Kingdom's Fall

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The adventure log is where you list the sessions and adventures your party has been on, but for now, we suggest doing a very light “story so far” post. Just give a brief overview of what the party has done up to this point. After each future session, create a new post detailing that night’s adventures.

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Blenheim's Diary - 1
New Work

In an effort to better serve the Drakes, I thought it might be wise to roughly record day to day happenings to reflect on my successes and failures. I might also record information that is relevant later. All in all, a diary seems to be a useful use of my time.

Well, where to be begin? Cosmo found some work with the church recently, which is a noble and pious venture indeed. Contracted through the temple of Bharnarol we were tasked to investigate some strange animal attacks at a nearby town. It wasn’t just us, there were a few others signed on to this job as well. In fact, it was quite the coincidence that almost everyone involved in this went to the Academy, although I can’t say I remember seeing any of them. Certainly, none of them were involved in bullying Cosmo nor in the clique he formed so it’s understandable. First was Celaena Honduran, a white-haired woman who is an arcanist I believe. Honestly, I’m not entirely sure what most of these distinctions between spellcasters are, magic is magic. She seems to take her work and research very seriously. Next we have Rafaela, a Halfling bard. She seems an amiable sort, it truly is a boon to have someone who can lift our spirits around. Especially on long, dangerous journeys. Then there is a magus by the name of Ratcliffe. He’s an odd one, he seems to hold some form of grudge against the others from the Academy. I’m not sure why. He also has some drive to prove himself. Proving what, I have no idea but he has taken to the idea of strapping skulls to his armour. Cosmo asked if I had previous experience with him and had hit him a bit too hard but I’m afraid Ratcliffe’s eccentricities are his own fault. We also have a priest from the temple accompanying us. I’m quite glad to have Father Brandt with us and not just because he can tend to my wounds. I was pleasantly surprised to see age hasn’t seemed to slow him down a bit.

I digress, the job itself seemed simple enough. Identify the creature behind the attacks and if it’s completely unknown capture it for study, otherwise slay it. The town where the attacks were occurring was a few days’ ride away so we chartered a caravan to take us there. The caravan was initially reluctant to take us by the direct route, citing attacks on that road. We managed to convince them otherwise by promising to protect the caravan and recompense any losses. I suppose it is unsurprising that we were ambushed on the route by gnoll bandits. We dispatched them easily enough, although I shamefully lost my temper between the threat posed to Cosmo and being smashed in the face in the flail. My true nature remains unknown to the others thankfully. It was decided that we would not execute the gnolls however and instead study them. I believe Cosmo is taking it upon himself to learn their language to communicate with them. What an honourable soul, I’m not sure it would be a decision I myself would make. The rest of the journey was thankfully uneventful.

We arrived at the village not long after and began our investigation into this creature. Cosmo and I spoke with the guards and investigated the most recent casualty, a small child who went looking for his parents in the forest. After taking a look at the body it seemed obvious to me that this was a hippogriff attack. Which is strange, hippogriffs hate forests. Returning to the tavern we shared the information we all gathered which pointed to an agitated hippogriff which was here involuntarily. At which point Cosmo was approached by someone who apparently knew him. He certainly made a negative impression with me when he tried to scam Cosmo out of some coin. He is apparently Lord Alistair Tristrand, a member of nobility. I can’t say I ever recall him visiting the Drake manor, perhaps it was before my time. Despite his scam, he didn’t seem to hold any ill will to Cosmo so I’m willing to overlook some of his more… questionable aspects. He was also rather helpful in helping me deal with an accursed hunter of my people. Although, was that incidental or does he know? I have no idea. After that incident a night of merriment was had, except for Rafaela who attempted to drink a great deal of alcohol. Given how small she is, she may have been more alcohol than Halfling at that point.

The next day we ventured into the forest. Following what tracks we could we came across a backpack caught in a tree. Rafaela climbed trees to reach but at the final jump she stopped in mid-air. A spider’s web. The spider crawled out of a hole in a nearby tree with ill intent. It was too far for me to engage but I couldn’t let that foul creature near Rafaela. Thankfully, pelting it with a sling proved a suitable distraction. With its attention drawn, I drew my steel and charged forth to slay the beast. It proved no match for us but I have come to the conclusion that spiders are cowardly creatures. Such reliance on making sure their prey cannot fight back with immobilising web and vile poison. Disgusting. Still it was no match for honest steel. I’m quite glad that it focused its attacks on me, for its poison ravaged me. I can’t help but think what would have happened if Rafaela had been affected by such a poison.

Our work here is far from done but we have found a tool which may prove useful. A beast whistle, no doubt attuned to the hippogriff. It would seem that ultimately this cowardly creature is responsible for much. Anyway, enough of this entry I have to see to Cosmo.

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Cosmo's Journal
I didn't mean to apostamasize

As a recent graduate of the academy I thought my first step should be to get some real-world experience. Hearing that there was work to be found with the local temple of Bharnarol, Blenheim and I set off. It would appear I was not the only graduate to think similarly. Except for Blenheim, we are all graduates of the academy. Oh, and the priest, thankfully we have a man of advanced age, I mean experience. There's a Halfling bard who is quite the chit-chat, exceptional in gathering intel. An alchemist whose intellect vastly exceeds my own, we're very lucky to have someone of her disposition. Lastly there is "Butch" Ratcliffe. He seems to want to distance himself from his fellow academics. He seems to be trying hard but even Blenheim is larger than him.

Anyway, the actual mission was to looking into some local disappearances and a wild animal attack on a child in a nearby town. We set off immediately to get a carriage to bring us to the town. The drivers wanted to take an excessively long route to avoid some bandits. Having no fear of such vagabonds I assured them that we could handle it and any damages incurred we would pay for. 

Our journey began as well as to be expected, a simple carriage ride in the countryside. It was an interesting experience to have Celaena refer to me as lord. I probably should have done away with such unnecessary niceties, especially since I am not of such rank. But it was interesting to have such a title given randomly. 

But I digress were eventually beset by bandits. Well at first that's what they appeared to be, as it happened they were beasts. Gnolls are not loved in the Kingdom and are more often than not killed on sight. However, I realised that they were in some way communicating. If we could talk to them, maybe we could introduce them to society. Maybe they didn't have to be this way, we could save them from their own existence. But we couldn't very well do that while they were trying to kill us.

After dispatching with them we finished our journey. As it happened the latest attack victim had been killed. He succumbed to his wounds. Such a shame to see a lad of early years die in such a painful manner. Undeterred we set off into the woods concluding that we should just confront and deal with this threat as quickly as we could.

However, we waited until the next as to go out immediately would be foolish, it was nightfall after all. It was in the tavern that I met an old friend. Admittedly as I recall we'd met once before and I for the life of me couldn't remember but he did. Lord Alastair Tristrand, son of Baron Richmond Tristrand. We'd played together once as children when his father was visiting my grandfather. A night of merriment ensued, admittedly there was a bar fight but even with that Blenheim's mood seemed improved.

The next day we set off into the woods with Alastair's solvent. Which was incredibly convenient as we were attacked by a giant goddamn black widow. Dealing with that living nightmare we continued into their nest. Why in God’s name did it have to be there!? But within we found the spiders slain and an androgynous elf in gleaming armour in the centre. They were no less than a skyknight that we'd rescued. We'd actually rescued a skyknight, how awesome is that?!

So we hurriedly brought her back to the town to get her some proper medical attention, what with Father Brandt taking his afternoon and next few days nap. Ah the things you can get away with when you're old.

Upon our return the bard and I began trying to learn the Gnolls language and between the two of us made distinct progress. It was a strange language. A bastardisation of a much more complex language into a simple form for them to use. But we still had a job to do, find out what down the Skyknight.

We were all trying to think of how to make progress when we realised we'd never looked into the farm where a calf had been taken. It was clearly not just an animal attack as there was only blood left behind and it was hauled over the fence rather than through it.

Once again, we bravely set off into the forest to rescue… a calf I guess? We eventually found a cave with two people impaled, quite the gruesome sight but it just spurred us on to get to the bottom of this. Within we found profane symbols and practices that we couldn't recognise other than that they were wrong.

A large double crossbow that we suspect downed the hippogriff. And its evident user, a minotaur. Immediately we prepared for a fight. Blenheim and Ratcliffe grew in size and prepared to brawl with the beast. Or at least so I thought until Ratcliffe leapt out of its way and I was gored on its damn horns. Seeing that Blenheim was getting ready to kill it with impunity I rasped out that we had to capture it for study and after the wounds it had sustained from the rest of my group a simple ray of frost managed to down it.

Now comes the confusing bit. Firstly, Ratcliffe started strangling the unconscious creature. Then when we stopped him he started bullying the Halfling and struck Celaena. He seems to be determined to get on Blenheim's bad as I demanded he stop such behaviour he continued. A brief scuffle and we were on our way again.

It was on our return to the capital that the bard, Celaena and I finished work on the Gnoll language and our article that I was to publish. Alan Luxius seemed most intrigued by the work and put our names forward for promotion within the academy. While touching up and finishing the article we were approached by Viscountess Saria Valmus and none other than Eljinor himself. Who promptly told us to destroy the work.

Initially we were defensive demanding to know why our work must be kept from the public and everyone. As it turns out we were in fact studying Abyssal the language of Demons… I swear we didn't mean to commit apostasy. But Eljinor had a job for us. Some cockatrices were getting out of control and we had to kill them and possibly study how they were appearing. That sounds publishable.

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Log of Father Brandt Th.D
First entry

For the sake of the record, I only seized the oppurtunity of the investigation out of a desperate, desperate desire to get away from the halfterm marking, but I didn't realise there'd be more children here. It's all respect and "yes father" and "thank you father" to my face, but I know that I'm some uncool old man who they're humouring. Probably shouldn't have had that nap, not really countering any stereotypes there.


The party I've been saddled with are a curious bunch, and by curious I mean ungodly. In brief, there's the rich one, the short one, the shorter one, the hairier one and butch, who has all the self confidence of a man who had his head pushed down a toilet by mage hand. In long form, the Drake boy was very polite, lots of "father"s, but also brought his bloody butler with him and I'm fairly confident he can't dress without him. The butler's a brown nosing sycophant and really smells like dog. The halfling, Raphaela, is probably a nice lass but spend an inordinate quantity of time with a paper maché cow head on her entire top half, and that image is and will stick with me the entire time I'll know her. That brings me to "butch". "Butch" made this cow head and likes to collect skulls. "Butch" also insists on being called "Butch" and I'm going to let that speak for itself. The other one, the white haired girl whose name insists on sliding away from me, has a great nose for wine, and almost no other character traits I can really recall; that could be deliberate or just the wine, really.


I've gathered from the innkeeper and various people I've bumped into after my nap that the party managed to prise a skyknight free from that godawful spider, and the halfling and the Drake boy has got their heads around gnoll : note to self, ask Alan about it later, might be a book or something I could slap my name on. Anyway, the caravan's here to take me back to the temple and the party, left a couple coppers and a blessing for the keeper. Bharnarol keep you.

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Blenheim's Diary - 2
Books and Minotaurs

The last few days have been a mixed batch. On a positive note, we rescued a Sky Knight! Taenarus I believe their name is. We found them at the center of the spider nest, surrounded by dead spiders. The venom did a real number on them though. From what I understand they are recovering well. With their help, we also found and secured the hippogriff, which served as their mount. When we returned it was decided that we should rest for a while before we set out to hunt whatever shot down Taenarus. Just as well, I was still feeling rather under the weather because of that venom. Raphaella and Cosmo worked on understanding the Gnoll language. I did my best to make sure they were well fed and refreshed during their studies but beyond that there wasn’t much I could do to help. Although there was that deer I fetched for them, it felt good to be myself outside for a change.

Anyway, it was obvious on reflection that the calf disappearance was different from the other incidents so we investigated. The clues we found led us to a cave which had two unfortunate souls impaled on sticks outside to act as a brutal warning. Such evil. Inside the cave we found strange symbols drawn in blood. I don’t know much about such things but it was pretty obvious something was very wrong with them. It wasn’t long before we found the instrument used in downing the Sky Knight. A very large crossbow capable of firing two bolts at once. Ratcliffe was rather taken with the weapon, but his struggles to lift it alerted the beast that was its owner. A minotaur. I’m not terribly afraid of beasts larger than I but soon it didn’t even have size as an advantage as Celaena cast some spell on me that evened the odds. I was going to enjoy this. That is, until Ratcliffe too was similarly large and blocked the path to the beast. This I had no qualms with, so long as the beast was slain and as much as it pains me to say it Ratcliffe knows how to fight. Then he jumped out of the way when it charged, leaving it to gore Cosmo. It is only through Cosmo’s great kindness and charity that the minotaur lived and that Ratcliffe retains the use of his limbs. The bastard even laid hands of Celaena after she stopped him from murdering the beast. What scum, abusing his strength to hurt the weak.  It is the role of the strong to protect the weak, something Ratcliffe would do well to learn.

Anyway, we returned to the capital, specimens in tow. Whilst there the scholars amongst us finished learning the Gnoll language and had finished a book on the topic. However, as seems to be theme with this week, the good was immediately followed by the bad as the High Priest of Bharnarol and even Elijnor ordered us to destroy the book. Apparently Gnolls speak a modified version of Abyssal, which is bad. On the other hand, Elijnor has a job for us. There’s a cockatrice problem in a village to the south we need to deal with. Cosmo seems upbeat about the job, thinking we might get an article out of this. I personally just hope he can stay out of trouble this time.

Also, I wish Elijnor would realise not everyone can store everything in some weird place they can access at any time. Being moved around like this is disorientating, not to mention my horse is still in the stable. At least he was nice enough to get the shopping I needed though, even if I do have to carry all this myself…

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Blenheim's Diary - 3
The Source

I knew that cockatrices were stupid creatures. Only now can I fully appreciate how stupid they are. Makes them easy to deal with I suppose. It didn’t take us long to deal with the pests in the village, even if Father Brandt insisted on bitterly complaining to the local villagers. He certainly can go from napping to cranky very quickly. In fact, that could be the theme of this excursion, completely unexpected anger. Anyway, we managed to bag a couple for later study. That was the hope anyway, turns out they are too stupid to survive in the controlled environment of a sack. Shame that, I’m sure Cosmo could have gotten something to write about out of them.

With the cockatrices in the village dealt with we entered the swamp hoping to find the source of these pests. It was a tough slog between the humidity, the fetid swamp water and the irritating local wildlife. Those leeches certainly gave Father Brandt even more to complain about. However, we were to have a breakthrough when Raphaella spotted a very large set of tracks in the distance. Following them, we came upon a nest filled with misshapen eggs which cockatrices hatched from and one very large egg. As Caelena approached the egg the creature revealed itself and it was terrible to behold. A huge serpentine beast with multiple sets of eyes and legs. In addition to its prodigious size and strength it also had the capability to turn creatures to stone with a glare. With Butch too focused on slaying the cockatrices and taking their skulls things looked dire. Not that I would dare speak ill of Cosmo or his new compatriots but they lacked the raw power to deal with this beast. I figured our survival might very well rest upon me, so I didn’t hold back. I must say, I’ve never felt more alive than I did during that fight. No need to hide, no need to restrain myself for fear of breaking something or someone. In the end, we felled the beast and informed the High Priest of our success so that they could take it away. It was close though. Father Brandt had nearly turned to stone, which was an endless source of complaint. What’s more it was continually directed at Caelena, not really sure why. Then Cosmo started talking to Caelena about writing a book on this creature and she completely flipped. I have no idea why and judging by Cosmo’s bewilderment neither did he. Lots of shouting then followed. I couldn’t help but stare disbelievingly at this sudden, meaningless feud while the beast’s blood dripped from almost every inch of me. Maybe it’s a scholar thing that I don’t understand.

Well on a positive note, because of fortunate positioning, the size of the beast and the fact that everyone was avoiding making eye contact my secret is still safe. Talk about luck!

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Cosmo's Journal - 2
Swamp Trek

As much as I appreciate the Royal Advisor getting us to the village with such speed, I think Blenheim and I are both in agreement that we would have rather had time to prepare ourselves for a journey into the swamp which has claimed the lives of so many adventurers. But instead we were dumped in this backwater village with only the clothes on our backs and all the necessities in Blenheim’s backpack. I know that sounds like a lot but the poor bastard didn’t even have his sword. Oh, to be a mage with that kind of power without having to fear for anything. Although he would appear to have forgotten what being a “normal” person is like. Just disappearing and reappearing wherever he need, not needing to worry for equipment or supplies.

But I digress after the kind if not well thought out help we received from <u>Eljinor</u>, we set off into the swamp. Well at least we were going to but we had to kill some cockatrice’s first. Turns out they’re pretty stupid and we dispatched them with relative ease. It was here that I noticed the dedication <u>Celaena</u> has for her research as she held them down and stuffed them into bags to study later. A shame the damn things accidentally killed themselves.

With the little critters dealt with we started our trek through the swamp. As much as I love my attire I fear it was not prepared for the abuse of a swamp or the giant leeches that dwelled within. Having attempted to rescue Raph I was beset upon by these revolting abominations which drained me of my strength but more importantly my blood. I only have so much of that.

Raph ran into the trees and thankfully came back with some direction for us to follow, she had found large footprints of a beast none of us could work out. It sounded publishable. So, with Brandt healing us and whining every step of the way we continued. Here we found the source of the cockatrice infestation. Their eggs were everywhere, but thanks to the others knowledge of nature they could tell these were unfertilised. The big one in the middle on the other hand was very much fertilised. And protected as it turned out.

Celaena decided she wanted to research t and picked it up exclaiming, “I’m your mummy now!” As it happened the real mummy was not best please by this as the massive beast revealed itself. I began trying to scan it’s features and commit them to memory. After all it would be rare to study such a creature as it is fighting to defend its children. Deciding how to name it I settled on Basiliscus’ Maximus, thought it was fitting because it was rather maximus.

So, with great difficulty and much yelling from Blenheim that the damn thing wouldn’t fight him so he had to keep running to it we managed to defeat it. It was only at this point though that we noticed the good father. He had been turned mostly to stone and was not pleased about it. He lashed out and screamed at Celaena that she was useless. Blenheim and I both glanced at each other both taken aback by the angered response. Trying to change the topic away from the yelling of an old man I told Celeana that I had been trying to keep in mind everything about the creature and had now committed them to writing. This appeared to be a mistake as she now screeched at me that she could write too and study this creature just as well if not better than me.

There seemed to be no diffusing this situation as everyone (Celeana and Brandt) was at the end of their patience. I can’t remember whose idea it was but someone said we should use the card to get backup to retrieve the creature. At this point, Brandt snatched it from my hand and began screaming at it, I guess he forgot who he was screaming at. At this point Eljinor, <u>Sir Williame Athinus</u> and <u>Viscountess Saria Valmus</u> arrived to help. I politely inquired if it would be heretical or apostasy to write about this discovery and was given the green light. While I was looking the other way Sir Williame gauged out the poor things eyes.

I think that’s my one regret about this mission, that I failed to stop that. After all this poor creature was literally just trying to protect its child, who can blame it. If anything, that shows it has some good in it. I think it was intelligent too, we could have got it to understand. But, I imagine a creature that wakes up blind will be little more than anger, confusion and fear made manifest once it recovers.

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Blenheim's Diary - 4
A Night on the Town

I don’t think I’ve ever been happier to return to the capital. I usually don’t mind spending some time in the wild but that swamp was awful between the heat, the humidity, the wildlife. I hope we can stick to nice, temperate forests in the future. After seeing that the “Basiliscus Maximus” (which Cosmo has taken to calling it) was safely stored away and preparations for research done we got down to what was really important.

Shopping!

It hasn’t been that long since we last went but the swamp really was quite the ordeal. It wasn’t just Cosmo and I however, Viscountess Valmus joined us. I was hoping on bringing Miss Honduran along as well but she was rather insistent on not accompanying us or even leaving me a list so that I may shop for her, leaving her to do what she will. I’m not sure I understood her reasoning, she seemed concerned she was somehow embarrassing herself or me. Maybe I’m misunderstanding something, but I’ve been a valet for near enough a decade now, I should think that there would be no need for such concerns. Oh well, she missed out on a great time. Cosmo got his uniform waterproofed, a wise decision if we ever have to go traipsing around such an awful place such as that swamp again. The Viscountess seemed hesitant at first but after a little encouraging she left with an amazing new dress and we even convinced her to let me use my honed skills as a stylist and beautician. I must have been divinely inspired that day because that was possibly my best work yet. The Viscountess certainly seemed pleased at any rate!

Later that day was rather odd. After I secured everyone adequate accommodation for our stay in the capital I chanced upon Miss Honduran and Mister Ratcliffe. Miss Honduran was most concerned that she was being followed after a trip to a rather seedy bar and requested that she sleep in my room for the night. The more time I spend with this woman, the less I understand but I could hardly refuse. Perhaps her fears had some truth to them though. I could have sworn I saw a hawk staring at our room. Could have just been a hawk, could have been something else.

It wasn’t all fun and games however as I had the task Eljinor entrusted me with, as vague as he was. The interrogation was simple enough, even if I nearly buggered up a simple disguise. Was a little rough but I was in no mood to be playing around. Got pointed to the riverside district where apparently, she was approached by a cloaked elf. I considered posing as a prospective hunter myself but I wasn’t feeling entirely confident. Thankfully I know someone who can pull off bloodthirsty murderer rather well. To his credit, Mr Ratcliffe did an exceptional job of gathering the necessary information. Although I didn’t like what I heard. Capturing lycanthropes to skin alive and sell their pelts? I have never heard anything so utterly, disgustingly evil as long as I have lived. This must be stopped. I refuse to stand idly by and allow these atrocities to happen. Although the viewpoints of the others leave much to be desired. Miss Honduran seems to be under the mistaken impression that lycanthropes possess some form on contagious disease and should be put down for the good of all. She seems to me a very bright and well educated young woman so I have no idea how she has been taken in so easily by such nonsense. As for Mr Ratcliffe, well, his position was less surprising. He cares not from where the blood flows, only that it flows. Absolutely vile. If he wishes to be a “barbarian” perhaps he can take the first step and leave civilised society far behind and get himself killed in some nameless wasteland instead. No matter, I’ll stop this with or without their help. If they dare stop me or defend these monsters however, Gods have mercy because I will not.

The situation around this discussion was growing rather tense but Cosmo as ever found a way to diffuse the situation and proposed a night out on the town to toast their success at convincing the academic board to back their plans for research. The suggestion was even enough to lighten my darkening mood and I got to work setting up the necessary reservations. Once again Viscountess Valmus would be joining us in celebration. The evening was lovely from pre-event drinks, to the dinner and the entertainment I reserved was quite thrilling. The Viscountess departed before the more serious drinking which was quite fine, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea (or bottle of wine rather). The evening was slated to finish as a private affair for Cosmo at a more… salacious establishment by the name of the Silken Lounge that Miss Honduran had recommended. I wouldn’t have expected her to know about such a place but she is apparently full of surprises.

Well it was supposed to be private but Miss Honduran and most bizarrely Mr Ratcliffe insisted on accompanying us.  With any luck, after this they won’t insist on inserting themselves into occasions where they were not accommodated for, nor invited nor is even to their liking!  The establishment was much as you would expect although clearly very high end between fine scents, expensive drugs, fabrics and the high concentration of nobles that make up its clientele. The, uh, “entertainment” on show was certainly… impressive. I was approached by two “entertainers” almost immediately upon arrival which was strange but really flattering because nobody ever really bothers or tries for the butler. We talked a bit but I’d be hard pressed to fathom a single word that was said. They were really nice though and the evening was going really well.

Ahem.

Anyway. Took me about 10 minutes to realise I was separated from Cosmo and I was still on duty. But leaving seemed… difficult and I was left stammering for help. Then Mr Ratcliffe ruined everything. He had apparently been causing trouble for whatever damn reason because going anywhere and not causing difficulties is too damn difficult. The owner however was more concerned about Ratcliffe knowing that the establishment was brimming with magic and somehow deducing that the crazy man with the skulls strapped to him was considered a trustworthy source by anyone and was now deciding to kidnap, brainwash and transform us to be his employees…

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Cosmo's Journal - 3
They weren't all that anyway

This was truly a momentous few days. After we all finally got back from that damnable swamp we were free to do as we wanted at at this point over two and a half grand in the black. We were unable to begin research on the Basiliscus' Maximus yet as it was still unconscious and most importantly we had to get it released into our custody. Academics are nothing if not fickle and proud. They all want to research the new creature despite us having the most experience. Thankfully after going shopping for "ladies things" Celaena managed to calm down enough to work with me on the presentation to get the research grant. I reckon it must've been the father that set her off, although if she's that prone to anger maybe she isn't suited to working with animals. Or people. My god she was let in a school… Anyway I'm getting ahead of myself that all isn't even what happened first.

Firstly we went shopping, because why would you do anything else. Celaena refused to come because she needed to go on her own. I fear Blenheim might have taken it as a personal slight that he couldn't be trusted. The good Father Brandt went for his nap and as of yet has not arisen. Is that normal for his age? He seems to think we all think he's too old but I fear he's proving his own fallacy correct. Ratcliffe went off to gather skulls I can only assume.

But while my cohorts were not taken with the idea of shopping Blenheim thankfully remembered that Viscountess Saria Valmus was quite taken with the idea of shopping with us. So after quite the shopping spree Blenheim and I convinced her to but some dresses and let Blenheim give her a haircut. Quite the transformation. It was good to see her smile genuinely, especially when she said Eljinor was her only friend.

On our second day we began our research, after giving a presentation I promptly guaranteed that we got all accesses to the Basiliscus' Maximus and a large grant. Although we were told we couldn't spend it frivolously. So I had Blenheim make arrangements for a celebratory dinner and some… entertainment.

The dinner was lovely with exceptional company. Celaena was clearly in high spirits since we'd managed to get the grant and Saria seemed to be pleased. Ratcliffe was his usual self but Blenheim was tolerating him mich better, Ratcliffe must have done something to hethim on side. When it came to the latter of the evening Saria left as it was not to her tastes. Blenheim and I tried to get away to a bar of ill repute for some dances. Celaena had told me of it earlier that day.

But I digress we attempted to break away from the other two but Ratcliffe was adament that he was joining us and he would be hired at this club. I shudder to imagine. Oh God… I'm imagining it… I've died a bit.

Anyway we arrived and were beset by scantily clad men. I thought this would be right up my alley but, it just didn't do anything for me. The others were utterly enthralled but, nope nothing. I was more interested in the other customers. Other noble's children spending their families wealth. Nothing new learnt, nothing gained. This damn place seemed downright dingy to me. The Silken Lounge left a lot to be desired. Not that I was going to just let that ruin the evening, all that was left was to pick out my man.

Wait, why am I getting dragged off? Oh God Ratcliffe what have you done now? What are the costs of the damages? What are these runes? Why's there an eye there? Halp!

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Blenheim's Diary - 5
Poachers

Predictably, it did not go well for the owner. He had cast some spell on Mr. Ratcliffe which prevented him from drawing his sword so it was down to Cosmo, Miss Honduran and myself to deal with this villain. He then cast something and I was feeling really angry. Well angry isn’t the right word, more jealous. Of Cosmo’s clothing. I mean, it’s all perfectly tailored (I’ve seen to that) but unhealthily jealous. As in, strip it from him whilst he’s wearing it jealous. Cosmo was rather lucky the spell seemed to fail rather quickly because I don’t think there was anything he could have done to stop me. I feel awful about it, I need to be stronger in the future, not just in body but in will. I assume Cosmo called for help because it wasn’t long before Father Brandt and Father Luxius arrived. Once they arrived, the Enchanter was quickly overwhelmed. Father Luxius then began to purge the area of demonic corruption with copious amounts of fire. With the Enchanter dead, some of the workers began to change back into their normal selves. Others quite conspicuously did not. These workers also happened to be carrying knives. Disarming them was simple enough although some insisted on trying to enchant me. Cosmo had my back however. Not long after the guard arrived and got to work processing everyone and investigating the scene. He seemed rather upset they refused his help but it was probably for the best that the professionals handled it.

After spending the rest of the night giving statements we were free to do as we will. The incident left us little time to prepare for stopping the “poachers” in the woods. A quick breakfast and a nap on the carriage there would have to suffice. I knew we were not stopping professional “poachers” but their inexperience shocked me. Outside a secluded log cabin we found a group of leather clad hunters, all of them around my age. It was quite obvious they hadn’t a clue what they were doing. Attempts at getting them to leave peacefully fell apart as they attempted to attack us. Well, if it was a lycanthrope they were hunting for, I was more than happy to oblige. The second they saw my claws they focused their fire on me, which is exactly what I was hoping would happen. We knocked them out fairly easily, although one of them tried to detonate a bomb right next to himself just to kill me. I could scarcely believe that someone could be so stupid and insane.

It wasn’t just the “poachers” that noticed my claws, Father Brandt and Miss Honduran noticed as well. Father Brandt did not seem to care at all at this revelation and was much more concerned with how much I was bleeding. Miss Honduran seemed somewhat confused but was very sorry about what she had said the other day about lycanthropes. I was going to answer whatever questions she had but then the old lady appeared. She seemed curious about what was going on and was apparently not a lycanthrope. Just as we were patting ourselves on the back for saving an old granny from being ambushed by a bunch of amateur hunters she lamented that we were taking them away because she’d much rather eat them.

This was no old lady, this was a hag.

As much as I maintain those hunters didn’t have a clue what they were doing, fire enough arrows and some will start to hurt. I was tired, bleeding and weakened. Unable to tap fully into my natural form the hag quite soundly tore me to shreds. Each claw digging and tearing the muscle, making me weaker and weaker. She even changed her form to resemble me in an attempt to trick my companions. She however made a mistake in her impersonation. She called for help. Shaking off their blindness the others easily brought her low and in a desperate attempt at self-preservation she turned herself into a tree. She did not realise the amount of fire Cosmo is capable of unleashing and she burnt to a crisp. Horrible way to go for a horrible thing.

We rested a moment in the cabin waiting for the “poachers” to awaken. I have to admit, it was very amusing watching Father Brandt give them the scolding of a lifetime. It’s a shame Miss Honduran had to ruin the mood by attempting to murder the crazy bastard who tried to blow himself up. I can understand why she did it, but I can’t say I approve. Father Brandt showed a cast iron set of morals stopping her. I’m not sure if it’s the absinthe or the blood loss but everything then gets a bit hazy. Not sure of the specifics but the courts sorted everything out with only the radical going to jail. I’ve got some time off while I recover from my fight with the hag. Although I don’t think I’ll drop everything, shopping and making reservations is not physically taxing.

 

I’ll have to get around to fixing up the cloak Miss Honduran gave me, it got a little scratched during the fight. I’m not sure why she insisted on giving us gifts, after all we all get worked up sometimes and lash out. All anyone can ask for is that we recognise our failings and work harder next time. Still, it would be the height of rudeness to refuse such a fine cloak. I’ll have to find some way to repay this but I’m afraid I don’t have much to offer.

Anyway, I shall enjoy my rest and look forward to what the rest discover about the Basilicus Maximus.

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