The group has decided to speed up our operation, we will teleport to Caliphas in order to seek out a Mayor Wisperfoot for information on Hermea. I was somewhat apprehensive to use a magical staff to travel a great distance and with good reason. We appeared on the stretch of road North of Caliphas a good mile or more outside the city. As I tried to orientate myself to my new surroundings, a darkness started to form around us, spooking the horses to the point of forcing most of the party to dismount. Alondarial was thrown from her horse as it bolted away. Soon I heard voices seemingly all around us speaking in a language only Ariona could understand. She informed us they wanted Blood or Power for trespassing. These voice kept chanting the same words from the darkness, but Ariona was unable to explain what power they sought or how we trespassed. I attempted to sneak through the darkness on the side of my horse which finally forced the voices to reveal themselves to me. A shadowy demon like creature formed and shouted, sending a cold shiver down my back, I would not shake this feeling for some time. In seconds, seven more demons surrounded the party. Lazarus acted first, using his magic to summon lightning, striking two of the foul creatures. Followed by Alon releasing a hail of her arrows toward another. I had not even got my wits about me as Leife sprinted across the battlefield to fight beside Lazarus, leaving Alon and Ariona completely exposed. I was fortunate enough to avoid the attention of the demons as they proceed to claw and bite my new friends before I could react. Three demons descended on Alon, fortunately one completely miscalculated his attack and found himself confused and on the other side of the blockade, shooting past me in a flash. Ariona and Azaelia both found themselves victims to the winged shadows, having to stand their own. Azaelia called a pillar of flame from the sky striking the demon in front of her. Shockingly this didn’t kill the creature, so I knew I had to quickly assist our Druid. I was able to flank the dark intruder, my lock pick finding a home in its back. Even with the lack of blood present, I knew my blow was effective. Ariona used her magic persuasions to speed the party, I could feel my swiftness increase allowing me to strike my opponents twice as fast.
As the battle proceeded, the creatures slowly were dispatched, which physical attacks seeming more effective than magic against the other world demons. I suspect they have either immunities or resistances to the electric, cold and fire my group hurled at them. My precision, Alon’s arrows and Leife fists proved the better solution to our problem. At one point, despite Leife finally realizing that Ariona needed his help far more than our leader Lazarus, Ariona fell to the ground. Leife had tried to distract the creature with his blows, but not before the claws tore through Ariona’s fragile frame. Lazarus reviled his ability to morph into a dragon form himself, perhaps he finally realized the claws and bites from a dragon would speed our victory over his spells. With no further victims falling in battle, we defeated the eight shadows and Azaelia went to work healing our group with her magic of nature. Ariona was alive and stood up, we were all safe for now. If this is what teleporting is like, I think I will stick to more traditional modes of transportation.
Caliphas at last. Lazarus asked for an immediate audience with the mayor as I excused myself to find out if Nathan was able to find any information for me. After a short trip to the savory side of town and a silly little passcode, I was able to learn of Men-Kar, the leader of Hermea and golden dragon. With his counsel of thirteen he has created his own private euphoria where only the summoned worthy individual may enter his lands. This makes researching at the library he protects a bit more difficult. We will need to play this out with a well thought out plan.
I made it back to the mayor’s office in time, the party still waiting for their audience. Mayor Whisperfoot is quite the character, I have encountered his kind many times before. Lazarus seemed completely unwilling to negotiate with Zyr, instead just giving into his every demand without a fight. Zyr seemed almost disappointed at how easy it was to manipulate our leader, like a child bored with an old toy. My objections were dismissed and silenced by Laz, who became annoyed at any attempt to use diplomacy or negotiation techniques. Laz just simply promised to owe Zyr a favor, no details, limitations or value placed on such a trade. Strange behavior, does Zyr hold something over this group?
Some good did come out of our relationship with the mayor, he introduced us to the captian of the ship that would take us to Hermea, Tara Ironside. A striking woman who shared my appreciation of brandy and fully willing to use her charms for a mutual night out on the town. Tara and I spent the day purchasing the brandy we would trade in Hermea and later enjoying fine food and beverages together. I returned to the group who was staying at the mayor’s mansion and informed them I had secured the twelve kegs of brandy for our journey and the Velvet Hand would be ready to set sail the next day. Lazarus unwilling to trust me just yet, accompanied me to pay for the brandy as if his contribution of carrying bags of gold helped me in some way. If we followed his lead, we would have spent 150 GP more for the same quality of brandy. Either this group doesn’t mind wasting Drakkonus’ money or they have no skills at marketplace negotiations. I am starting to understand why Drakkonus asked me to accompany his apprentices and why they have yet to retrieve a single dragon shard.
I spent the rest of the evening loading the brandy on the ship myself, so the crew wouldn’t have to. I also made sure to introduce myself to the crew. Good will is going to be needed if the demeanor of our leader is any indication of how future interactions will go. The last thing you want to do is find yourself on the wrong side of an angry crew in the middle of the ocean. Even if I can’t teach the value of generosity to my companions, they will benefit from my efforts nonetheless. That or I will be alone on the docks of Promise looking for a new team to carry out the mission. Drakkonus would not be pleased to receive such a report.
Several days of river sailing has finally lead us to the open sea. In just a few more days we will arrive at the docks of Promise. There is a lack of communication in this group, although we have almost of week of peaceful travel, there has been no attempt to form a plan or even get to know each other better. I think I have grown closer to the crew of the Velvet Hand more than the crew I am working with. Perhaps I spend too much time analyzing my fellow shard hunters, but I can’t help but shake the feeling something is wrong. It is late, I will rest my mind for the night, tomorrow is a new day, I wonder what adventures the open ocean will bring us…