The Argent Compact

A new friend and the smudge

Dear Mother, Orianna chose to join the rest of the clerics in trying to discover the threat to Selune. We wish her success in her endeavors.

We headed back down toward the cypher gate today to test out a theory on the smudge. Could it be similar to the streak of light we had observed in Logos? Could it be a tear or other type of influence on reality? I called up an ice elemental to ask it’s help in investigating the smudge. I figured the intense cold the others had experienced would have little effect on the ice elemental. As it approached the smudge it seemed to communicate a question of possibly feeling cold and then a pulling sensation. It shattered as it got close to the smudge. Could the pulling sensation have been similar to gravity?

While we were watching the elemental, a strange dwarf approached our group. When I say strange mother, I mean it on several levels. First the obvious meaning, we didn’t recognize him. Second, and more important, he had a goblin head on his belt. As I looked him over, my first thought was magic-user. The head could have been a trophy of a warrior, but he really didn’t have the overbearing warrior nature you see in most dwarves. Then he asked me about my spell and I knew he had arcane knowledge. A warrior would not bother with such information. He seems nice enough. His name is Uli.

Sahir is convinced that he can fly close enough to the smudge to shoot an arrow at it to see if it goes through it or disappears. He thinks Lord Torch might have a rug he could use. Lord Torch wanted only a favor for the use of the flying rug. He asked Sahir to seek information about the efreet Mort (this is the same Mort we met back in that strange bazaar). We told Lord Torch that we had come across Mort and described what had happened. He asked Sahir to try and find the position of the shop Mort had in the desert and free the trapped soul of Sahir’s sister (Lord Torch’s love).

When we got back to the gate, Sahir flew close enough to shoot several arrows in the direction of the smudge. We met up with Uli there again. He was intrigued by the flying rug and had followed us. One of Sahir’s arrows seemed to get close and then accelerate into the smudge where it sort of spun there on it’s own. Sahir almost flew too close but made it back to us safely. He was very cold when he got back and I had an idea. I asked him to touch the goblin head while his fingers were icy cold. Sure enough, it complained! But in goblin I would guess because I didn’t understand what it said. After Uli conversed with it and then talked with us, it was obvious that the goblin was versed in magic use. It had some interesting thoughts, when it chose to share them with us through Uli. It thought the smudge like a portal and seemed like a lens being focused. Sahir took Uli, and his head, up near the smudge and they saw that it cast a shadow in the harbor between the gate and the docks. When Uli and Sahir returned we all got on the rug and flew out near the shadow area. I shifted shape into a dolphin to see if I could find anything under water below the shadow. I could see a depression in the harbor bottom but no obvious magic signs or debris. There was a large school of fish that seemed stuck within the depression but they appeared otherwise healthy. When I got back up to the surface and up onto the rug, Sahir said that he felt a resistance when he tried to fly away from the area. We had been caught along the edge of whatever had caught the fish below. We managed to propel the rug out of the influence and make our way back to shore.

Uli and Morgan went back to speak to the cypher mages about what we had found. Sahir and Anya went to visit some dwarf gas miners about possibly making masks to use underwater. I went back to the Argent Tower to send messages back to the academy with what we had discovered and to ask their advice about the smudge.

Sahir and Anya helped test the masks to see if they filtered the water just as they filtered the vile gas the miners worked in. They arranged for us to borrow enough for each of us and Uli helped adjust one to fit Whisper. It took a lot of calming words and trust on Whisper’s part to follow me in the water. Uli negotiated the rental of a boat for us to use instead of the rug for this next exploration.

When we got near the shadowed area, Sahir, Whisper, and I went into the water with ropes attached. We almost immediately felt the pull of the vortex. Whisper managed to immediately get back, but I wasn’t strong enough. Uli and Morgan kept Whisper and me from being pulled too far down, but Sahir swam with the pull to see where it lead him. Anya had a tough time keeping a hold of his rope. I called a squid to help pull us out of the difficult area and we all got back to the boat. Sahir wanted to explore the bottom of the harbor in the depression so he went back into the water after changing his mask filter. The rest of us stayed on the boat to help as needed with his rope. When Sahir got to the bottom, he tried digging but kicked up a lot of silt and it was affecting his mask filter. He found a box with alchemy reagents in it and set it in the center of the depression to try and blow the dirt and silt clear. He dropped a rock as we pulled him up to set off the explosion. When he released the rock, he untied himself from the rope to stay and watch to see what happened. The explosion exposed bare rock along the floor but there was no obvious markings or signs that would be causing the vortex effect. Unfortunately, Sahir was pulled back down to the bottom by the force along with the rest of the dirt and silt. I dove in with an extra rope and cast water breathing on myself and Sahir. When he tied the rope to himself, Uli had the boat set sail to pull him out of the silt which was up to his waste by now. It nearly tore him in two. We both managed to make it back to the boat. Sahir will be feeling the effects of that trip for a while.

Well, Mother, we are tired and frustrated about making such slow headway on this puzzle. I will write again soon.

Love, Amber

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Back to Riddleport

Dear Mother,

In Riddleport we are staying at the Argent Tower. Steward William gave us a brief history of the politics here. Being from the High Forest, I am unfamiliar with how a city is run. There is an Overlord named Cromarcky. He is the leader of the underworld. He apparently runs the government, including the mayor, from an island in the middle of the river. There are several bosses below him. Boss Croat is a half-orc crime boss in charge of drugs and protection rackets. Mistress Shafora is the head of the House of Silken Veils. Clegg Zincher runs the gladatorial games and Lymus Sneed has an import export business and influences happenings on and around the docks.

Steward William told us that the smudge over the cypher gate has been there 2-3 weeks. It appears like an atmospheric disturbance (cloud), that is somewhat hazy and casts a shadow on the ground. There have been a few incidents since it first appeared; 4 inches of hail in summer, rained fish in a field, and ground tremors.

The smudge’s appearance changes slightly each day. Those who have tried to fly into it or scrye it become disoriented and lose their way.

We went to the cypher mages to consult with them. We met a yound lady named Samaritha who has tatoos on her forehead. She introduced us to their leader, Elias Tammerhawk. He said that one of them, Argentus Blakely, attempted to penetrate the smudge. He said the temperature dropped to a cold so intense he lost feeling and became disoriented.

Our presence had been requested by the Overlord for dinner. We went to see him. He looks kind of like a pirate. We spoke about the gambling tournament and street murders. When we asked his opinion of the smudge, he didn’t feel it was real or of any concern. It turns out he has a very impressive collection of nautical gear.

After our dinner with Cromarcky, we decided to wander the town a little. We went by the Golden Goblin to check the tournament. They have a demon in a cage on display. I think it’s a real imp. The contract they have the players sign is a fake so Sahir signs up to participate to see what happens. It starts in 3 days.

On our way down to the docks, a woman in the shadows propositions Sahir. He asks her about drugs and she points him in the direction of Boss Croat. He has a compound on the north side of town. We decide to head up there and take a look around.

Whisper scattered a bunch of rats in the nearby alley. From the tracks, it resembles the effect of a “summon swarm” spell. I think we’re making someone nervous.

We climbed the ridge overlooking Croat’s compound. I was able to shape shift into an owl and fly down to observe the compound from one of the rooftops. All of the figures moving around were half orcs and they were armed with short swords and bows. They had a few large dogs patrolling as well. One of the wagons had very familiar looking crates in it and they were stamped with the Smithfield Trading Company logo. I watched them transfer the 6 marked crates from the wagon to a warehouse which they locked. After they left I flew back up to my friends and told them all that I had observed.

We decided we needed more information about where the crates had originated. We went back down to the docks and searched for the dock master’s office to see if he had a manifest for the crate shipment. Unfortunately, the office was closed for the night. Although I’m sure the Compact doesn’t approve of breaking laws, in this case we felt it necessary to break into the office for the manifest. We had to find the origin of these crates. One ship, the IronKraken had a manifest that included 6 crates for Croat Imports. It came from Waterdeep. Well, that’s a pretty big port, but at least we had a location to send back to Gorum with the rest of the information. To cover our tracks and keep the Compact out of the picture, we broke into the office lockbox to make them think it was just a robbery and made sure that there was no indication that the manifests had been disturbed. We donated the money from the lockbox at the temple.

Your loving daughter, Amber

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Mwangi Expanse and other oddities

Dear Mother,

We decided to head to the Academy museum to do research on our assignment. The exhibit on the Mwangi Expanse was still on display. We learned that the Mwangi Expanse was ruled by a demon lord named Angazhan that looked like a demonic beastial gorilla. It used Tik Tuans which were idols carved from the heartwood of trees filled with tormented monkey spirits. The Jambala tribe of the Mwangi fought against Angazhan and would hunt the Tik Tuans with special knives to destroy them.

But as we entered the museum we were caught off guard by the sight of a dead museum worker and a thick layer of fog through out the museum hallways. Morgan and Anya were affected by some sort of magic that made them act like monkeys. We later remembered a myth about mists that can inhabit people, but at the time we were quite confused. In the Mwangi exhibit the display was over run with monkeys! There was even a dire ape. Orianna and I find one of the Jambala knives on a display further down and grab it before heading into the room. Orianna’s prayers to Selune aided us as we tracked down the Tik Tuans and destroyed them. Unfortunately, the ape and the monkeys were all killed.

Once we were back in our rooms, we noticed that a lot of people were streaming past towards the main building. We decided to go see what was going on. There was an impromptu briefing being held. All the senior staff were present. They’re worried about the brilliant light we had seen the other night. It was an object that had fallen from the sky. The initial report said a crater had formed from the crash and dust and air blast damage had occurred but in a relatively uninhabited area. The senior staff was needed to investigate to determine if this was a controlled event, if so it would be very dangerous. Some students were going to replace staff on missions while others remained at the Academy.

We all met with Gorum to find out where we would be headed. We’re going back to Riddleport. Gorum has several tasks for us there. First, Tillian was investigating murders there where the victims had been found with their tongue and lower jaw missing. The true nature of the killings is still unclear. Some of the victims had thieve’s guild tatoos so we’re going to check the gambling tournament called “cheat the devil” and see if there is true demonic influence or simply illusion involved. Second, we were asked to track down the vials Orianna had seen when we were there before. Third, we’re going to look into the report of the “Riddleport Smudge” above the cypher gate.

We went to meet with Anya at the inn she was staying at to tell her about our mission. The atmosphere was very somber as we entered. Poor Kirik’s body lay on a table. He had a large chest wound and his jaw and tongue were missing. He had been killed in Logos and his body found down near the docks. Was it possible these mutilations were to prevent the clerics from speaking to the dead to find out the identity of the murderer?

Sahir and Morgan went to the Vault of the Fallen to investigate the death of the former holder of Morgan’s AC number. His name was Mondor Frakes. He was originally from Tethir and died near Waterdeep. His body was mutilated the same as the others. Mondor and Tillian had crossed paths back in Calimport at a wizard tower raid. She was found hiding in the tower. She turned over information on the thieve’s guild to help destroy them so her family would be safe and then joined the Argent Compact. After learning about Tillian, Sahir and Morgan convince Burgle to go along with Tillian’s star and keep her under observation.

Orianna was asked to go to Selune’s temple. All the clerics and priests were there. Selune feels something pulling or pushing at her, trying to dislodge her from her domain in the heavens. She is asking all of her clerics and priests to seek the cause, especially any headed north.

More soon, Love Amber

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Argent Briefing

Dear Mother,

The next day instead of class we attended an Argent Compact briefing. It was given by Master Gorum. He told us there seemed to be an unnatural number of killings within the thieve’s guild. Many of them where the bodies had the jaw and tongue removed. Morgan than told them she had seen a similar attack on the streets of Riddleport. And that body had a tattoo of the Zandathar guild. There had also been a number of villages across Faerun destroyed and the bodies showed signs that the villager’s had all gone mad. Oriana then remembered the vials she had taken from the street people in Riddleport and gave them to Master Gorum. The archdruid stood and told of a number of druid shrines descrated in the northeast and more animal constructs found. He told them of the suspected connection between the infernals and Thay. Master Gorum said that according to recent intelligence within Thay that there had appeared to have been an alliance made between The House of Thrune and The Church of Azmodeus. There had also been a purge of strong families that appear to have been done to increase the power of the House of Thrune. Drow have appeared to have vanished from surface raids except near Cormanthor, they’re not sure if that is good news or bad.

We the attended a class on history. We all had assignments, our group had to report about the Mwangi Expanse. A southern realm civilization now gone. We thought we remembered an exhibit on them at the museum when we had gone to the office of return and recovery so we headed there to see if it was still up.

On the way a giant streak of light passed over the island.

Hopefully that is not a portent of doom.

Love, Amber

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To dance or hide?

Dear Mother,

After some rest, we attended our next class. Our instructor was an old woman named Madam Gotrix. She led us to a mirrored ballroom and my heart sank when I saw that it was filled with people. She said this was going to help us learn etiquette and dancing. Oh how intimidating it was to me but for dear Morgan she was in her element. It was probably the longest few hours in my life. Poor Adolamin was intimidated as well and accidentally insulted a young woman when she asked him to dance and he made no reply at all. Her brother came over and wanted to fight because of the slight he had made toward her. They came out on to the balcony where a gentleman named Felix was trying to help me learn about fancy dining practices in the court. We managed to avoid a fight but by then I was weary and asked the others if we could find Madam Gotrix and seek permission to leave. She had us meet in a small room and told us how she thought we had done. She was very angry at Adolamin and wanted him to understand that fighting was not the only thing that the Argent Compact was about and that we had to learn how to behave if we were ever sent to a lord’s court.

As we were leaving Adolamin confessed that he was having some sort of physical problem. When he showed us, it was truly amazing. He had 2 strange holes developing in his chest and the tissue around them seemed to be pulsing. A clear liquid was draining from them. He said he’d gone to a “street healer” who could do nothing. We knew that Master Gorum needed to be told especially when Adolamin said it had started around the time we had gone to Riddleport. Master Gorum seemed to be as baffled as we were. He recommended we take him to the wizard towers and seek Professor Distall. He inspected the holes and thought it might be some sort of natural development. Since Adolamin is descended from an abberant, no one really knows what might happen as he matures.

A very long day of learning and an adventure of a different kind.

Love, Amber

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Meeting the magnificent Archdruid

Dear Mother,

After a few days of rest we attended another class. This time the instructor was a druid! His name was Archdruid Velune and his companion was a mighty bear named Growth. He took us on a journey through a druid circle to a much different place, there was snow on the ground! We met a druid friend of his named Morellia and her companion was a ram named Varathus who was naturally very boisterous about his many accomplishments. She had contacted Velune earlier about some disturbing things she had found. She had found what she thought might be a druid lore stone in an old abandoned village. She had also found several butchered animals. They were very disturbing, Mother, they had strange bits of metal along their bones. Almost as if someone were trying to merge the metal in the bone. We cast detect magic and found an aura that was planar shift in nature. While were out looking at more of these animals the druidic companions came rushing to us saying that the druids needed us. When we got back to Morellia’s camp we discovered that they had been poisoned and the lore stone stolen. It was some sort of poison the archdruid was unfamiliar with. He cast delay poison on himself and Morellia while we tracked down the people who had done this horrible deed. As we followed the tracks we came upon 2 men. They were acting very strangely and had something moving under their skin. We tried talking to them but when they kept giving answers we knew to be false, our cleric Oriana charged them and attacked. During the battle it was discovered that they weren’t human after all but devils. One was a bearded devil and the other an imp. After a tough battle we managed to kill them. The bearded devil’s skin had some sort of room hidden within. We searched the room in case it held the lore stone. It held 2 scrolls written in infernal but had symbols on them that we knew the Argent Compact must be made aware of so I placed them in my bag. We continued to follow the trail and came upon an island with a druid circle in it. There were 3 cultists inside it chanting at an altar that was fouling the center of the circle. We saw that the altar had the same symbol as one of the scrolls and that the lore stone seemed to be on top of it. We tried to sneak up to some rope bridges to cut off their escape by cutting down 2 of the 3. But poor Adolamin made all sorts of noise that caught the attention of the cultists. Morgan tried to run past them to grab the stone but tripped on the bridge. So I told Whisper to fetch the stone while we engaged the cultists. One of the cultists managed to summon a beast that was a poor corrupted unicorn that could only now be called a “hellicorn”. Morgan managed to recover herself and reach the altar before Whisper so I told Whisper to defend her as she returned to shore. We battled the humans and the beast. I prayed to Mielikki to aid me in killing the foul beast so that it might be returned to her light. We killed them all and destroyed the vile altar. As we headed back to the poisoned druids, Morgan handed me the lore stone. Oh Mother, I can only describe the next few moments as magical as I was overwhelmed with all the druidic information held within the stone. It told me exactly what herbs to find and how to prepare them to cure the druids of the poison. When they had recovered we showed them the scrolls and told them what had happened. They recognized the symbols and said the cultists must have been agents from Thay. The other symbol was from the Infernal House of Cheliax. There had been rumors of a shift of politics and power within Thay and that they had been trying to work with infernal magic. Now they had some proof. They said it was infernal magic that was corrupting the animals and that they were behind the assault on the druids. We left the lore stone with Morellia and headed back to the academy.

Love, Amber

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Our first mission

Dear Mother,

In our first class, Archmage McKralis taught us the use of magical items. I’m disappointed to tell you it took me several tried to make my wand of summoning work.

In our second class, Professor Ignacious taught us about the various planes. I didn’t know there were more than the elements I’m familiar with, earth, air, fire, and water. We learned about mixed elemental planes, the energy planes, the Abyssal plane and the Infernal plane.

After that class we were summoned to the office of the head of the Argent Compact himself, Gorum Stonehewer. He told us of reports of roaming figures in a mysterious mist and strange sounds on the cliffs above a town named Riddleport. He wanted us to go investigate these disturbances. As the ship entered the port we passed under a Cypher Gate. No one seems to be able to read the runes on it. When we arrived in town we went to an Argent Compact tower maintained by stewards. They knew very little beyond the reports Gorum told us except that they’d seen lights up on the cliffs and that a few townsfolk had died in the mist.

Across from the Argent tower was an enormous globe of water, a Temple to the goddess Umberlee. A very intimidating structure.

That night we saw the mist enter town and heard sounds within. It was a small group of undead sailors. We decided to follow them. They walked up the streets to the Mayor’s house. Luckily the Mayor and his family were sleeping upstairs away from the undead in their home. One of them entered the Mayor’s office. He appeared to be looking through the papers on the desk so I quietly snuck in and looked over his shoulder. He didn’t seem to notice me, or he didn’t care I was there. He wore a symbol of the Mayor’s office around his neck. He began writing a message that talked about the Black Eschalon. We quietly woke the Mayor and brought him downstairs where he could peek into the office. I told him of the paper the undead had written. He said the Black Eschalon were an invasion fleet that tried to take over Riddleport in the name of Cormyr 2000 years ago but the fleet had been sunk. We decided to evacuate the Mayor and his family out the back of the house to keep them safe. The undead and the mist then retreated back down to the harbor and disappeared. The steward at the tower recalls a man named Yaros claiming it was all his fault one night while he was drunk in his cups at the local inn. We tried to find him and rescued him from several thugs. I was very pleased that my entangle spell worked wonderfully in our attempts to help him. We sobered him up back at the tower and he told us that one day about 2 months ago he had recovered a chest on the beach. Inside it was an old waterlogged book. It appeared to be a code book from the Cormyr Navy fleet held by spies from 2000 years ago. It held light signals to use to direct the navy force through the harbor into town. An underworld boss named Nessian had taken the book from Yaros and that’s about the time the mist had started appearing.

We needed to find Nessian but he seemed to have disappeared. We were told that a “fence” in town might be able to tell us where he might be. He had an enormous estate near the edge of town. While Whisper and I hid in some trees over looking the estate grounds, the other 3 went to the front gate and asked to see the Lord of the manor. He was referred to as Lord Torch, and after Sahir described him to me, it was an understandable name, he had been badly burned in a fire in his past. Sahir believes he may have once been a guest of his father’s house when his sister was taken. Lord Torch told them that he had 5 chests in another room that his men had been unable to open. If they could open 3 of them, he’d tell them what they wanted to know. They later described these chests to me. They were truly amazing and I wanted to describe them to you. The first was an iron chest with the face of a devil on it. The second was a box with three golden faces on it. The faces had different expressions of anger on them. The third box was made of ivory and had ivy carved all over it. The fourth box was a smooth stone chest with no locks visible but did have a magical aura. The fifth box had strange stylized writing on it and had 10 small holes. My friends managed to safely open 3 of them so Lord Torch honored his bargain and told them that Nessian was probably hiding in a place called “The Pyramid of the Dog”. We thought that since the mists had come from the harbor and we’d seen no structure that looked like a pyramid in town, that it was likely down near the harbor. As we headed in that direction we heard organ music coming from the Cathedral of Lathander. The mist appeared, in mid-day this time instead of night time. The organ sound seemed to distort as it neared the mist, I cast detect magic on the mist and could tell it had a necrotic aura. Along the way to the harbor, Oriana saw some street people drop some vials and slump to the ground. She thought they looked like the vials we had seen in the goblin camp so she picked them up and put them in her bag for Gorum to see later. The mist made it very difficult to see anything near the harbor so we went back toward the Cathedral to investigate the strange organ music. We discovered that members of the undead Black Eschalon were inside fighting the acolytes so we went to their rescue. As one managed to run for the door, he told us not to let the music stop. It made the fight a little more difficult but we managed to do it. After we had killed the undead, we ran outside. The mist was retreating and we saw a dwarf in the street killing the last undead that had run from us. Her name was Anya and we asked her to come with us. She was a very powerful fighter. We followed the undead’s tracks to the harbor into a swampy area where several old hulls of wrecked ships could be seen. We saw that the tracks went deeper into the swamp and we could just make out a structure that we presumed was the “pyramid of the dog”. We thought it best to have me work to the side of the group up onto one of the broken down hulls to cover them from above. To my surprise there was a tattooed “dog face” soldier up there. There actually turned out to be 2 of them up on deck and one on the deck of the hull across from me. They were scouts. One managed to raise an alarm before we could engage them. I managed to cast a fire ball into their midst that truly caused some concern on their part. We killed 2 of the 3 but the other ran off. We approached the structure and saw 4 undead soldiers at the base waiting for us. And a man we presumed was Nessian on top. Nessian dropped some sort of cask onto the ground behind his soldiers and it was lit with a fuse. In an effort to save my friends I cast “soften earth and stone” to try and sink the cask before it went off. It made an awful lot of mud and I didn’t even think what it might do to the building’s foundation. The structure was already barely standing on it’s own and when it started sliding into the mud, the whole thing came crashing down. Luckily my friends were able to get out from under it in time before it hit the ground. The undead weren’t so lucky. We found Nessian and when he attacked us we killed him. We searched his body and found the code book and a very nice breastplate that we gave to our new dwarf friend Anya. We took the book up to the Argent tower. They contacted the Academy to arrange our return. Oriana decided to burn the final page of the code book to prevent another undead fleet invasion. When we got back to the Academy, we brought the book to the “office of recovery and return” within the Argent Museum.

My first experience with the undead will stay with me a long time.

Love, Amber

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My journey to the Academy

Dear Mother,

This has been quite a learning experience. Here’s an idea of what has been happening since I left.

First, as you know, a man named Devlin Hargath led the caravan that picked me up. There were several people traveling in my wagon. I’ve gotten to know most of them and trust those people with my lives. Let’s see in the wagon there was Burgle Diamondeye, a sweet well-intentioned gnome. A vile tiefling named Valamanar, who I’m sure will cause further trouble wherever he goes. A nice cleric of Selune named Oriana, an interesting human with a lot of names, but we call him by his first name, Sahir. A very strange little halfling named Adolamin. I thought at first he needed healing because he had a green coloring about him, but I guess that’s just normal for him. And then the last one was a little half-elf girl named Morgan.

As we traveled in the caravan we got to know each other a little bit. The caravan made many stops to either drop candidates off that didn’t pass through the Argent’s tests, or other new candidates like us who were traveling to take the tests. One evening as I was wondering the edges of the camp, I saw some tracks and followed them. In some dark ruins I saw a camp of Goblins! I went back and told my wagon what I saw. We decided to investigate it. We were young and rash and didn’t tell our caravan leader where we were going. We managed to kill 4 of the 6 goblins, but 2 ran off. I must say Mother, young Whisper truly is coming into his own as a fighter. In the goblin came we found a small box with vials in it stamped “Smithfield Trading Company”. Have you ever heard of this company? We brought it back to the caravan and told Devlin what we had found. He told us it was exceptionally dangerous and we were not to say anything more about it. I think he was mad that we had done such a careless thing as go off and fight without telling him.

As we continued on our journey, Burgle attempted to teach Oriana to dance. I don’t think he was very successful. We could all see he was very smitten with her. I’m not sure if he was trying to help Oriana but Sahir sort of goaded a fight between Burgle and Valamanar over Oriana by telling Burgle that Valamanar had made advances toward Oriana. Later we found poor Burgle beaten in some rocks. We were sure that Valamanar had a couple of his ruffians do it, but we had no proof. I tried to have Whisper track the scents in the area but it was too confusing since we’d all been through there.

As we approached the Desert of Anauroch, a sandstorm was building up. This frightened me quite a bit Mother. I’d never seen so much sand or so little dirt, plants, and trees before in my life. As the storm raged we were led to some ancient ruins by some dwarves of Selune. They were very mysterious and I don’t really know how they found us. While the caravan seemed to sleep, they led my small trusted wagon group through a portal to an Arab town. Oh my, Mother, it was so big! There was an amazing marketplace with so many merchants. I’ve never seen the like before. In one booth, we saw what I think was an efreet. He was selling bottles with souls in them. It was very saddening to see such things. Sahir was sure that he had seen his sister in one of them. We traveled to a Temple of Selune. There they told us that they had our names in history records and we saw a marvelous stone on an altar. We had traveled back through time when we stepped through that portal. We went back and watched the efreet. Sahir was determined to find a way to free his sister. When the efreet closed his shop we saw that he used magical locks and a large brass key. We thought that the key must have something to do with freeing Sahir’s sister so we followed him to a tavern. Adolamin tried to drug his drink, but that didn’t work. While the others debated what to do, I followed him out of the tavern. I had Whisper track his sent through the streets and it led to a brothel. I figured he’d be busy so we managed to track him to his rooms and while he was occupied, I stole his clothes. I figured the key must be in them somewhere and rather than look through them there, and risk being seen, I just grabbed all of them and went back to my group. I know Mielikki will forgive my stealing as it was for the greater good in stopping this efreet’s use of souls. Within his clothing we found 11 vials, 9 of which were empty, the large brass key – which I put in my bag, a tarot deck, some money, and a very strange cube of amber with an eye in it. It was very disturbing so we put it one of the shoes to cover it up. We headed back through the portal to check on the caravan. They seemed to be under some sort of sleep spell. I thought perhaps the vials we’d found earlier might be the cause, so I sniffed one to see if I could decipher the plant material used to make it. Oh Mother, I think that was a horrible mistake because I dropped it and ran off into the desert. Apparently when I dropped it the others smelled it as well. We did such crazy things while under it’s influence. Poor Whisper killed one of the donkeys used to pull the wagon. Luckily the effects wore off quickly. We told Devlin that a wild animal must have attacked the donkey. I fear what he might have done to Whisper had he known the truth. Sahir and Oriana decided to stay behind when the caravan made ready to leave the ruins. I think they wanted to try and dig down to where the Temple must have been under the sands since it had been the past while we were there. I think they were trying to retrieve the stone. They told us later when they caught up with the caravan at an oasis (riding strange giant scorpions) that clerics of Selune caught them trying to dig and were very angry at damage they had done to the roof of the Temple as they dug down.

The caravan continued without any more distractions to the port town of Ramsport where we would take ship to an island. Since the ship hadn’t docked yet we visited an inn. I saw an old woman with cards in the corner and approached her to show her the tarot deck we had found. She said to have Devlin take them the vault of Library on Logos. We noticed several people in the crowd had the star badges of the Argent Compact. Oh Mother, neither Whisper nor myself appreciated the boat ride very much. I thought we’d be traveling to Logos where the academy was located but the dropped us off on a strange little island instead. We found out later that we had to pass several tests by working together through dangerous areas. It was very hard and very dangerous work but we managed to find a building in the middle of the swamp that was safe. It was supplied by the Argent Compact. We rested and restocked our supplies and stepped through a door with runes on them. It ported us to a large room. We ended up fighting for our lives against many foes, including wyrmlings, zombies, hellhounds and many more. But when we had finished a man appeared and gave us all our own Argent Compact badges! He then ported us to the academy on Logos. After we were questioned by some instructors, another test, we entered a classroom and discovered that only 50 candidates were left. A dangerous batch of tests indeed.

I’d continue Mother but I’ve been up rather late writing this letter so I must be off to bed so that I’m not too tired to attend the first class.

My love to you and Father and I promise to continue to keep in touch about my time here at the academy.

Amber

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