The Illuminated Ones

Illuminated Journal 4

By Zakhar Melnokov

Having dealt with the hags of Branweald, we continued our journey into Thornwood Forest, to seek the skull of Potentate Olsen’s vision. As we entered we found that the forest dark and oppressive, with little light filtering its way through the canopy.

Our first day travelling into the Thornwood was uneventful, though at night the forest seemed to be more alive with wildlife. We decided it was best to set up a cold camp and maintain our vigilance throughout the night. The night passed without event, and we continued our travels deeper into the forest the following day.

Around midday Potentate Olsen said we had reached the source of his vision. After a prayer to our gods and the ascendants, we passed through the forest to find a desolated clearing, void of significant life, apart from a small group of Tharn. Their shaman was performing some ritual at a monument, littered with human remains, which sat upon a small burial mound. Once we entered the clearing, they spotted us and instantly attacked. The battle was short, and we prevailed with minor injuries.

We quickly searched the mound in case more Tharn were attracted to the sounds of gunfire, and found a small alcove concealed by human remains. Upon clearing the carcasses, we found a set of heavy stone doors, engraved with Orgoth carvings. With some force, we managed to push the doors open, and entered a musty corridor. We continued exploring, passing several secret passages, and the site was filled with murals depicting parts of the Orgoth Invasion, particularly the acts of whomever was buried here.

As we ventured deeper into the tomb, we found a pair of guardians known as Dread, corpses filled molten iron, engraved with wards and their arms fashioned into scything blades, similar to the mechanithralls created by Cryxian forces, minus the mechanika. After defeating these Dread, we entered a room with a depraved throne, and human remains littering the area. From these bones emerged several Thrall Warriors. Once again we prevailed and searched the surrounding rooms. In one we found what appeared to be trophies of broken weapons and armour, and several banners that were centuries old. In the other, we found a sarcophagus. Opening the casket, we found the remains of an armoured Orgoth champion, with the skull shaped pendant wound its neck. With great care, we removed the relic and carefully packaged it as best we could, then left the area to return to Corvis.

With haste we made our way back to Corvis to secure the relic, hoping the Menites had crafted a warded vessel to contain it. The small pendant weighed upon the soul, making travel slow, and Matthias took most of the burden. On the first night we returned, near dawn, we were awoken to the amulet chanting, having released itself somehow from Mathias’s pack. It seemed to have enchanted Mathias, drawing him closer. We were forced to subdue Mathias, knocking him unconscious. Once this occurred, the chanting stopped, and we collected the relic and continued our journey.

Not long into our travels, the relic started to emit a high pitched screech. We then started hearing horns blown in our vicinity. Obviously the Tharn that had been tracking us could hear the relic’s call. We hastened our pace, though could hear the calls of the Tharn getting closer, and decided to stand our ground and prepare for the imminent attack. Within minutes, a small war band of Tharn appeared, and we could hear other groups closing in to our vicinity.

As we readied ourselves, we heard mounts entering our area. They were fellow members of the Illuminated, and with their aid, we were able to despatch the Tharn savages. Once the battle was over, we were interrogated by our rescuers, who were members of the Ordo Fidelus, in regards to their fallen comrade Gault Keller in Corvis. We explained our investigation that led to the assassins in the undercity, and informed them of our investigations. We were then introduced to the members Ulric Fisher, Jonas Bainbridge, and their leader Malek Hartcliff.

The Ordo Fidelus escorted us back to Corvis without further incident. After entering the city, we made our way to the Temple of Menoth and reported in to Potentate Reynard and toasted our success. A majority of us consumed wine, though Mathias and Potentate Olsen drank water, which turned out to be poisoned. Both collapsed, and Olsen was transformed into a Thrall by the toxins. We were forced to cut the blind priest down. We then heard a commotion within the temple, where others had been afflicted. We managed to discover the kitchen well had been poisoned, and we sealed the well so the Menites could purify it. Once the commotion died down, we were then summoned to Sovereign Nikolas Lambert. The Sovereign requested we keep the incident about the poisoning secret, and that we investigate the matter discreetly.

We then returned to the Church of Morrow where Mathias informed them of recent events, and then conducted some tests on poison residue we had discovered. It was found to be as lethal as Khorva’s Kiss, mixed with Necrite, causing a fast acting poison that enabled its victim to be transformed into the undead.

The following day we regathered our stores as we investigated, and met with Malek from the Ordo Fidelus. We had surmised that further poisoning would occur at one of the main wells within the city, so we requested the aide of Mallik and his men to keep on of several of the wells.

As Caleb and I surveyed the well at the Docks, we saw an individual approach the well around midnight. Awaiting him to act, we called out when we saw him reveal a glowing bag. The poisoner ran and I managed to chase him down and subdue him, as Caleb collected the necrotite-infused poison that had dropped scattered near the well. We then collected Lucian and Mathias, and returned to the Temple of Menoth to hand in their culprit for interrogation.

Sovereign Lambert managed to get a confession from the poisoner, and provided us with a map to the base location, which coincided with the path he took as he ran earlier that night. We also discovered the Sovereign was more inclined towards the harsher justice of Menoth, unlike the Potentates we had met who were more moderate in their beliefs.

We travelled to the map location, to discover an old warehouse. Lucian entered with the aid of Lucian’s occultation, and emerged with a captured guard. A deal was made with the guard to give up information on those within, and we were told there were five people below, one of these being Fitch, the crafter of the poison. In return for the information he provided, we let him leave without harm.

Entering the warehouse, we delved below the building into an old alleyway. We were spotted by the guards, and we launched an assault upon their base of operations. The guards were heavily armed, and it appeared Fitch was a Thamarite Priest, wielding arcane powers during the fight. Unfortunately we were unable to take Fitch alive, though the last remaining guard yielded and we questioned him about Fitch’s undertakings. We then seized several items, including a barrel of the necrotic poison, a Thamarite tome, and items gathered from a makeshift altar.

Upon exiting the warehouse, we found the city watch en masse on the streets as there had been several small isolated outbreaks within the city. We handed custody of the henchman over to the city watch. An initiate of Menoth had then found us, requesting we return to the Temple of Menoth with due haste. When we returned, we were arrested by the Sovereign and a dozen Errants, accused of being heretics. We had no choice but to surrender, and were imprisoned within the temple.

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