TLDR: Exploring ruins 2 days south of Verloren.
Letter from Quinzli of the Scale, dispatched by sea from Verloren to Black River.
To Eilis Gilrin,
Greetings and blessings to the sister of my friend. It is my fondest wish that our initial contact could be on better terms. It pains me to inform you that Astrid fell yesterday, along with the entirety of our party save myself. It is by no small miracle that I survived to inform you, and since I was overcome before Astrid, awaking hours later, I can only assume it was by grace of her actions that I am alive to write to you. I am therefore indebted to you and your family.
We traveled the road west of Verloren, investigating rumors from homesteaders of curious ruins. Astrid was ever at the forefront of our wanderings, befriending whomever she could and diligently investigating many curious ruins along the way. Her work is a lasting foothold on the mysteries of this new land, and you may rest assured that it has survived and will continue. Though I am suspicious of such platitudes, it is undeniably true that Astrid fell pursuing her greatest love; unraveling the mysteries of ancient structures, texts, and civilizations. She lies at the threshold of a crypt dedicated to a powerful Demon Walker, whose infernal guardians were disturbed by our expedition’s investigations. I intend to recover her remains for proper rites at the earliest opportunity.
I have enclosed several of Astrid’s effects which may provide some small comfort. Her spellbook, diary, and a third book whose nature I do not know. In accordance with her wishes, I have read none of them, but if she left any instructions or requests which might apply to yours truly, I am at your disposal. Finally, Eclipse, your ancestral longsword. Her powerful spirit honored its legacy.
Astrid was a good friend, with a bright mind and a curious soul. I will miss her greatly. If you wish to visit Verloren to investigate this matter, all of my maps and notes will be available. To that end, I am ever your servant, and wish you speed and fortune on all paths you care to travel.
Yours in mourning,
-Quinzli of the Scale
Quinzli’s journal, entry numbered 1,132. Written on a fresh page with better penmanship than usual.
Death continues to follow me. I returned from the exploratory trip south of Verloren alone. My companions, Cylow, Vystri, and poor Astrid lie dead in an ancient Tiefling’s tomb. I would be with them, were it not for some strange quirk of fate rousing me from unconsciousness. Astrid and I were defending
Starting from the beginning. After sleeping in the ruins where the goblins made their camp, we proceeded west. There were indeed curious ruins, as the homesteaders said. But nothing immediately obvious. An incredibly clear pool of water north of the path, with water flowing in from the marsh and no outlet except a visible cave mouth. A large mound with a wide metal door, inscribed with a circle pierced by 8 arrows pointed outward from the center, like a sunburst. Not a familiar symbol. After investigating the door, which surprised me by presenting no magical aura whatsoever, we could not determine a way to open it, and descended the hill in search of other options. There is a second cave further down the hill, and we speculated that the underwater cave we found might also lead somewhere behind the door.
Astrid, bold soul, gathered our rope and descended into the water. It was a tense span of minutes before she returned with news of a cockatrice hiding in the cave and small statues of rats, perhaps petrified by its toxin. We elected to proceed into the water as a party to investigate further. It was very difficult without enough rope for all of us, requiring more strength than I have for easy passage, but we managed. Once inside, we did not find the cockatrice, but there was a path into another chamber. We followed it, finding a gap to the outside in the ceiling where the cockatrice seemed to have fled. Another tunnel led to a surprise; a finished tunnel, with a paved floor. We found several traps as we proceeded, including, to my shame, a pit just wide enough that I had trouble jumping over it. I must improve my training. Staying comfortably ahead of Consortium men has softened me, and age can be no excuse.
At the end of the hall, we found a trapped entrance to an antechamber with a large sarcophagus inside. The walls bore murals of conquests, presumably showing the life of whoever was entombed here, but nothing any of us recognized. The tiefling inside must have been a powerful figure in life, which did not set me at ease. I performed a magic-detection ritual, finding a faint aura of conjuration magic around the sarcophagus. Even before seeing it, I had no interest in disturbing the dead, but a vote among the group overruled me. We turned the lid off of the sarcophagus, to no ill effect.
Inside, we found a golden death mask on the tiefling, and a jeweled trinket, neither of which appeared magical. A set of canopic jars lay at the mummified figure’s feet, one of which was clearly the source of the conjuration spell. It’s also the one Astrid picked up.
Four infernal creatures appeared, one small winged humanoid and three winged canines. They accosted us immediately, with vicious claws and toxic fumes that rendered much of the chamber uninhabitable. Vystri cast a flaming cone that burned the corpse inside the sarcophagus, and Cylow was overcome, under attack by all four of the infernal creatures. Vystri fell gasping in the choking fumes. Astrid and I retreated to the door, its traps jammed closed by pitons Cylow drove into the wall. A shame, because they might have served to harm the infernal creatures who followed us. One dealt a critical blow, with terrible precision, downing me in a single strike. I fell unconscious, unaware of what happened to Astrid, but awoke several hours later to find her dead by the door. Presumably, it was her bravery which kept the tomb’s defenders from noticing my plight. I ensured her eyes were closed, brought her sword, dagger, and books with me, and made my escape. Poor repayment for her sacrifice, but survival demanded I abandon decency for the moment. Gods witness me, I will return to ensure all three of them receive the rites they deserve. But not before I am nearly certain of success.
My return to Verloren was hampered by that damnable pit, but I made it with the aid of some rigging Cylow had set. The road, by the gods’ grace, was clear. Fortunate, as I was near death, and moving at an appallingly slow pace. Even a night’s rest did little to improve my condition, and even less to raise my spirits. While this land may shelter me from the Consortium, it may ben even more dangerous. I will meditate on this tonight, and train. But first, a glass of wine at the Cafe, and one to offer to the earth where my friends will soon sleep. May they find some peace, and may future explorers avoid the siren’s call of wealth, leaving the dead to their rest. It is what we wish for our fallen friends, and what even our enemies deserve, regardless of the lure of treasure, fame, and glory. Decency demands no less.
Witnessed and recorded by Quinzli of the Scale, Akayi Transmuter.
The journal entries here are provided by the active player characters participating in the Detroit Marches.
All Abaza Amaranth Aredhel Lethe Astrid Gilrin Atuji Of Clan Greatscale Audra Ayten Gilrin Basil Benedict Greenfield Black River Swamp Blackscale Brea Daergle Brynn Bryn Naikaho Cavalier's Watch Chat Clan Shimmerscale Crimson Surgeon Cylowboborow Nonsoon Demogorgon Diamondshard Banwyze DILONDORG KAAL Doros Doross Dorros Dredge Dufdor Dwain Eilis Eilis Gilrin Eladrinne Escobar Fagan Far Reach Fort Providence Gator Rock Genji The Wererat Glin Ybendawien Droat Golden Apple Great Cataclysm Griffin's Roost Grildor Trueforge Haldor Kemleigh Ham Hamilton Hekili Nalani HEYKITD GETOFF MELAYN Icegate Jerimiah Jerwin Jinn Kanyu Il Senya Kathra Kegrove Kellen McCall Kenku Kiera Lyssandria Kohaku Ruim Koltalon Kresh Krolan Kunyata Kar Leatherhead Liam Buckham Liana Lindir Lizardfolk Longtail Lucretzia Borgia Makani Pahili Malmir Merelda Meznen Midden Heap Mindartis Morgrimm Naill Amakir Namfoodle Nehi Xum Nehi-Xum New Cadeni Njord Noric Synphase Noxochiyotl Obelisks Of The Bayou Omgar Onen Peter The Wolf Phoncledeh Player Character Journal Entry Polar Bear Polg Pollen Quinzli Rabbits Ralthor Rawq Elrid Rhogar Roscoe Greenfeld Rotten Morgan Bonecrusher Rube Lastname Ruins Salazar Sang Woo Ser Mathius Shaena Tosscobble Silent Mockingbird Som Sorrel Summerport Syndar Beratos Tabaxi Tainted Falls Teddy Bear Tharrus The Fist Theobold Peacekeeper Thur’a’ugh Tormund Firehammer Tortles Treewalker Truss Stacianodel Udoroth UDOROTH THAMMILIDAAR Umberlee Underdark Valaquaraptors Vandil Varron Greensleeves Vengir Duskhallow Verloren Yuan Ti Zorak Dreadmast