. Regardless of whether I decide to travel by caravan or not, I am down to my last silvers, and I must find gainful work lest I starve to death. I know to live by the sword and nothing else, and I am at once curious and desperate to discover how far, if anywhere, my talents will take me on the island.
“Has he reported back?” “How, exactly? By writing a letter and sending it by bird? That bird would not make it all the way.” “There are other ways to communicate!” “Then no, he has not communicated anything back.” “That is not reflecting well on your decision to let him go! What do the watchers say?” “Nothing. He is far away, and what representatives we have are not near the regions where he was last seen.” “A traitor’s son who is a deserter in all but name. And you made it happen!” “Have faith in the man. He has neither forsaken his people nor the duties that await him.” “A leap of blind faith, is that what you expect me to take? At this very moment, he could be exposing our lands and our land’s defences!” “An unlikely scenario. And even if he were, you imagine the islanders would travel here? Attack us? You should curb your paranoia.” “Like you should heighten your caution and sensibilities! We are talking about the son of a man found guilty of capital treason.” “But we are also talking about the son of a woman whom the Fates favoured more than most. That same son wishes nothing more than to step out of his parent’s shadow and be his own man; be judged for his own deeds. We both know his rise from infamous son to a man of worth would not have been possible here.” “Why at all give the opportunity for him to prove anything? Send out others to find and kill him, and let his family name be forever buried.” “You would so easily dismiss the life of a man who may yet become a great boon to our nation? All military records commend his talents.” “Any man can learn to hold a sword, but few know to respect and enforce law, code and ideals!” “I know you well enough to know your intentions. Do not send out killers after the boy! You are wasting resources, and for what? If the Fates wish the boy dead, he will die regardless.” “I do not trust Fate. I trust in the Divine Edict to execute men associated with heresy and treason, even if only by birth.” “I repeat, do not send out men to kill him!” “You said you know me? Then you should have known me enough to know the order has already been issued.”
It has been some time since my last entry. So much has happened since then! I have been admitted into the ranks of the Empyrean Aurora by Colonel Darienne herself, the same woman who fought side by side with Sir Sollis Lott and Red Cassia in the Great Siege, when Empyreans warred with Iron City. I am tasked with protecting Hamley and her outskirts; in particular, I am to defend the palisade walls from spiders, and to hunt down Iron City and Dragon’s Watch affiliated agents in the vicinity of Fort Bennars. Unlike my new brothers- and sisters-in-arms, I am not a man of faith, but I am man who lives by and abides by oaths and codes, and this I have in common with the Empyreans!
I have likewise spent much time in Sir Sollis Lott’s company, learning from the man’s vast experience at combat and leadership. Like the Empyreans, he is a man of faith, a holy knight, but he is also a man who is defined by chivalrous oaths and codes. We have the latter in common, and many of our oaths are similar: lawful conduct and enforcement of law, pursuit of justice, valour, courage and strength, honour, and retribution. I have asked Sir Sollis about the possibility to squire under him so I can learn more of the Celestial Knights and their Codex, and, above all, to be trained by Sir Sollis.
Sir Sollis shared his thoughts about finishing what Red Cassia started - to wage war on Iron City - but although I can appreciate the man’s desire for retribution, I told him that I found it unwise to march upon a city so far away, across treacherous territory that would compromise supply lines. There is also the Iron Wall to contend with. I suggested I call out to allies to deliberate a concerted effort against an enemy much closer to Hamley, Steinkreis and Castra Aurelia. It is not at all a given that the Empyreans and their allies would bolster our cause by sending men to fight alongside us, but with Sir Sollis Lott as heroic and inspirational commander, perhaps allies would join our cause eventually. I am certain that the likes of Malaka Sako and the Blood Chaplain would see merit in what we desire to do, so a good start would be to reach our to them to discuss and strategise.
"Not a word from the boy yet?" "I admit that I have lost contact with Lucuphus." "This has gone on for far too long. He may very well have found other sponsors, but that is hardly the biggest concern." "He wears Empyrean colours, yes." "You say that so off-handedly!? There will be consequences for this, for you! Your poor judgment has paved the way for you to an early demise." "Need I remind you that my poor judgment reflects on yours as well? If I take the fall, so do you." "Is that a threat? I never condoned your decision to let the boy away from our lands, from our gods and laws and duties!" "Yet here we are in this mess, together, all the same. If you wish to escape remonstration, help yourself by helping me. We must return Lucuphus to here." "You fool. The only way I will return the boy home is in pieces. This condition is non-negotiable." "What good is he dead?" "More good than he is alive, wearing heretic uniform and fighting under a heretic banner!" "I acquiesce to your condition, then. Who will do the deed? He is not exactly within reach." "There are ways. Leave that to me."
[The following poster is circulated in all seedy places on Thain: in Dragon's Watch, Chudrak-Dum, Mora'chel and Iron City at large, but also in Lowtown in Steinkries, and many places in Shadowfell.]
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150,000 GOLD COINS IN LOCAL CURRENCY
Bring proof of deed to basement under Trade and Tackel in Shadowfell.
Much has happened of late, but one experience stands out like no other: a vision.
The day began pleasantly enough. I had just finished a commission from Warren Meadows to make him a pair of swords, and as I was wrapping up for the day, I was surprised to host a famous - or infamous for those of a judgmental and narrow mind - songstress in my humble home outside Hamley. Nicolette and I talked about the resurgent shadows near Steinkreis and debated how to clear her name of less than complimentary adjectives. The weather was pleasant though the winds were crisp - until it wasn't.
It started with a torrent of rain, only the weeping clouds were a deep red, slashed through with mad arcs of crimson lightning. Nicolette and I rushed to shut the door and windows, but the wind - more a whip than gusts of air - rammed into the door, then blew it apart. The windows suffered a similar fate, and so did the roof. Even the walls collapsed, but fortunately, we made it outside before we were buried in the rubble.
This is when we encountered the blind priestess.
She manifested from a red fog so thick it appeared like a solid wall. Her eyes and mouth were sewn shut, and in her hand she held a strange orb, somehow reminiscent of a ball of blood, churning and boiling. I could not tell if she was young or old, but I knew instantly that she was not of this world. Nicolette whispered she had torn her way into our world from the Abyss. No, I recall false; she had been trapped in a Rift-crystal, but had somehow freed herself from this prison - that, or someone else had freed her. For obvious reasons, she was incapable of speech, but words can be formed by other means than a mouth. She reached into our minds with her own, probing, burrowing, extracting. She implanted our minds with visions, and soon after we were lost in these visions, no longer able to tell what was real from what was imagined.
In one such vision, we found ourselves on a wall both Nicolette and I immediately recognised. It was the wall surrounding Hamley, albeit it had been fortified with stone and ramparts. The deafening clang of battle resounded all around us, a mad cacophony of screaming men and screaming steel. Above the walls, flying creatures - fiends and celestials - were locked in mortal combat, and on the walls, hell knights and empyreans were slaughtering each other en masse. The fog of war lifted just enough to show Commander Darienne and Hell Knight Runario charging at each other, the former mounted on an armoured steed. I ran toward them, for I would not be denied the opportunity to kill a hated enemy - not while I live and breathe - but I moved slow, too slow, like when you slog through a swamp. I picked up a sword from a dead hell knight and made to insert myself into the thick of battle, between Runario and Darienne, but they kept charging at each other as if I was not there, somehow invisible to their eyes. I shouted at Darienne, but she could neither hear nor see, and her warhorse slammed into me despite Darienne and I sharing uniforms.
I woke with a start. We both did, Nicolette and I. We were half-buried under a collapsed roof, choking on dust and debris, and had a wandering empyrean acolyte not found us, we could have died, would have died. Sir Sollis found us shortly after, but any mentions of the vision were swept aside to focus on more pressing concerns - concerns rooted in the real world.
Still, each time I rest my head to sleep after the vision, I wonder if it will visit me again in my dreams, for I have no doubt that what I saw, I was meant to see. It is imperative a war council is convened, one attended by Darienne and fellow empyreans, and the Bloodguard. If the devils are already preparing for another march, time is short. I must act before the opportunity to do so slips away.