Ieros

A Belstonec Affair pt 3
A story from Skopelos' history

" Ssso you’re a sssatyr? " The soft voice asked in a hiss, so sudden, that my heart nearly leapt from my chest. I looked up but my eyes, even though I had been in the cell for what must have been hours were still unable to pierce the Stygian darkness. But at last a voice spoke to me, in a language I could understand so I jumped at the chance to have a conversation " the last I checked I still had the legs of a goat, so yes, I think I’m a satyr." I say there waiting for another response, and I began to fear that my chance at conversation was lost when the soft voice replied " I thought you would be smaller consssidering the sstoriesss I have been told of your kind. " i smiled at this and stood up " I can assure you I am a unique satyr, unlike any other" and I took a step towards the door hoping to gain an idea of exactly whom I might be speaking, when the voice quickly shot back " Ssstay where you are, move no closser ." At this I pulled my hoof back and leaned against the wall behind me. " it would seem you have me at a disadvantage, you can see me, but I haven’t a clue if I’m looking towards you or a wall". The next thing I heard was a soft chant and then the cell erupted into bright light. I saw the source of the light fall into the room, a common stone that shined as brightly as any torch with the power of magic. As my eyes began adjusting to the light, I heard the voice speaking in a haughty tone " I forgot that many of the lesser biengs are unable to see in the dark. Now then, you were telling me no satyr isss like yoursself. And I hope you don’t mean that no satyr is as pathetic as you, the guards are still laughing at how easy it was to capture you ." I was finally able to look up at the one who was currently ridiculing me. On the other side of the bars stood a tall woman, draped in dark green robes that covered the entirety of her body, a shawl wrapped around her head, exposing only her piercing serpentine eyes and the skin around them. These were not the dull apathetic eyes of the yuan-ti I had previously encountered, these eyes shone with bright life and vigor. What eyes they were! I doubt I had ever seen a more vivid crimson in my life, and I almost thought getting captured was worth it just to see these eyes. I was mesmerized and that must have unsettled her, for she drew back from the bars and in soft lulling voice issued me a command " Avert your eyes from me, satyr, and admit that you are in the presence of your better ". I could feel her words tugging at my mind to obey, but the freedom of the wild that runs through my veins resisted. Seeing that she had tried to charm me, I thought I might return the favor. “My name is Skopelos, not satyr. I have shared my name, you should share yours so we might have a proper conversation”, I put as strong a emphasis as I could into my request, relying on the cadence of my voice to charm her. But instead of charming her into divulging her name, her form seemed to go rigid under the layers of clothing " You DARE to try to charm me? Do you actually think your pathetic words could influence my actions ?", she hissed lowly, but then something peculiar happened. While I could tell that her form remained tense, her posture seemed to soften as she looked at me with those gorgeous eyes. A minute passed before another word was spoken " Of all things to attempt to charm me over, why did you ask for my name, why not ask me to open your cell or escort you out of the city ?". Her voice was softer then before, apparently puzzled. I shrugged as I gave her my reply " If I had asked either of those things, I doubt I would have made it out regardless, there’s just too many obstacles stacked against me, and I have no knowledge of this city at all. So if I am to die soon then I’d at least like to know the name of the last person I’ve had a conversation with, and maybe taste the sweet nectar of the gods one last time?". At this comment she looked even more puzzled " What nectar of the godsss? I know you lesser beings worship other deities, but I’m unfamiliar with what you’re ssspeaking of ". I grinned " Why wine of course! The greatest gift that Dionysus provides!" At this comment, she looked visibly shaken, and for a moment I thought I heard soft chuckle. Her stance had visibly relaxed and her next words brought a strange relief to my heart, " You are a strange little satyr, more concerned with you’re alcohol then your life. But don’t worry, you’re not going to be killed, not yet anyways. Satyrs are a rare catch. Ssso instead of bieng sold in the markets like the rest of the ssslaves resscently acquired, you will be auctioned off with other rare and valuable slaves, to the nobles ". Then she turned to the left and began walking away. I moved to the bars of the cell and watched her as she gracefully walked away, the light of the stone beginning to fade. As the darkness re enveloped the cell I saw her look back and in a soft voice say " my name iss sssindra ". Then I was left in the darkness once again.

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A day in crosus
2nd entry, new journal of Skopelos

( written in Olympian upon a wax treated scroll) Im writing from the inn called the blood pearl. Lief our resident Ryll has assured me we will not be harassed here, but I am weary after today’s events. In a few hours we will be heading off for the accurately named hand. There we will begin a ceremony that will hopefully bring us a step closer to our goal. I intend to be the one who undertakes this task, perhaps my current form will make WAVES for the crosus community. I don’t care what the others say, my puns are hilarious. I should recap what has happened since my last post; After two whole weeks without wine we finally arrived at Crosus, I was beginning to go stir crazy and I feel only my daily training sessions with Lief were holding me together, his rope work is coming along nicely and I think he’s ready to move up to actual chain. Upon arrival to the city I found I was not welcome under its beautiful dome. I was deeply dissapointed that this people renowned for their deep discussions on life and magic would be so closed minded about race, and curses for that matter. I was not even allowed into the pool of reflection, but more importantly the bar! And I heard from my companions it was a truly gifted performer who was to take the stage. I wasn’t even able to listen from the alley because I was attacked by an assassin of the order of the emerald eyes. He had a power like I had never seen, an ability that let him charm the minds of others much like my spells, but once he had preformed it, it was apparently permanent until his demise. He turned dear Rattigan against me, and once again I felt myself a hairs breath away from an untimely despise. Truly a tragedy should I fall before my grand duties to the beautiful Dionysus be completed. After the attempted assassination we made our way to the pools of reflection and I saw a most peculiar sight. It was the anointed prince of Bellstonec, flanked by lady Yiss and a yuanti I had not recognized, but clearly a noble of sorts. In fact I saw him attacking Sylvia in an alley way. He held no regard for bystanders as he turned one to stone. I still owed Sylvia for saving my life while at sea so I distracted him with a spell, I could only buy her a moment of time but I hope it was enough. Now I must wonder why a yuanti noble would risk such a public display of force, it is unlike them to do their own dirty work inside city walls other then Belstonec. Truly Sylvia must have been a dire threat to them, for her to warrant such aggression. I have more questions then answers, but I do not worry, surely if I am meant to know Dionysus will reveal a great epiphany of understanding. I left before the yuanti could turn his ire upon me as well and saw my friends exiting the pool. They greeted me with the most wonderful news, they may have found someone to change me back to my beautiful satyr form! Not only that but afterwards I was able to repair my scrolls, and most amazingly the memento from my darling. Why it still has her scent upon it. Soon we will meet with the man in question, and I can only thank Dionysus for his many blessings. May the party never end~ Skopelos, favored follower of Dionysus

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A Belstonec Affair pt2
A story of Skopelos' history

It was around noon of the fourth day that the destination of our captors came into sight. Belstonec, the city of scales, as I would later come to know it. Its’ red walls rising up in defiance of the green landscape that surrounded it, as we approached I couldn’t help but look to the grand arch that was the main gate and feel as though I was passing into the mouth of a large bloodstained beast. The sheer thickness of the outer wall was impressive, and just passing through them I could hardly believe that this was the city that had been wiped out in a single day. For by now it had become apparent who it was that had captured me. The tale of how the yuanti had come back en masse had spread through the land like a wildfire. The reigning theory was that powerful dark magics brought on by the yuanti’s god was what brought them back 20 years ago on the advent of Belstonec’s great defeat. However as I looked around I didn’t see any great magic at work, just city folk going about there buisness. But the longer I looked around the more subtle and not so subtle differences I noticed. The first was the snakes, everywhere I looked there were snakes. In the street, down the alley ways, up under the arches of the gates, on the verandas and even on many of the people. I would later find out that the snakes act like the eyes and ears of the city, always watching and all but impossible to hide from their sight. The next were the slaves, at first hard to notice but after awhile you began to notice the collars with unknown symbols on them, later if find out the symbols showed who they belonged to. Then there was the yuanti themselves, looking at us as we passed as a butcher inspects meat. Some had snake heads, others had snake for arms, I even saw one that had no legs but the lower body of a snake. There were other people as well, shopping in the markets, talking amongst themselves, but always making way for the yuanti. Turned out most of them were yuanti as well, just pure bloods with human features. We were paraded through the city, spoils for all the yuanti to see. They seemed to take great interest in me, as the leader gestured to me and spoke with a few low hisses, including one that sounded like the word satyr. After awhile we were taken through more gates to the center of town and then through a tunnel leading underground. Finally after four days as a captive my bonds were removed. I had been separated from the rest of the group and put into a solitary cell deeper in the dungeon, no window just a door with bars. As the guards left they took the torch with them, and I was enveloped in an inky blackness, unable to see my hand in front of me. I waited there in the dark for who knows how long exactly. All I heard was the distant hissing of snakes, thinking that when they came for me next they would kill me. So I prayed, I prayed to Dionysus to deliver me from this cage I was locked in. That I may enjoy the great freedom he provided once more. That’s when I heard it, the soft hissing voice of the one destined to save me." so you’re a satyr?"

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A Belstonec affair pt1
A story of skopelos' history

It has been almost ten years since the events I am about to write, and yet I still remember them as though they occurred yesterday. I don’t know what prompts this sudden urge to document the past, perhaps it’s these strange dreams I’ve been having, kicking up the dust of my past. Perhaps it’s the muses deciding that it’s time I scratch this tale into parchment. Through out the entirety of my life I have served Dionysus as a devoured follower, traveling the lands spreading his Dionysian mysteries where ever I may go. And thought my journeys my faith in his teachings has never faltered, except for but once, ten years ago, in the city of Belstonec….. _________________________ It was ten years ago, I was a young satyr of 16, and the Fire of exploration raced through my veins. I had set out on my own two years prior to spread the epiphanies of Dionysus amongst the lands. I had just met up with a group of maenads during the night and together we went about embracing the rituals of Dionysus, drinking our fill of wine and debauchery. The dawn found me exhausted from the nights work and thus I laid against a cypress tree to rest. But when I awoke, the maenads were gone, replaced with three humans bound and gagged; the cypress tree replaced with the side of a large wagon, rolling along a dirt road; and the rays of the dawn replaced with the heat of noon. I was similarly tied and gagged, and found myself the prisoner to a band of strangely garbed soldiers. At the front of the cart we were on sat a man with narrow eyes, an olive complexion, and red robes. Draped around his neck was a most hideous viper, which he softly caressed as though it was a sensitive part of his own green flesh. This man spoke to the other guards in low hisses, for he was apparently their leader. The guards themselves never spoke to us, relegating to converse with themselves in that strange hissing language; but now and again I would see them glance our way with disdainful looks. So haughty was their gazes, so full of contempt, that I often thought they would trip upon the ground unseen to their raised eyes. They never did of course. Our gags were only removed so that we could the meager rations of stale bread and water, always under the watchful eye of that wicked serpent. For three days we traveled this way, on occasion the viper would raise its head and point in a direction, the leader would hiss out a command and three guards would depart in that direction, only to return within an hour a new prisoner in tow. Three more prisoners would be added to the wagon this way. Only one of the other prisoners thought to escape, he awaited until dark when the wagon stopped, then made a break for it. He only got a few steps off the wagon before the leaders serpent darted out like a bolt of scaled lightning. The first bite struck the would be escapees ankle, dropping him to the ground. The second found his stomach and the third his arm. He was convulsing now, the foul beast upon his chest biting at his body and faced, but the man couldn’t even scream. It bit him until the convulsing stopped, then slinked back to its master. The guards waited and watched the crumpled figure on the ground while the leader praised his pet in soft hisses like a huntsman praises a prized hound. I too watched the dying figure, and what I saw will be ingrained into my mind forever. Though the body could not move as the venom coursed through its veins, but the eyes rolled around darting from figure to figure, almost begging for help. Even as the body began to discolor and puff up from the toxin within the eyes didn’t stop. This would be my first experience with the cruelty of the yuan-ti, and I believed the apathetic states of the guards told me all I needed to know of their culture. I was wrong.

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The Scrying

“Sir the corpse of the creature was raided at 11pm and our preliminary reports say that they had several magic wielder with them.” The Rook reported to Cardinal. adjusting his now seemingly to tight of uniform. most likely it was the nerves tugging at his collar more so than the uniform it self.

“so it seems some one wants to waylay the announcement tomorrow.” The Cardinal moving around the desk in his office at the base of castle Go-Glen. Sitting down in his plush chair appointed by rank.

“Yes it seem……” The Rook began to talk but was cut of immediately by the cardinal.

“was a rhetorical statement. leave us.” The cardinal turning to the head of the rooks who has been standing dutifully at the back of the room waiting to be acknowledged. “Who would be trying to stop us Bartlebee? just who. It matters not. the Plans have already been made, the words will just be different.” The Cardinal drinking wine he had just pored from the carafe on the table. looking over at Bartlebee Barnes who was not a Big man but well fit and held himself like a warrior whom has seen many battles. The Reds of the Rooks station looked like they belonged on him. His uniform much more elaborate than the officer who was just in the room. Although Bartlebee wore it with more comfort almost like a second skin.

“I do believe it was the small group from which the inquisitors had mention removed the rat scum from the sewers a few months ago. I believe these to be the perpetrators of some of the other areas of the city and may have been working in tandem with the beast it self.” Bartlebee’s strong jaw and swashbuckling goatee portraying no signs of deception. “Now the matter with them finding out the origin of the creature we believe is……” The words cut of with a wave of the cardinals hand.

“The words do not need to be spoken. I had the ‘key’ bent and thrown away long ago.” A sly grin breaks across the clean wine stained lips of the cardinal. “the real question is why the wizards have not putt up much of a fight when it comes to their allowances of magic being revoked yet again. They must be scheming something. Also I heard word that Rufus The Red has made it back from the Aresian lands and had been planning on taking on the Belstonec port? is there any merit behind this.?” Punctuating his last line with another solid drink from the chalice of wine sitting upon his desk.

“As for the wizard i do not know. Our man inside says they have been working on some sort of grand spell and have been very distracted as of late. He thinks he has been made by the wizards and has lost their trust. As for Rufus yes he was in the harbor at the Belstonec port. His armada of thieves were apprehended by one of the Go-Glen commanders of the guard, by the name of Irwin. Who was tipped off by one of your very own contacts in the city, the Icorse family. When your excellency gains power that he seeks they will be a good ally.” Bartlebee walking over to the window overlooking the downward slope to the ocean. with a slight sneer when he sees the plethora of ships in the harbor.

The cardinal getting up and joining Bartlebee by the window. “Your devotion to the cause will grant you the highest power as I can give when i am king. Go find out what is going on with the wizards. Find these interlopers who have changed my words at tomorrows announcement and make sure Rufus is not the one behind this. Lastly make sure I have Brakion in the crowd or near by encase i am attacked. I hear that the Half dragon from the college has been about. last thing i need is him getting in my way.” turning from Bartlebee and the window. "It becomes late and i have a princess to console please be gone with yourself. without a reply Bartlebee leaves the office of the Cardnial

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So I became a fish
New journal of skopelos

(Written in Olympian). I’m writing today on some tanned hide I found in the hold, I don’t think anyone will complain too much. I found that moving about on the ship has become a labor and can see that I leave a trail of scales where my torso drags. Things have not turned out well for myself on this voyage. First the captain , quartermaster, and cook turn on the ship; turns out they were in league with the fish men whose likeness I now share. How I miss my hooves. Then I was dragged into the ocean, which ruined my previous journal, I have decided that each journal henceforth will be made to be waterproof. I have ran out of wine with still 3 days left at sea, the last of it drained by the red headed woman who has decided to follow us, I’d like to get to know her better and share some of the Dionysian mysteries with her. Finally i have found myself changed into a merman through a most unexpected turn of events. Alas my beautiful body has been transformed into a completely new form, even as I write this I find it troubling to articulate my newly webbed fingers, and my voice no longer has the familiar tones that I had come to expect, it now sounds watery and cracks at unexpected times. I fear that my new voice will take time to get accustomed to. I have but three things to solace my mind; the first is that Dionysus has not abandoned me as he has shown me a mercy, though not the one I had expected or hoped for. The second is that this new body has opened me up to new experiences, I swim as though I was born under the water; which no longer feels cold, in fact I feel more at home there then I do upon the ship. Finally the third solace is that I may finally return to Belstonec, for I doubt that they shall recognize my new form, perhaps not even Ka-sssindriss would recognize me now. I find I still think of her and the time we spent together with much fondness. I shall continue to pray each day at morning, noon, and dusk to Dionysus, even if I don’t have the customary wine to drink. In the morning after my prayers and songs I will ask our beautiful wizard to atttempt to identify the necklace in hopes of uncovering a way to reverse the magicks upon me. May the party never end~ Skopelos, favored follower of Dionysus

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Some notes about Dying and Shields
A page of FIren's Personal Notes

Dying sucks. I am strong of mind but I can still feels myself being ripped apart. Luckily, I was dead before the Aboleth ate me, consumed me, digested me. The otherside is my worst nightmare. It was a line of people as far as I could see in both directions, just waiting, waiting, waiting. Waiting for what, I do not know. But something came for me, it seems my friends were not willing to let me die. Now it’s my responsibility to stay alive, breathing, fighting, learning. Besides, I still haven’t learned who cast that sun and how I can learn it. I need to protect myself until then.

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I’ve been watching the Druid Donnal, Big D, Double D, the Big Guy. He is quite deft with that shield. I’ve asked him to show me how to handle it. It’s a very interesting, and effective, way to keep the body safe. I’ve been noting my own frailty, my own softness, squishiness. I feel that I’m stronger than the average mage, I’m part fucking dragon, I can handle one of those things. Maybe more than one? I’ll need a bit more practice before I can cast spells with my hands full like that though. Hmm… I remember there was a shield somewhere that wielded itself (is 3 possible?)…

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A new face A new interest

lingering behind the group from the ranger camps. A sense of being followed. Our heroes have seen a repeated face in the crowd. When confronted she say her name is Sylvia. after shewing off the advances of the one who has called the gods as witness. She has drank ale and enjoyed the company of our travelers. gleaming a bit from their lime lite. Interested in there adventure she listens to their stories.

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Of Gods an Men

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Sitting here amused at the gathering of people. I watch the trial of frivolous men. Bemused by their own stations. Like lost sheep they bicker and are hear for just the slaughter of these pore souls. I will see if my privier of justice follows true. His words ring clear and to the point. plus this will sure piss ares off for he has been in the lime light to long. Undermining his champion will behest great fun.

Spoken with truth.

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I'm Home
Ehcuo's Personal Journal #12

When people say, “GO TO HELL”, I don’t think that they take into consideration that there is a very good possibility some may take them up on that suggestion.

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After the fight with the Wizard in the tower, Zayn and I made haste to his body. I came their for his horns, and I was going to get them. I know my sister is greedy, and the Dwarf is predictably unpredictable… I did not want to take a chance of either of them getting their grubby mitts on my property.

I knew the horns were powerful, but I was not quite sure whet kind of power they possessed or how they would effect me. Luckily, it was ALL for the better. My journey to becoming a full Demon has come to fruition. I am Ehcuo, The Fiend!

Although I am more Demon than Man, my quest is not fully complete. I wish to hold the mantle of Devil Lord, and I will not stop my consumption of power until that title is mine.

After my transformation before the eyes of my adventuring party, I looked to the Wizards portal. Something about it seemed so… welcoming. I had heard stories about Dis from Bel-fir, and read extensively about my rightful kingdom in my book.. but to see it with my own eyes was something worth dying for. I looked back to my… companions… and could tell they did not share my awe.

The fact is, these so called companions of mine NEVER really cared about me or supported my path.. this made the decision to leave a fairly easy one. My sister turned her back on her bloodline the day she met the Rangers.. her adopted and more adored family. The Dwarf.. HA, he is a worthless mule. Only good for carrying the load and taking the beatings that the better Men… and DEMONS, do not wish to burden themselves with. Treeb.. I like Treeb. He is a simple giant. He likes to drink and kill. Yeah, he’s a little weird.. talks to his axe, and he wants to fuck my sister.. but thats no skin off my back. No, we never became close, but at least he wasn’t a constant thorn in my side like the Dwarf and Jade. And that leaves Zayn. There is so much yet so little to say about my shadowy Duke. I would not say he was my friend, or my even my ally… but we had a common goal. To be the the rulers of our future. He saw some worth in me.. this is evident as my throat remains uncut. And i saw worth in him. One day I will be a Lord in Hell, and his spot as Duke remains his for the taking. But for now, our paths must part.

So there you have it. A sister that is no longer my sister, a Dwarf that served no purpose in life other than to annoy me, a Giant that, although funny and useful in a fight, thought too much of drinking and impregnating my sister and not enough about a solid goal, and Zayn, a man of many talents and of great importance to where I am today, but also a man that would cut me down as soon as my usefulness shutters or as soon as my goals conflict with his.

Yes, some of them I do not hold in contempt, but this is not enough for me to stay. I had a chance to, as Bel-fir would put it, go home, and it grasped it. I took one last look at my former companions, and saw nothing.. felt nothing.. They were no longer family, no longer friends, no longer of use and no longer safe to be around. My journey must continue alone and on a different plane.

So here I am, In The Iron City of Dis. I am not sure where exactly I will end up, but I am certain that a conversation with Dispater is due. I will make my way through the city. My drive will not faultier, my goals WILL be achieved. One day I may return to the lesser plane of earth.. but when, I do not know, and I do not care.

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