Dominance

Excerpt from Crowley Shadowmane's Journal #5

Mighty Kelemvor! You have revealed to me my true strength. The trepidations that have so plagued me in my quest are beginning to fall away as tattered memories. I now know I am meant for so much more than merely finding my Master. My dark destiny is to be forged in the blood of my enemies and through this bloodshed I shall give birth to my  Circle of Shadows. While my Master's disappearance still vexes me so…this will be the test that propels me towards my ascendance. The dwarf is showing signs of rebellion…no matter…John will show servitude or I shall be forced to show him the way.

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Excerpt from Crowley Shadowmane's journal #4

The fools…they made it so easy for me…. The troll was a surprise , but a welcome one all the same. Bruh's death was not quite as gruesome as what I had in mind, but it will have to do.  I will cherish the moment when John's  blade pierced the innocent flesh of Pibb for many nights to come. For all of his strange quirks, he has proven to be a most studious and loyal disciple. John shall do my bidding without question now…of that I have no doubt. Enough of this dwarf foolishness…now the real work begins! The path to my Master stands before me…it is split by a fork…which way to choose…hmmm maybe I should flip a coin? Then again maybe I should have some fun with the locals in Sundabar while digging for information…surely that could have some interesting results. After all, what would would Jim say if I didn't  spread a little havoc in our name?

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A Stone Wheel...
In a Dark Room

You managed to fall asleep despite your racing mind and Pibb's incessant pouting. It crossed your mind to slip on your nightcap to ward off intrusions to your dream world. You close your eyes, and almost immediately your consciousness drifts away into blackness, followed by a long period of restful slumber.

Your sleep goes mostly uninterrupted by dreams, but when you wake up you have an image stuck in your mind; as though it were placed there during your rest by some specter from another world.

The image is clear; a dark, dank room with no doors, no windows. In the center of the room stands a large stone wheel, with the numerals I – V etched into the face, a faint green glow emanating from the symbols. Leaning against the wheel is a crude stone hammer.

A moment later you blink, and the image flutters away into a sleepy fog. The scent of cooked meat fills your nostrils. You look around and your dwarven companions are shuffling about the room; gathering belongings and stuffing their faces. John walks over to you, and in his shrillest voice greets you, "G'Mornin', friend! Eat up, we're heading out soon!"

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As the dwarfs snooze...
The Wizards peruse.

Bruh had long since nodded off. Pibb, sobbing softly in an adjacent room, was either asleep and dreaming of Pibby; or wallowing in the memory of the poor snake. John was the last to drift off to sleep, a satisfied grin on his bearded face after finding common ground with his new wizard friend.

The keep, silent aside from the stirring of your dwarven companions, seems to welcome the presence of the living. The once cold stone walls and floors are warm now from the fires. For the first time in days, you experience what can only be described as comfort. It strikes you as a bit bizarre that such a fine abode would be left for the dead, but no stranger than many of the other things you've come across in your journeys.

The book you grabbed from the living quarters remains hard to wrap your head around. Though some of the annotations are strikingly similar to those found on Amelia's Note, you don't make much progress in translating it. Other books in the keep, however, have proven to be of much more immediate use to you. One book you pulled from the shelf appears to be a journal from the previous resident.

The keep, it turns out, was inhabited by a cleric by the name of Seewurd Kunz. Some of her writings inspire you with magical wisdom, leading to a period of experimentation that gives birth to a new spell in your spellbook. The last entry in the journal gives you pause, however. Seewurd had been diligent in her writing; every day, without fail. Until one day. A day you know all too well.

The day Jim Darkmagic disappeared.

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Excerpt from Crowley Shadowmane's journal #3
Three strangers...

Drakaar is gone…I think I knew all along this was the case. I am thankful the revelation came so quickly. I am more convinced now than ever that I am on my way to realizing my dark destiny…by the grace of Kelemvor I have been granted a great opportunity in the form of three strange dwarves. This will be an interesting distraction on the path to my reunion with Master Darkmagic. It was all too easy to lure them into my web. Thinking themselves gracious heroes they were all too willing to welcome me into their fold. Bruh the brash and boisterous one is only concerned with his pride and greed. This will be his downfall. John the shrill voiced lout is so involved in his own self pity that my feigned sympathy will be all that is required to push him over the edge of sanity. Pib the simple one…if I could feel pity I would save it for this one. I shall make sure his end is painless at the very least. I will continue this charade for as long as it benefits my cause, but I grow giddy at the thought of their screams. There are few things in this world that are as beautiful as the glimmer of blood in the moonlight. Especially when that essence is pouring from the veins of those who have complete and unadulterated devotion to you. Oh yes…their blood will spill…and when it does they will thank me for the chance to be a part of my becoming….

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Excerpt from Crowley Shadowmane's journal #2
Homecoming...

My first night's rest on my journey was intriguing to say the least….what does it mean? The expertly scribed rune that could have been  created by no other hand than my own. A symbol that seemed so familiar to me at the time, but now it escapes my conscious mind like a moth in the flame. Within reach…flittering…and then fizzling to ashes. I continued on my journey only to come upon a meadow and the feeling that I was closer to my master than I had been since his disappearance. The form that approached proved otherwise. The strange figure identified himself as a Bologna Sandwicks spewing forth claim after claim that he was aware of my master and that he had been expecting me. As much as I would relish in the reality that I am so close to my master, I cannot fathom that he would have anything to do with this golden haired oddity. No sooner had I made up my mind than he disappeared and was replaced by several onyx clad knights…something came over me as they approached. Fear is not the word as I know that is in the past for me now…no it was more a feeling of nausea…the sickening feeling after an ill-cooked meal, but magnified ten fold. They were at once hostile and I was on the ready to defend. It was almost immediately apparent that they would best me which made no sense. As impressive as their visage was I find it hard to believe they were that powerful. Before I could see if my summation was correct the lot of them were skewered by tentacles from the darkness…belonging to a wonder of nature. The beauty of the creature I beheld can not be expressed. It was as if my own blighted heart had painted a mural come to life. It gifted me with its dark kiss and everything faded to black….

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Excerpt from Crowley Shadowmane's journal

Excerpt from Crowley Shadowmanes journal-

My master has vanished….why now when he has finally achieved my ascendancy? We were on the prescipice of bending this world to our will. No matter….my will be done. I will stand beside my master and all shall bow to our magnificence. I fear for whatever is behind this atrocity as I know in my black heart they have not an inkling of the terror that is to come. Have faith master, I will find you…

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Trail.
Cave?

Oh hey, look! That's a nice cave! I think I'll take a quick rest.

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Bandits....?
And the mess they leave.

As you walk down the heavily traveled road from Sundabar to Drakkar you catch sight of plumes of smoke rising into the chilly evening air, and the faint glow of fiery embers illuminating a spot about 100 feet ahead of you.

As you approach, the cracking and popping of wood from a carriage set aflame drowns out the ever-present chirping of crickets. Surrounding the carriage is about 20 feet of scorched earth. Ash and miscellaneous sheets of paper waft through the air. The acrid, unmistakable smell of burnt flesh hits you, and your eyes are immediately drawn to a second smaller fire a few feet away from the carriage.

You move closer to the small fire and notice contorted limbs twisted about on each other, lifeless and charred beyond any further recognition. From what remains you can tell there were two, maybe three bodies originally; wearing hardened leather armor that is common among bandits in the north.

Searching the area, you find little of interest; some food stuffs, a rusty short sword, a few errant pieces of silver, and a small vile of a viscous green liquid. Gathering what you care to loot, you continue your journey on north. At the edge of the circle of scorched earth your foot brushes against a blood-spotted letter.

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Whisperings...
A kingdom up North...

Hartsvale, a small kingdom in the North has been laid to waste.

Rumor has it Warlord Bisballabro or possibly the Zhentarim is responsible.

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