Location: Unknown Island, Unidentified Temple
As my sense of self grows, and as my perilous journey shows no sign of decreasing in danger, I feel the urge to record my experiences and feelings. One of my team, a divinely empowered human named Rurik, has been kind enough to give me a simple blank book and some ink. My immediate realization is that when alone with my thoughts, I feel far more unnatural than when speaking with my comrades. These idle hours, when their bodies beckon them to rest, are the loneliest stretches of time I’ve perceived so far. I think, however, that were I a creature who could sleep, I would not be capable at this moment.
I nearly died today. Or perhaps I did die— what happened was not entirely clear to me. But wait, I’m getting ahead of myself.
mast keepe friend Jack‘s trial in the Court of the Mage Council, he felt he was best suited to keep working there. We did not press him far on this, as his argument was easy to see; the place truly is full of knowledge and arcane power if you’ve a stomach for the local etiquette. We said our goodbyes, and Jack noted that he would be in contact if he had any helpful information. After several weeks of attempting to get near Orion, and making no headway in the formalized bureaucratic system on which the grand floating city runs, we decided to leave. Having only the faintest of instruction from Orion, that of readying the world for the impending invasion by Mephistopheles, we decided the first course of action should be to get ourselves mobile again. This required a bit of cajoling between ourselves and a dock warden, with us seeking our impounded vessel and him seeking a rather sizable compensation. Bellum, another member of my new squad, seemed concerned only with pursuing our set course of action(or perhaps any course of action that did not involve pacing around a town full of studious bureaucrats and dusty tomes). After an outburst by the hulking half-ogre, he decided to just pay the man a great sum and be done with it. While I can’t say his methods or motives are the most well thought out, his passion for the mission is endearing nonetheless.
Our ship reattained, we piloted it timidly out of the sky-bound harbor. None of us are particularly adept at running such a vessel, though through some clever divine spells we managed to make it once again sea-worthy. Or, rather, sky-worthy. After nearly a day of blindly drifting through the clouds, we encountered tiny, glowing creatures. Before he knew what they were, Roy, my final companion(save for his enormous pet griffon), fired an arrow at one. He stated that he was not taking chances with any possible threats— though anything that can by dispatched by a single arrow is likely not much of a threat to us. When more appeared, Rurik recognized them instantly as Lantern Archons, celestial creatures of an inherently good nature. They bade we follow them, and despite Roy’s protests, I did. With no sight of land or anything but ocean in every direction, it seemed the only option available. Roy seems to chafe under my direction, but I feel no more at home than when convincing him or the others of the best course of action.
As we descended, a small jungle island appeared on the horizon. We set down on the water just off the shore. Roy, after a bit of scouting, discovered a massive temple built into the side of a mountain, with an ominous message on its entrance. “Those Touched by the Gods— Enter and Be Tested” it said. Rurik certainly applied there, and Bellum seemed also to command a certain level of divine aptitude, but myself and Roy seemed a bit out of place at such a temple. Not content with splitting up our forces, I entered anyway. Bellum, Rurik, and myself entered just fine. Roy, however, was blasted by some unseen force when he attempted to go in. When we attempted to get back to him, we were barred by the same invisible wall of force— though we were not struck by any trap or effect. Roy decided to look for an alternate entrance, and we decided to do the same from within. After a short few steps, we were shaken by a booming voice that seemed to emanate from the temple itself. We were directed to defend ourselves, and to overcome the challenges ahead of us. Fine, golden motes of light coalesced around us, and formed into humanoid figures. Aasimars, I recalled. Yet another inherently noble and good being. Soon we were surrounded by combatants. Bellum was hesitant to the challenge for a moment, but when they showed no fear of him or the prospect of a brutal death, he was delighted to take them up on their offer.
I faltered a bit in the confines of the cave, but Bellum… Bellum moved like a hurricane. In a blink he had taken out four of them, and in another blink, the rest of them. While barbaric and wild in appearance and demeanor, he moves with unhindered fluidity, chaining swing after swing of his massive hammer into one another. Every time Bellum landed his final blow on an opponent, they erupted in fire and returned to their previous form, then disappeared. In a moment he had completed the first challenge. We pressed forward, Bellum’s mighty hammer again proving an invaluable asset when bypassing breakable barriers. Deeper in the cavernous temple, the tremendous voice boomed again. A creature once again began to form in front of us— this one much bigger. I recognized the form before it had even finished. A Gold Dragon. I had fought many in the Dragon Wars over a thousand years ago, but I was still shaken by its presence. Bellum and I dispatched it, though only barely. His natural healing abilities had him completely recovered in moments, but my harder form took considerably more effort to repair. This is where Rurik shines. All in all we are a tremendous team, even if I am a bit ill-suited for indoor combat.
Our challenges were not over, however. After discovering a cache that we assume is intended as a reward for our efforts, we were waylaid further by clerics as well as some sort of celestial construct— though I didn’t get much of a look at it before Bellum did what he does best. Further still we came upon a room of Hound Archons, as well as massive Tiger-like creatures expelling a deadly-cold breath, not unlike that of the White Dragons I encountered so long ago. Breaking the ranks and getting myself cornered, I took one too many blasts from this beast. I was down for a moment, with everything going black. Before I knew it, however, I was… well, I suppose conscious is the word. Rurik explained that I had sustained nearly irreparable damage, and I would’ve likely died had he not been there. Rurik doesn’t know it, but he is perhaps a more fit leader than I am, but for the fact that he rarely speaks up, or takes charge. He too will be an indispensable boon to our cause, and I’ll be sure to keep an open mind to his guidance.
I am still locked on that moment in my mind. As the world faded away from me, I didn’t feel a void of nothingness that so many speculate awaits any Warforged that falls in battle. Indeed, quite the opposite. I felt a compelling force, benevolent and welcoming, begin to draw me closer. It was only for a second, but it was like nothing I’ve ever experienced before. Perhaps further discussion with our chaplain is in order.
For now, however, my friends rest. They set up a rudimentary defensive perimeter, though the disembodied voice informed us that we would be safe for the evening. I only hope Roy is faring well, having been cut off from the benefit of a quarter-ton hammer-wielding half-ogre and the healing powers of a divine agent. As I am exposed to more challenges, I feel my powers grow, and soon I will truly be a leader fit for the task at hand. Soon I will the full might of an army behind me once again.
And soon I will return to Strand Ellis.