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cpthero2
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Posted - 08 Dec 2020 :  00:02:29  Show Profile  Visit cpthero2's Homepage Send cpthero2 a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
Trapped by a Snake, Watched by a Deity

Was this a Stroke of Bad Luck, or a Step in a Greater Design?

15 NOV 2018

((This was written in one of the journals Epaphus carries, shortly after the runic trap while he was drinking the wine shared to him, written in Celestial))
I couldn’t have been more ready. I had just finished my education in Heldapan and was ready to seek an opportunity to test my skills. I remember the bustling of the city still, my steps guiding me all over town to offer my services. It wasn’t until I landed at the crying boards in the palace of trade and civilization that I found that opportunity. I remember two particularly standing out. One dealt with establishing diplomatic relations and possible trade routes with the Loxo, while the other would have had me out to the Sea of Fallen Stars to identify artifacts of great variety and age. I ended up taking a look into the first job, seeking an interview with a linguist by the name of Rythul.

Looking back I wonder if I should have taken the other job, and if it would have made a difference in how things turned out.

I met with Rythul, who appeared to be an old man in simple robes. The room was laden with smoke from a hookah, giving the air a scent of tobacco and fruit. Pillows were strewn about on the floor, arranged for people to relax at the hookah Rythul was smoking from. I gave out a small cough, the smoke scratching at my lungs with every breath. Rythul stood, greeting me by simply asking if I was here for the job. After a simple exchange of words I was given a book, asked to recreated the image depicted on the page by transcribing it on the floor. It was a magic circle, a rather complex one at that. as I tried to read about it on the other page I was urged to simply create the circle and not worry of the details.

I should have been suspicious of what was going on at that point, but I was desperate to make my name out there.

After about a bell of silence, I had transcribed the circle to the best of my ability. My lungs were screaming for an air free of smoke, but I made no mention of it. After a short examination Rythul instructed me to stand in the circle to ensure it was made proper. I remember something in the back of my mind telling me to stop and not step blindly into a circle of clear arcane intent, but my legs guided me into the circle anyway. As I stood there I felt sure I was going to land the job, even starting to wonder what the Loxo will think of an Aasimar. That all drained away when I felt myself rooted onto the circle, panic instead taking its place as I saw the lights of magic dance around me.

It was then that Rythul revealed his true image to me, a humanoid figure clad in scales with the head of snake. He talked of how much a fool I was, and that I should not have made myself so out in the open being that I was such a prized creature. The panic in me started to turn to dread, wondering if this was my final moment. The room melted away, shifting into a cavernous area with doors lacking handles but of man-made design. My first breath of the damp air was a gasp rather than a long breath though, as what felt like embers digging into my back took over my senses. I clenched my teeth, trying not to scream as I waited for the pain to calm down.
I felt my back, wondering if what I felt was real. And sure enough, I feel the scarred skin of a fresh burn on my back, flinching from the sensitivity of the fresh wound. Here I was, lost, confused, and branded. I felt myself shaking in panic, to which I started to hold my mother’s pendant. after a few moments I gained composure again, realizing I have to at least try to find a way out of here. I started to take off my armour and shirt, figuring that I have to find out just how bad this burn was.

By the time I had that off though, I heard the door in front of me open slightly. I did not realize I was not alone here, and instinctively I drew my sword. This cause the door to close again, returning to the dripping water breaking the silence of this room, now accompanied with what I sounded like faint whispers. I tried to start putting my armour back on, but the door already opened again. This time I was ready for action, my eye locked on the door. It was then I saw the head of Hin poke out, staring out back at me from the opening of the doorway.

Not only was I not alone, but it appeared the were even other individuals that are in a similar predicament as me.

I spoke to the Hin in the tongue of his people, but I’m not sure if he understood me. It was instead a man from behind the door spoke back to me, telling me I was in safe company. After some more conversing I approached these men. It was then that I saw just how diverse the party was. Chand the Hin, Tjordiir the dwarf, Danjo and Shino from the land of Wa, and a Durparian boy that goes by the name of Sahil. I was intrigued at how they all ended up here, and if it is by the same being that brought me here. Danjo helped me settle with some tea, telling me that we are in the Curna Mountains and that they were sent to deal with a cult that has been hiding in here. I was relieved to know where I was at least, but that feeling soon faded once I saw my burn seemed greatly similar to the circle I drew for Rythul. Shino even informed me that the runic circle was a powerful necromancy, meant for binding my soul. I was a fool for participating in that ritual without knowing all the details, and now I’m not even sure how to free myself from this necromancy that was made by own hands. Danjo talked about how they have come into contact with Tyr of the triad, which amazed me.

These men have come into contact with an actual deity? If this is true then perhaps I may even come across this deity, that way I can ask for guidance on the situation I’ve placed myself in. This will be my goal for now, or find a way out of here. Whichever comes first.

There is one concern with these men though. They revealed to me that due to unfortunate circumstances that they under the contract of a devil, poised to find a great onyx in this cavern or their lives are forfeit to damnation. They have also been tasked by Tyr to find someone in the caves to take care of the very same onyx, placing them in a truly great conflict. They have yet to give me a solid answer on how they are approaching this, perhaps because they do not know their answer yet either? In the end, I fear I must confront them at some point and find where their intentions lie. This devil has foul intentions for this onyx, and we simply cannot let it have it’s way, especially when it is apparent that the deities themselves have taken notice to our actions.

For now I will put these feelings aside, at least until I have gained more knowledge of the situation.

After some time spent getting to know everyone, we pressed further into the caverns. These caverns are anything but silent, filled with the screams of demons and the constant dripping of water. I was thankful that my vision does not falter in the dark, for this would be a truly nightmarish cavern. It seems though that just as I was getting adjusted to the winding tunnels and damp air we heard the sounds of battle paired the cries of struggle. After some conversing we decided to head to the sound, hoping to save whoever was in trouble. We didn’t get far until we heard the explosions, the earth trembling around us. It was then that water started rushing in around us. It was during this moment that I felt almost useless. Everyone around me was figuring out what to do, Shino shaping the stone to try and block the water. I felt stuck, my hands shaking as panic started to set in me again. My mind was racing, trying to find some piece of knowledge that could help us get out of this situation. I ended up praying to Curna in my mind, hoping I would be blessed with knowledge I was seeking this moment. Shino took the lead again on this situation, shaping a small room in the ceiling for everyone to escape into. He capped off the entrance, ensuring our escape from the water. My hands were still shaking, cramped inside this tiny room. I realized soon though that the air in this room was finite, and after informing everyone else I had to take a few deep breaths to calm myself.

Shino then tried to make a small air shaft for us, be it was thwarted when ice filled the space instead. It was then we had to start planning quick. Chand and I talked of the geography of this area, realizing that the rock around us is porous, and that the explosions we heard could be the rock collapsing from heavier minerals after something caused it to become unstable. Shortly after we realized there was no longer a rush of water beneath us. Shino uncapped the entrance, and what I thought to be a blessing turned to be a new problem. The water had settled, but the cave in had triggered gases to start pouring in the area around us. Our finite air become abundant, at the cost of it being poisoned. We suddenly had less time to figure out what to do now. This clued Chand and I in on the situation we were in though. The gas was a sulfuric acid that was leaking out of the earth, and if it was to come into contact with the mercury also contained within the earth then there would most surely be nothing left of us and this cavern.

It was then that the rest of the party informed us of their plan to have us go inside their bags of holding and have Sahil shift into an animal to burrow us out of here. While I commend the creativity of the use of the bags of holding, Chand informed them that burrowing out of here had a high possibility of resulting in our demise. The gases were becoming too much, my head getting light and near to passing out. In quick compromise we fled into the bags, Sahil instead transforming into a bull shark to swim away from the gaseous area. It was a brilliant plan made in such short time, but I hope we do not end in such a situation again.
After escaping the water, we had reached another part of the caverns. It was not much of choice, but we pressed further in, seeing what we could find. From the talks I’ve had with these men, it seems as though they speak as if these caves will be their graves in the end. Have they lost hope of surviving in here? If so, what is driving them to press further? Is it perhaps because of Tjordiir and I, the only ones who are not under this contract devil’s eye? There is still a lot that I am curious to find out about of these individuals, perhaps they even share the same curiosity towards me. If I can I must ensure that we all survive these caverns, that way I can buy them a round of drinks and get to know each other properly.

Shortly after exploring the tunnel we reached a room that seemed to only have a statue and a heavily reinforced door inside. The statue was that of a human, his shocked look giving an unnatural feeling to it. I was informed that there were basiliks in these caverns, and that this was one of their victims. Apparently Tjordiir was one of these victims as well, but was freed from the curse before it was too late to save him. But that only raised further confusion since Tjordiir says he is from a different time than the current year. In any case, I’m glad to know he had not fell to same fate as this poor individual, now a harrowing statue showing the prowess of these basiliks. After some time Sahil was able to unlock the door, which triggered a gas to fill the room, also revealing runes covering the entirety of the room. I was unsure of what these runes meant, so I used my magic to read further into the runes.

I did not get far into reading them though, seeing as that triggered the trap. The room filled with fire, the force causing me to black out as I felt myself slam against the wall.

I remember, for a few moments, seeing nothing. Feeling nothing. It was as if everything had ceased existing, floating in the void of the abyss. I felt something inside me though, a voice trying to scream even though I had no mouth. The voice kept trying to scream, seeking a way to claw out of me. When it felt that voice became unbearable to contain, I awoke to the sound of ringing filling my head.

As my vision came back, I saw Tjordiir and Sahil kneeling over me. I could feel the magic from Tjordiir’s hand stabilizing me while Sahil used his magic to try and do some more long term healing for the time being. I was coughing out blood and soot, my movement being difficult due to the chunks of earth still embedded in me. The reality of what happened then set into me, I had almost died from that trap which I had triggered. It seems no hard feelings were held by these men though, instead we had decided to pause for a moment and drink some wine that Chand had. I am greatly thankful for these people saving my life, hopefully I will be able to return the favor someday. That is, if I don’t end up doing something foolish again.

Tjordiir says that Haela Brightaxe gives him the luck that has kept him alive still. Perhaps I will have to give prayer to Haela as well during my meditation, asking that she extends her luck to me while I travel with her faithful. Maybe even in my next prayer Curna will grant me some of his knowledge to help find a way out of here, how to save myself, and save everyone I have met here today.









Higher Atlar
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Edited by - cpthero2 on 11 Dec 2020 20:57:13

cpthero2
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Posted - 08 Dec 2020 :  00:04:50  Show Profile  Visit cpthero2's Homepage Send cpthero2 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
A Dream of Ones Self and What is to Come

11 JAN 2019

((Waking from a strange dream, Epaphus writes in his journal in Celestial while the memories are still fresh.))

I have found the path we must take, but it is not an easy one.

I will admit to the naivety I had when I graduated as a bard, for I had thought the work I would end up doing would have a fantastical appeal to it. While my confidence has yet to crack under this oppressing cavern, I realize that the world at large is a much darker place. My mortality is slowly becoming a small concern as I pour over these tomes that we have found in a strange room full of stars and magic. There is a force that has been at work for possibly centuries now, and that force is a lich. This lich harbors a hatred for the gold dwarves that I have yet to see in any other being. He wishes the race to be eradicated, even at the cost of destroying Toril itself. And while we may stop a part of his plan, we must be prepared to face the rest of this ancient scheme. What we plan to face is a collapse of economy, driving everyone into war with each other by barricading the supply of electrum. And while this may sound daunting, what we plan to prevent dwarfs this cog in the machine. This lich plans to bring an eldritch being upon Toril, one that is known as Radnorra. This being will visit us in the form of a meteor, breaking apart and seeding itself into the earth. With the seeds sewn, Radnorra will infect Toril with a plague of undeath. This will destroy all life if not stopped, leaving but a rock floating among the stars.

And even among all of this, I am still tied to this monolith that we seek in this cavern. This large piece of obsidian is said to allow those from the infernal plane to naturally walk onto the material plane, preventing them to be banished back to their realm. I have wondered at times what would be a worse fate, for Toril to fade away into undeath, or to be enslaved by demons. For now I have come to the conclusion that we must deal with the threat of the eldritch, and pray the gods have a solution for the unholy invasion if that comes to fruition.
I am a scholar in a party of a warriors. I must rely on their steel and wits in combat to keep us alive, while it seems they rely on my knowledge and research to guide us in the right path to prevent what is to come and eventually leave this damned cavern alive. My work as a cleric to Curna seems to be of little use here, perhaps this is Curna’s way of showing me that I am still faithful while doing my work as a bard. The tomes I have poured over contain a vast amount of knowledge, and with the help of my ancestors I have found a way to stop Radnorra. The Staircase of Pajeir, to allow me to come into contact with Radnorra itself. The Medusa Sphere, a powerful relic known to petrify anything. And the final one, which I have little knowledge on still, the Astrarium of the Cosmos. This last relic is still an enigma to me, but from what I’ve read so far it could possibly help ensure the chances of something working but changing the workings of chance itself. It makes me think back to Tjordiir’s warning of the books when we have discovered them, saying that these had already killed us in another life. The subject of alternate lives and dimensions is a great one that is not touched on much, but perhaps this Astrarium is meant to manipulate this very thing?

I had worked myself to exhaustion on these tomes, something I have not done since my days in the bardic college. As I laid upon my bedroll to rest, I was visited with a dream. I was floating among the stars, the colors of the cosmos surrounding the crescent of Selûne. Sitting upon the crescent was my mother, clad in silver robes. She was playing upon a harp, producing a tune that was beautiful yet felt strangely melancholic. It was as if the song was eluding to the approach of something dark. After listening to some time, she stopped playing, her attention then shifting to me. She extended out the harp, offering to show her my song. As I reached out to grab it though, black tendrils started to reach out and wrap around me. I started to suffocate as they wrapped around me, but as I felt myself start to fade away I instead found myself standing in an abyss of darkness. I felt nothing, my ears filled with sound of dripping water. I looked around, the only thing standing in the darkness being a mirror. As I approached the mirror though, I saw myself in two forms. On one side, I see myself as a true Azata. I possess an unnatural beauty, dressed in ornate robes that are more meant to show my body than my wealth. In one hand I hold an elaborate pipe that seems to be more for show than function, while the other hand holds a longsword that seemed to exude a great aura. I looked beautiful, powerful even, yet my face held a fire within it yearning for justice, looking upon me as if he was waiting for me to join him in his journey. The other form though, looked of me to be a simple human. In this form I was dressed in simple robes to Curna, my arms carrying a large stack of tomes. My face was amassed in wrinkles, showing me to be of a great age and wisdom. Although I did not feel beautiful upon looking at this form, I felt I possessed vast knowledge and a formidable aura still. This form looked upon me with curiosity, as if waiting to see if I will do the right thing. Between these two forms I felt as if I could do neither justice, the expectations of both being too great. I am neither human nor azata. I am the in between instead, the light and the darkness. I cannot expect myself to be of the same magnitude as the angels themselves, but nor can I let myself simply abide to a life of simplicity. It was then that the mirror disappeared, and in its place lie that same silver harp as earlier. I know the song of my life, and I am ready to play it. I reached down and grabbed the harp, a sense of purpose filling my being. I then heard the sound of battle in front of me, and as I looked up I saw my allies fighting a horde a of demons that never seemed to end. The tendrils of darkness are closing around them. Tjordiir looked over to me in the midst of combat, waiting to see what I will do. As I gripped the harp harder, I felt myself running straight into the horde, willing to offer my life against the evil we face. As my sword struck the first demon to face me, I awoke from my slumber.

If I am to draw anything from this dream, it is that this is not the end for us. This is merely the beginning to our epic.







Higher Atlar
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cpthero2
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Posted - 08 Dec 2020 :  00:07:43  Show Profile  Visit cpthero2's Homepage Send cpthero2 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The Truth is not Always Beautiful, nor Beautiful Words the Truth.

05 APR 2019

((While everyone stands in the hall discussing the next step, Epaphus writes in his journal. While his hand writes in an elegant script of celestial, his eyes are contemplative while crossed with confusion.))

I have come to have my faith tested against the theories that now invade my thoughts. To worship a singular deity seems akin to merely praising the sun for growing just the golden hues of wheat from a good harvest. All the gods are in constant motion, with each of their powers gracefully keeping the fragile balance of control on Toril. While Tiamat brings forth the chromatic dragons to rage upon the earth, Bahamut brings forth his followers to destroy these powers. For every evil, there is a good there to counter it, and vice versa. While it is of good intentions to follow those of good, one cannot deny the power given to those who follow evil instead. Along this line of thought, it makes me wonder if I instead should be thankful for no god having the power to rule all others.

This then comes to my next theory. This wraith, who has contracted us to begrudgingly help him to bring our goals to fruition, has talked about the idea of using the ‘body’ of a dead deity to inhabit and become that deity. This leads to the idea the gods do not simply die like us mortals do, but rather their essence is simply dispersed into the unknown. If one can learn to manipulate this essence, then they have essentially become a god. Rather than perhaps gods being slain and new ones taking their place, perhaps it is more akin to that of a cycle of rebirth. Perhaps there is an energy out in the phlogiston that, through methods such as a group of individuals giving faith to a set of ideals, allows entities to be birthed and channel this energy in unique ways.

Following this line of thought, this could mean the gods are not everlasting. Old gods who have been forgotten completely will fade back into this energy, allowing a new god to be born. While gods can be good or evil, chaotic or lawful, this energy is truly a neutral force. It does not favor anything, it simply exists. I feel myself not finding this sounding absolutely crazy, because I then think of how those who use arcane arts function. Arcane arts, even divine arts, draw from the weave. The weave helps us focus raw magic into various spells that we can safely cast. To us all magic is pulled from the weave, but perhaps gods can ignore the weave and simply tap into the raw magic that exists. Energy that is beyond our control as a mortal, but not for one that is born from it.

The weave was created by Mystryl, she embodies all magic that we use to this day. Even she has gone through this theory of reincarnation, since today she is more commonly known as Mystra. Even though my powers are limited by the weave, I wonder what is past it. In the center of this energy that gives life to the gods and higher beings, is there perhaps a being that controls the very flow of this energy? Or is this simply the true heart of the nature of the cosmos? And if my theory holds true, and that for every good there is an evil to counter, is there another weave out there? One that mirrors it, a shadow of the one me and every arcane user use.

Perhaps I am writing akin to that of a madman. Genius and insanity are two sides of the same coin after all. In order to pursue these theories, perhaps I must learn to balance myself at even deeper level than I had previously thought. If I can walk among the fine line between good and evil, shadow and light, then perhaps I will then be able to learn the secrets of the gods and their nature.

I must tread carefully, for I fear this path holds no easy route. One slip and I will surely descend into madness…







Higher Atlar
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cpthero2
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Posted - 08 Dec 2020 :  00:10:02  Show Profile  Visit cpthero2's Homepage Send cpthero2 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Runic Inquiries and the Variable of Time

09 AUG 2019

Today I have made an interesting discovering on my research of runes and their precise nature in the arcane. While the method I have learned from this was not the most ideal time to learn this, I will record this nevertheless for future reference.

Sahil, our young diviner, had cast a spell to create a temporary shelter from within the feywilds. The area was a beautiful glade with lush trees bearing fruit encapsulating us within, along with these strange animal servants. Although the area was not quite to what I would prefer for a shelter, and I was rightly chastised for saying so, it could not be argued that this would work as a safe space for us to rest and pull our minds away from the stress of these caverns.

It was in this area that I attempted to create my first rune. The rune was to be a function based off of simple magic, using a cantrip of mine and bounding it’s effect to the progression to time. While all of these concepts were simple to work with for creating what I will call a “runic clock” I had overlooked something I did not realize, I was in an entirely different plane. Not only is the feywilds different to the material plane, but I had to think about how time works in such a vastly different plane. I had decided to wait until we were back in the prime material plane where we were before attempting the runic clock again.
It was then that before we left we had encountered an event that showed me something about time and magic.

Something had tampered with Sahil’s magic, causing the spell that made our shelter become unstable. Before we knew what was happening, we all looked at the echo of ourselves in different times as I would describe it. Some of us had aged, some forward, some even backward. Shino, our noble ronin, and Sahil had become younger. Where as I and the others had aged a significant amount, Chand getting the worst of it. While we were trying to make sense of it all, we were thrown into a realm of what I could only describe as pure chaos. I wish I had the skill to accurately describe what I saw, but I’m not sure I could pass no more than just a man raving about madness.

As we were about to lose our minds to it all, Sahil was able to dispel his magic in time to eject us back to where we were. After emptying the contents of our stomach, we all discovered that everyone was back at their original age. We were unsure what had caused this event, but we will use this spell next time with more caution.

What I did pull from this though was a strange realization. In my testings with runic inscriptions I was treating time as a constant, when in reality it is a variable that is dependent on what plane you are in. I cannot simply make my runic clock work wherever I go without knowing the very nature of planes and how to write for that condition. Time is merely us observing the movements of nature, and is therefore could almost be considered an element in the use of arcane magic.

Now the question lies in how I can account for this new knowledge? I feel I am able to craft my runic clock to work in the prime material plane with the knowledge I have of how time works there, but what if I wish to make a similar rune for any other plane we may travel to? As I discover more about the very nature of magic, the more I discover of what little I truly do know. Perhaps I may not learn everything in my lifetime, I just hope that I learn enough to save everyone from the wrath that is coming upon Toril…








Higher Atlar
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cpthero2
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Posted - 08 Dec 2020 :  00:12:30  Show Profile  Visit cpthero2's Homepage Send cpthero2 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The Evolution of Divinity

05 NOV 2019

((Standing in the awe of the Celestial Plane, Epaphus looks upon his surroundings in wonder. When the group takes the invitation to eat and rest, Epaphus begins to write in his journal.))

I have not only seen Asmodeus, but I now rest upon the grounds that is home to Celestials of all kind. My second home. While it’s splendor is so grand that even I cannot comprehend it all right now, I sit here with a strange feeling inside me. I expected everything to be not seem so…Normal.

Perhaps I had simply not seen all that this plane offers. Perhaps I simply stood on one layer of many. But, this had lead me to thinking back on the idea of deities and divinity itself. Everything here seem like a reflection to the material plane, creatures and fauna live no differently here. Does this imply even this place grows and change as well? I believe so, how else could the hollyphants that fly around us exist? While they hold a substantial amount power due to their homeland, they simply live out a natural life still with seemingly no moral or code to uphold. I was told by our gracious host as well that while no mortal can normally take in all that this plane has to offer, I on the other hand may have the pleasure one day if I were to reside here long enough.

This is a curious concept to learn. Those who worship deities of good see the Celestials as higher beings. Perhaps not as high as the gods themselves, but higher than mortals nonetheless. In this line of thought, this means I am above the men who have protected me from the evils that were found in those caverns. I am even above the most exalted of clerics and sages that live on Toril. I do not see myself above my fellow companions, for I have not nearly done as much for them as they have for me.

This conflict of thought then leads me to ponder. What separates the mortal from the divine? Is there truly that large of a gap as most accept there to be, or is divinity something that anyone can grow and change into if they take the right steps? Perhaps I am at the advantage in that sense, seeing as my being rests between the mortal races and the celestial races? My exalted nature may not come from my ideals yet, but from the blood that runs through and guides my instincts instead. I feel it resounding in my soul to ensure the preservation of Toril, to stop not only the blood moon from crashing into us but to eradicate Zackthalicate. This is the angel residing in me, laying the beat to my ballad of justice. But while I have these reasons to follow this call, all my companions show the same conviction. Perhaps we are all a few steps closer to divinity than most other mortals. Alas, there is still one barrier between us and the gods that I have yet to figure out. If the gods can die and rebirth in their own cycle, what then gives birth to the gods?

Gods may be powerful from those that worship them, but is godhood not the limit to power in all that exist? Perhaps there are beings above gods, capable of giving those worthy godhood? These beings would reside far from the ideals of moral, beyond good and evil, and would instead strive to keep balance in everything that is. This would explain why there are such things and good and evil deities, for they all serve the purpose of balance. And although we mortals are but mere dust to the scale of these beings, we must also serve a purpose. There is a chain of power that exists in this, that much is certain. The question lies is that if I, a mere mortal, can climb this chain and find myself also among the gods?

I wonder if anyone were to read this journal what they would call me. Would I be considered a genius to think of such things, or someone that has gone mad from what he has seen? I may not know how it all connects yet, but if I am to able to live after saving Toril I will visit this plane again. Not only to discover the full extent of my celestial half, but to also seek more answers on divinity itself.









Higher Atlar
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cpthero2
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Posted - 08 Dec 2020 :  00:14:37  Show Profile  Visit cpthero2's Homepage Send cpthero2 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The Evolution of Divinity

05 NOV 2019

((Standing in the awe of the Celestial Plane, Epaphus looks upon his surroundings in wonder. When the group takes the invitation to eat and rest, Epaphus begins to write in his journal.))

I have not only seen Asmodeus, but I now rest upon the grounds that is home to Celestials of all kind. My second home. While it’s splendor is so grand that even I cannot comprehend it all right now, I sit here with a strange feeling inside me. I expected everything to be not seem so... Normal.

Perhaps I had simply not seen all that this plane offers. Perhaps I simply stood on one layer of many. But, this had lead me to thinking back on the idea of deities and divinity itself. Everything here seem like a reflection to the material plane, creatures and fauna live no differently here. Does this imply even this place grows and change as well? I believe so, how else could the hollyphants that fly around us exist? While they hold a substantial amount power due to their homeland, they simply live out a natural life still with seemingly no moral or code to uphold. I was told by our gracious host as well that while no mortal can normally take in all that this plane has to offer, I on the other hand may have the pleasure one day if I were to reside here long enough.

This is a curious concept to learn. Those who worship deities of good see the Celestials as higher beings. Perhaps not as high as the gods themselves, but higher than mortals nonetheless. In this line of thought, this means I am above the men who have protected me from the evils that were found in those caverns. I am even above the most exalted of clerics and sages that live on Toril. I do not see myself above my fellow companions, for I have not nearly done as much for them as they have for me.

This conflict of thought then leads me to ponder. What separates the mortal from the divine? Is there truly that large of a gap as most accept there to be, or is divinity something that anyone can grow and change into if they take the right steps? Perhaps I am at the advantage in that sense, seeing as my being rests between the mortal races and the celestial races? My exalted nature may not come from my ideals yet, but from the blood that runs through and guides my instincts instead. I feel it resounding in my soul to ensure the preservation of Toril, to stop not only the blood moon from crashing into us but to eradicate Zackthalicate. This is the angel residing in me, laying the beat to my ballad of justice. But while I have these reasons to follow this call, all my companions show the same conviction. Perhaps we are all a few steps closer to divinity than most other mortals. Alas, there is still one barrier between us and the gods that I have yet to figure out. If the gods can die and rebirth in their own cycle, what then gives birth to the gods?

Gods may be powerful from those that worship them, but is godhood not the limit to power in all that exist? Perhaps there are beings above gods, capable of giving those worthy godhood? These beings would reside far from the ideals of moral, beyond good and evil, and would instead strive to keep balance in everything that is. This would explain why there are such things and good and evil deities, for they all serve the purpose of balance. And although we mortals are but mere dust to the scale of these beings, we must also serve a purpose. There is a chain of power that exists in this, that much is certain. The question lies is that if I, a mere mortal, can climb this chain and find myself also among the gods?

I wonder if anyone were to read this journal what they would call me. Would I be considered a genius to think of such things, or someone that has gone mad from what he has seen? I may not know how it all connects yet, but if I am to able to live after saving Toril I will visit this plane again. Not only to discover the full extent of my celestial half, but to also seek more answers on divinity itself.







Higher Atlar
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cpthero2
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Posted - 08 Dec 2020 :  00:16:58  Show Profile  Visit cpthero2's Homepage Send cpthero2 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Loss, Amnesia, and Conviction

Take my mind, break my bones. My spirit will stay true.

17 OCT 2020

What is the price of a memory?

This is what I contemplated when I looked upon Thought Taker and made contact with it. A living weapon, constructed with the hunger of amassing the memories and mind of those it strikes within itself. Certainly a powerful and useful tool that can be used to ensure we meet our goal of saving Toril. It’s offer seemed simple, knowledge and control of it in exchange for a memory of mine. It seemed harmless at the a moment, after all what is one memory to the collective of a person who has experienced so much? Like devils and contracts though, the price is cannot be fully understood until after all is said and done. I came back to the group, wielding Thought Taker like a man who was trained his whole life with it. As impressive as it was, Danjo had planted that seed in mind of what I had actually done. “What memory did it take?” How could I know? At first I thought it impossible to figure it out. But then I realized it may not be so far fetched to know what it took, after all if a puzzle is missing only a single piece then everything else around it will tell you what piece is missing.

I turned my attention to the other artifact though. While I have dealt with the madness brought upon of the far realms before, it would be foolish to not take caution before attempting to push through that madness once more. Using Thought Taker I established a bridge and began my contact with the eldritch relic. After the alien thoughts and feelings rushed through me I managed to hold myself together still. Conversing with the relic made me realize though that what I could achieve with it may fundamentally change me. It offered the means, with Thought Taker, for total domination over any being. While appealing at first I saw why the relic offered this once I conversed with it more. While it may help achieve my goal, it wants to do so only to then have me dominate all those around me, so that it may swim through the misery and relish in it’s twisted desires. I felt sickened, with thoughts flowing to me from an unknown part of my mind. I felt that taking this deal, even though it would help me in this moment, would ultimately be a betrayal of what I’ve been fighting for this entire time. Why would I try and become the controller when I have struggled to ensure the undoing of this apocalypse so that everyone on Toril maintained their freedom? Why do I care about everyone’s freedom? What do I mean by freedom?

Nonetheless, I refused the relics offer. I went back down and informed everyone we should move on, I was not ready to lose myself more just to take what seemed to be a shortcut that would eventually lead me to madness. We examined more on what these walls of darkness could be, and before I could say much I saw Chand reach into it. For a second his form stretched, as if trying to use his teleportative magic, and then he was gone. Not long after he appeared back, with the eldritch relic in his hands. It appears the deal I was not willing to make was suitable enough for Chand. It wasn’t long after that we realized the conflict we just threw ourselves in.

After some exploration we encountered Shar once more, except it was not the Shar of our, but from this time instead. Unsurprisingly after she had ran through our thoughts we were deemed to dangerous to help, and was left to our own devices again. She mentioned though that she was surprised her chosen will become a deity, which some of my allies speculated to be Leira. Leira…why do I feel off when hearing that deity? The name means nothing to me, and yet the thought of that notion ends up just making me feel empty, as if a part of me is missing. Does Leira have something to do with the memory I lost? Leira is about illusion and lies, so it could be possible. Perhaps my previous writings in my journal may clue me in? I took a few minutes to scan through my journal, which almost leaves me with more questions than answers. Along with my various arcane notes and theories there were a few odd pages. The pages contained the full dogma of Leira, an illustration of her symbol, and plans to purchase a glassteel mask. Was I a follower of Leira? The idea seems almost impossible to me. As a follower of Oghma, Leira is anathema to him. Lies just obscure knowledge and mislead…right? Why am I questioning myself on that? My faith rests in Oghma, and yet there is something in the back of my mind. It sits there, swirling around and planting doubt in even my core beliefs. Why has my journey revolved so much around Leira?

Almost lost in thought, Chand asked to speak to me telepathically. I was unsure, Thought Taker whispering to me, but I figured we should talk. It was then that we found out that we could not achieve the true potential of these artifacts unless one of us possessed both. We tried to converse about this in full honesty, but the discordant harmonies of hate the relics held for another rung through us chaotically. We were lucky to both be of strong will, for this maddening noise between the two almost brought me to madness. I tried to convince Chand, to give up the relic to me so that he may have back what he sacrificed for his relic. He insisted he take Thought Taker though, willing to sacrifice more just to ensure we meet our goal. I felt a heaviness in me, as if I was prepared to lose everything of myself to ensure everyone else lives on. Why do I feel such a strong kinship with these people? What exactly was taken from me? I don’t know, but I told Thought Taker to keep my memory, as payment for Chand to use him. I was going to let Chand sacrifice himself more if I could help it.

In the end their discordant hate for each other almost brought us to madness again, but I managed to hand over Thought Taker. Things then went black for a few moments, and then all my senses rushed back to me. It was, for a second, so overwhelming that I had to lean over and eject the bile within me. My allies ensured I was fine, and after a moment I was able to stand again. I worry of what that eldritch relic may be trying to influence Chand to do, but I oddly hold faith that he will still do the right thing. It was then that something oddly clicked. While I may be unsure of what I had lost, the celestial blood flowing through me seems to be ringing something inside me when I look upon my allies. I am filled with confidence again, I am filled with conviction. I may have lost a part of me, but that was not a deep enough cut. My core still knows, that which has formed and solidified in this journey. My goal has never changed, the thing that has driven me so far in all this chaos. Save Toril. I felt a comfort in that, knowing that while I may be suffering from the same loss of memory as my allies, we all still hold the same core belief. We must save Toril.

I felt myself coming to terms with my loss, studying the arcane runes and helping my allies with what I do best, my knowledge. We had been guided by the relics to head to the center of this building because that will help us achieve our goal. But then the door opened, and I gazed upon that shard and realized the true danger of what this eldritch relic wanted to dominate…

Pandorem.








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cpthero2
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Posted - 20 Dec 2020 :  23:33:34  Show Profile  Visit cpthero2's Homepage Send cpthero2 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The Parchment of Truth

What is a Lie but Ink on the Paper?

17 DEC 2020

As I laid my hands upon that shimmering mask and looked into my reflection I was by myself, the details of everything melting away into a gentle white landscape. My eyes stared off into the distance, trying to think of what colors would look best upon the area ahead of me. It was if I was an artist in the middle of his next portrait. All the details seemed to be there, but was contemplating of what emotion this piece should be evoking. I turned to the footsteps behind me, straightening my clothes slightly, as if I was expecting a guest. The steps made a dinstinct noise of walking on stone, lines of black filling in the details of where I stood. I was standing on a balcony, connecting to a study littered with scrolls and tomes. The figure’s form emerged from the study. Its body was black, contrasting harshly with all the white, save for its glowing wings that matched its yellow eyes.

“You seem to be struggling with something young one.” The figure speaked, its gaze shifting to the same landscape as I was looking upon. “You seem to have everything figured out, so what is stopping you?”
I turned back, taking in the view again with a strange melancholy. “What is the end goal of my kind? To eventually become a native to the celestial plane, or to live as another gifted among men?”
“Is that not your decision to make? After all, that is the gift your god offers you.” The figure explained, walking up to stand next to me. “Or perhaps, you wish there was a clear answer instead.”
“Perhaps…I’m sure there is an answer. The problem is that I always learn enough to have more questions instead.” I folded my arms on top of the railing, my eyes searching for something between the black and white. “Even if I dedicated my entire existence to knowledge, will it truly be enough time to figure it all out?”

The figure paused for a second, its body giving no discernable emotion. “What is truth to you?”

“The content of truth does not matter, merely what you decide to do with that truth.”

“An odd answer. If we stood in total darkness and I said there was light, would I be right then?”

“If there was no magic at play I would disagree, claiming you may have succumbed to madness.”

“Then there is such truths that are undeniable then?”

I looked back at the figure, who was still staring off into the distance. “What are you trying to get at?”

“Merely that your perception of truth may be slightly off still. If the content of truth does not matter, then what is the value of a lie?”

I paused, taking a moment to get lost in the dizzying white as I contemplated. “A lie is only as valuable as the truth that covers it. Lies cannot exist without truth, but without lies would there even need to be a concept of Truth? I struggle at how I seek the truth so much and yet call myself a Leiran.”

“Leira does not care for truth. What matters to her is to look beyond it all and decide yourself on how you wish to shape it. So I ask again, what is truth to you?”

“…I think I understand now. Truth is simply a parchment of a scroll, it is something that cannot be argued to be anything else. What Leira gives me is simply the quill to write my own story upon the parchment, giving me the freedom to decide what can be argued as fact or fiction. It does not matter what I write, but that I am not bound by some other force to write what they wish everyone should read as the truth. It does not matter what my kind is supposed to do, but rather what I feel I must do.”

The figure turned to me, it’s gaze almost seeming to stare right into my soul. “And what must you do right now?”

“Trust my very being in the lady of the mists and preserve the world I hold dear.”

“And if this path assures only but death to you?”

“Death does not concern me. As long as I can serve Leira, in body or soul, then I can rest assured knowing I did what felt right to me.” As the words left my mouth I felt somehow at peace, even letting out a small laugh. “Perhaps Leira will even grant me a true celestial body, permitting me to be one of her angels.”

The figure paused for a moment, and while I did not feel it I couldn’t help but feel a smile on its face. “Only time will tell young one. Look out into the world then, it is almost time to move on.”
As it said that I looked out to the landscape, and to my suprise I saw a burst of orange coming out of the horizon. The orange turned to a blinding yellow, flooding the world with color. My body filled with excitement as I saw the colors bleed through and mix together. The green of the earth bleeding away into the blue of the rivers, the blinding yellow of the sun playing with the various shades of orange in the sky. The colors overloaded my senses as they grew more and more vibrant, forcing me to shut my eyes.

By the time I opened them again I was back in the tower, my hand drifting away from the mask that now rested on my face. I looked upon my companions, seeing the silvery gleam of glasteel upon all our faces now. While we all may differ on how we interpret Leira’s message, it is clear that the end goal is all the same to us. A smile spread across my face, for as long as they are here with me I am content with whatever outcome may come from this point on. After all, I know I have given it my all now.







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