Council of Thieves

Marcello's Journal - Part 2

It is morning, and I have had little real sleep! I have not spoken to the others however I feel like I am being manipulated somewhat, events are happening that I am unsure as to whether I still want to be involved, and then this morning a commotion outside although I am unsure what this is. Once I am dressed fully I shall go and find out, it definitely does not sound life threatening! ∞∞∞ Well, that was not what I expected! The fool’s leader (Whom I might add knows my identity and involvement, even though I am just “recruited”, which I use in the loosest term” has been captured! Not only is this damn inconvenient and potentially life threatening but he is already being transported to Citadel Riviad where he will undoubtedly will have my identity tortured from him and that will be the end of me! This “resistance” appear to be incredibly incompetent and undoubtedly they will not be able to rescue Ariel, so I will yet again have to lend my intellect to them in an effort to save my own skin, there does appear to be a recurring theme here! Anyway, for now I must go prepare. ∞∞∞ We have just returned and I am ridiculously tired. The cart transporting Ariel was quite heavily guarded however we did travel in strength with almost 20 of the “Children” of the resistance with us. I do feel children is an apt name, they require constant attention and have such short attention spans, and don’t even get me started on intelligence! We arrived and I had to take over the tactical planning from Janiven (The sultry woman with whom I first spoke) as her plan was pure suicide. We took positions in the bushes and the grass and awaited the prison guards. We did have reasonable information and knew there would be mounted guards leading so I used an illusion to draw them over the bridge where we waited. One over Janiven used caltrops to slow there return. I split the resistance into two groups with my recent companions and I in the middle. They were given strict instruction not that they listened the fools! Ignoring the plan was how two of them ended up dead, still it was not me! I digress however, probably due to my weariness. The plan went distinctly well initially, almost too well. What our information had not told us was that there was a spellcaster with them which nearly thwarted our plans entirely. I used my spell of lubrication on the cart as the resistance volleyed arrows at the guards. We had a distinct advantage as the majority of the guards fell to the floor delaying their entry into melee and the resistance continued to rain arrows down upon them. It all went a little wrong when that damnable religious nut started to spellcast! It was obvious melee would have to be joined at some point. We had dispatched two of the guards with ease and it was the melee started that things started to unravel! ∞∞∞ That stupid, incompetent, half witted Half Orc still believed she was some kind of juggernaut and seemed to think herself invincible. Kratz, stoic as ever held his own as did that ridiculous monk to some degree! The Half Orc ran forward forcing us to advance into melee and restricting the archers line of fire! Bloody fool. Kratz had no choice to move in and once we were in range the clerics (Of Asmodeus) powers began to take their toll draining the very life essence of us closest! The monk went down and I felt weak, oh so weak. I barely managed to stagger away and work my way round to the monk. I did intend (with some reservations) to use my last curative potion however there was no need! Half of the resistance had decided to not release there volleys and the other half joined the melee! It’s all such a blur at the moment, it was at the time to be perfectly honest! I am relieved to still be alive! We did however finally complete our goal and Ariel was recovered from the guards and we managed to safely get him back here. ∞∞∞ My god! They are on some kind of crusade, I have never heard so much self righteous drivel, droning and consternation! A few of these folk seem reasonable however and not quite as zealotous as the rest, in fact on of them, a glass blower seems rather taken with me (quite understandable to be honest, n fact I am surprised that it is just one!). Ariel did make a rather inadequate and barely courteous thank you to us, however he seemed to be addressing it to all equally! How very rude! ∞∞∞ I have had some sleep now, I have read what I penned last night and it does seem rather….all over the place! The stress of these horrifically basic arrangements and the taxing nature of the last few days has definitely taken its toll. I have not had real chance to even brush my hair (I have yet to find a mirror). How they can live like this I have no idea although it does appear that most continue residence in their own homes. I suppose I shall have to teach them a little about stealth so the chance of them being followed is lessened (Although I am beginning to think I could teach the glass blower quite a few things in the dark!) ∞∞∞ It has been a few days since my last entries, mainly because I have done very little to comment on and I would rather not waste the ink and parchment. I feel like a prisoner, I cannot venture out without a chance of being seen, there are patrols everywhere. I did manage to find some old musty books (where we are used to be a temple it appears) and they have remarkably been a little distraction. One of them, a treatise on necromantic protections has led me to some potentially startling discoveries into which I will have to research more. I would need an extensive library however but have no access to one, something else I must work on! I have also been considering the state of my own equipment so am planning to do some other research in order to make my own longevity more affable. ∞∞∞ We are to go to the ruins in the North of the city! Zarkaj the Incompetent wants to go there during the night! Oh My God, I cannot go there! I do not think I could go in the day! They know not what lurks there in the dark recesses! ∞∞∞ I cannot sleep! The thoughts of the foul beasts, one foul beast n particular has made my bowels weak and my resolve weaken considerably! I cannot think about this any more, I cannot go! I WILL not go! ∞∞∞ I am going! I must be mad, I have no idea what I have done, I do not even know why I agreed! We are to investigate (during the day at least, no thanks to Zarkaj!) a bandit group who have been terrorising my old abode and its environs. I plan to be especially cautious for obvious reasons and have packed additional “necessaries” that afford me protection. Also, I need to be cautious to avoid being noticed by former associates. ∞∞∞ The bloody idiot monk shot one of them! She didn’t even wait to find out if they were who we were looking for (Fortunately they were but SHE didn’t know that at the time). The Half Orc is dead. No great loss to be honest and most likely we will all survive longer because of that loss. ∞∞∞ We managed to slay around 12 of them and there were also some foul smelling animals and skeletal wolves. I do not fully believe in coincidence and feel this may be related to what I found in my readings and the sewers! The Half Orc did provide me with some additional useful goods however and we did get a bit of a haul from the Tieflings that were slain, although the non distribution of the stolen goods caused bile to rise in my throat. What would be the harm of a trinket or two as a thank you! ∞∞∞ I did not mention that one of the items from the Half Orc is of a magical nature so I shall keep that out of sight. Also we did find that the Tieflings were well equipped with a small amount of enchanted arms and armour. With those and the gold I have seconded upon my person I should be able to set up a rudimentary laboratory in one of the spare rooms of the church. I also plan to work more on modifying a crossbow to help combat the “undead threat” as I have come to refer to it. I have not informed the others of this yet however as I do not feel they will completely believe me! ∞∞∞ Janiven and Ariel called upon us. Following the death of the Half Orc they have “advanced their schedule” of taking in more recruits they have been watching. They did have the courtesy to ask my opinion this time and the two fellows do appear reasonably skilled in there own areas. Phyleas appears to be a woodsman of some kind, however sports 2 rapiers like some noble come adventurer, very cliché! The other, Sebilis, is a religious man who fortunately appears quite amiable and he does have an interest in tactics beyond the “Big axe, hit dem” to which we have been accustomed! ∞∞∞ We have not been asked to do anything for a while however I have been researching more and plan to make a prototype this week and do some work in my laboratory which should prove a distraction in the least. ∞∞∞ I cannot believe I have been undisturbed for so long! This place does have its advantages at least it seems. I have heard rumours that someone is coming; I am unsure who it could be as I believed this to be a secluded, secretive group. I shall have to wait and see. ∞∞∞ It is nearly completed; I must say I am quite impressed; I have even had some spare time to work on other projects!

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Marcello's Journal - Part 1

The Journal of Marcello Marcellano

The inn was as busy as normal the evening I met her. I had seen her around several times before, always lurking on the edge of my vision, never coming too close, but staying close enough to hear me tell my tale.

I thought she was from the Thrice Damned House of Thrune, maybe an agent of the Hell Knights or some other infernal organisation coming to stop my tales, stop me making my money, and stop the rumours.

Several people had already approached me asking for help, I had to turn them down, I mean, what could I do alone against the city! Ludicrous! But they kept coming, they kept asking, and I had to keep turning them away.

I think there might have been some tales spreading of me actually helping people! I hope they don’t spread! Hells take me if they do… She has just left. She came to my room this evening! I hope no one saw her, what will they think!

∞∞∞

She says she has “work” for me, she says we have something in common and offered me dinner. Perhaps she is just a lonely heart looking for a hero to console her? I don’t know how much I can convince myself of that. She has asked to meet at four tomorrow someplace I don’t know, some tavern in the more “respectable” districts. I will see how it feels in the morning before I decide. I cannot sleep. I have tried but thoughts of her, of her offer, of her potential trap intrigue me. I can feel my heart beating harder than it has in a long time or is that just anxiety? It is the day of reckoning today and I have decided not to meet this woman. It is obviously a trap, she knew far too much about me, what I eat, what I drink. I know she has been lurking around but she knows too much, so that’s it decided. I think I will have to lay low for a while, and that means less income lest I draw attention to myself. So that’s it settled, today I shall look for a less well known inn, somewhere I am unkown I have to say I am still intrigued. I have walked for miles, there are several inns that I can go to but my thoughts return to this woman’s offer, maybe I am reading too much into it? It is a couple of hours before we are due to meet, but I might go down and just watch for a while, just to see.

∞∞∞

My god, what a day! I did not even begin to imagine that at all. It started so interestingly and My God!

I went into the tavern, there were others there but I had expected as much but it was no trap, it appeared at first sight to be just a meal and then she spoke with such passion about the city and the House of Thrune – such treason she spoke.

She talked for an age about making a difference, about an underground, a resistance wanting to make a difference, and because of my stories she had “selected” me and the others present to join them. We have “skills and a like mind” she said.

The others are a motley bunch, A Half Orc who is obviously a nature worshipper of some kind, masquerading as a barbarian to try and intimidate people and distract them from her? True nature. There is a monk, this one is definitely female, although I am yet unsure as to her order as she appears to carry a broom in lieu of any proper weapons, and then there is a Human, a fighter by appearance but quite dour and grim. I still have no idea of names however I believe the monk is named Rayne, the fighter Kratz and I am still unsure of the Half Orc’s name as she? is too guttural in speech. I about jumped half out of my skin when the door banged, but it was just a breathless child barging in babbling, and then we were moving! I have never felt so breathless, hell Knights had somehow found us and were coming and we had to flee.

∞∞∞

Gods forbid but it was through the sewer, I could barely think, my breath came shorter and I had a dread sense of foreboding, but what choice did I have, the sewers or a death sentence!

We got down to the bottom of a ladder and were given sunrods and some potions of healing, I have no idea why we needed these to get to a “safe” house but I always believe never to look a gift horse in the mouth!

We were sent off one direction whilst our host went the other to lay a false trail, it all smelled a little like a trap, I felt like bait to lead the Hell Knights away from her! The others I was with went off though so I had no chance but to go with them, Kratz did look quite handy and at the least I could use him as a shield!

The sewers were fetid and dank, much worse than I remembered, I have no idea how I managed to keep going. My chest was burning and my cough was much worse, obviously aggravated by the musty, damp air.

We got to a junction, its sides covered in slime and mildew, god knows what was floating past, there was a makeshift bridge over the conduit. I could see much better in the dark than most of the others and took about looking for the symbols we had been told would lead us to safety! That was when the skeletons came out of the murk and raked me with their claws! I fell into unconsciousness!

The other used one of the healing potions on me and I regained consciousness a little while later, I was so rough, I felt like death warmed up! An amusing thought since death warmed up was what nearly ended my life.

We had to continue and it did not take much to find the symbols, we had to go over that infernal bridge, it almost tipped me in! what amateurs leaving such an obvious sign of where to go, no wonder they needed my aid.

I have no idea how later it was when we encountered some Hell Knights, time seemed to pass so slowly, they were reasonably easily dispatched! I have no idea what the fuss is all about, although this time I was ready to aid the other with my Art and I am quite certain this made the difference!

I cannot believe how long we were down there! It seemed hours before we stumbled across some goblins. Who would have credited that there were goblins in the sewers! Obviously the government has little control over the city to allow such an infestation to continue! The goblins were dispatched even easier than the Hell Knights by another of my incantations rendering them unconscious!

Another group of Hell Knights must have heard the commotion though. As we began to move off they rounded the corner, even though I was dog tired I managed yet another incantation rendering the floor slippery and Kratz soon dispatched them, the Monk did a little damage but she does seem rather a distraction, I am sure Kratz was looking at her more than his opponents.

I have no idea what the Half Orc was doing, how one of such low intellect has survived so long confounds me!

Well, after all that and a few more goblins we finally managed to get to the safe house which is where I write my journal now! I have no idea where we are, what we are to do, where our host has gone or what is to happen…

I am a little fearful, not of what has occurred so far or even of the sewers, but I did spot some unusual symbols in the sewers of a Necromantic nature, and they may well have held some power, and may well still do. Whoever or whatever placed them concerns me, for to gain such knowledge they must be either extremely talented or extremely old, my guess is the latter……

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