The Imperial Wrecking Crew

The Paladin

She stared at her reflection in the small silver mirror that was propped up against her satchel. Swollen eyes looked back at her: swollen, red, teary and “too close together”. “Too dark” she recalled him telling her. She was too broad, too skinny; her hair was too brown, and too curly. She was too boisterous, and too tall. His voice echoed inside her head, and laughed at her through the small mirror; her mother’s gift to her for their wedding. She began to braid her hair in her usual way: tight plait in the Eastern style with tendrils feeding all through to hide her curls. The young girl continued to look at her from the mirror, eyes still swollen, and scared.

A Paladin does not fear. She remembers her faith, and it gives her strength.

She was not a paladin then. She was a young bride; far too young to know what it meant to be a woman or a wife… or a mother. She looked away from the mirror.

A Paladin does not cower. Tempus shines his light, and presents her true battle.

The girl in the mirror changed. Her eyes were now black and blue from bruises and exhaustion. She was still a bride, but also a fighter in training. “Can take down a grown man, but can’t seem to carry a boy.” Her mother’s cackling this time.

A Paladin does not heed the words of mortals, only Tempus’s might.

The eyes seemed darker now, and still damp and younger. “Briar, look at you, no wonder he wants the chambermaid.” Choking back her tears, she breathed in deep and picked up the mirror. She scowled into its depths, before throwing it back into her sack.

A Paladin is faith, and nothing less.

Balystia picked up her halberd, and walked out of the tent. Ciara had made breakfast.

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The Hell we are fighting. Happenings
THings going on that affect Oerth and all campaigns.

Jonathan the Emperor’s brother and an Inquisitor, apparently, falsely soul shredded someone. This can happen if they do not fully Inquire (or perform an inquisition) on a subject. When an inquisitor performs an inquisition, they can see all crimes the suspect has committed, down to any and all crimes and wrong doings to the soul. Once this is done, if they suspect is deemed to have committed grievous wrongs, the Inquisitor can then take their very life essence into themselves and shred their very soul. This means the subject can not be resurrected, and they do not even go to the Abyss. It is as if they never existed. The Inquisitor retains their essence until they have been cleansed. (this is a secret process and can not be discussed here) But they retain a bit of the essence which boosts their own abilities and powers.

If an Inquisitor shreds a suspects soul and the subject has not committed crimes worthy of it, the Inquisitor risks their own soul in turn. Add to that, they risk the revenge of all those they have shredded, by the bit of essence they have retained. This can not only kill the Inquisitor, but shred their own souls as well. It can allow the bits of essence to form into one, or many entities using parts of the Inquisitors soul. There are other issues that can happen, not to be listed here.

This most often happens when they shred a soul without an Inquisition. Often in the heat of battle. Or with an extremely rare fit of rage. As Inquisitors are conditioned to not fall victim to their baser negative emotions, especially in battle.

It appears that when Jonathan was brought through the veil, that he had wrongfully shredded a soul. He was quickly taken to the city of Olympia. His health and current condition is unknown.

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Another letter home

Father,
This world is so dark, the sun never shines. Missing home and everyone a lot. Kinda neat, got to see Gwen again, she seems to like this odd place. It even smells weird here. Gregor stayed behind at the last realm we visited. Odd, when I travelled with him, I was always on the edge of battle, without the honor to guard him, I am always on edge. Dar, Roy, and Znomerial all believe in tactics, I get the value, but it still seems weird not just flying into a fight. With Gregor gone, I wonder who we are now, I mean folks called us Imperial Wrecking Crew, but I am the only one from the crew still on the quest.

How are things? I miss everyone so much. Please let them know I’m not dead yet, and am looking forward to an army of crushing hugs, hoping the hounds still recognize me, Who is off adventuring these days? How is Uncle Yarp? My sisters, my brother? The nieces and nephews? Hope my feet find their way home soon.

Much love,
Ciara

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The Log Book of Captain Karl Fischer

This is an interesting realm. Full of danger, monsters, and monsterous people, and an overwhelming miasma of evil.

Good thing I’m no Paladin.

I have finally had occasion to let loose a bit in combat. We worked to defend the town we rested in from a nightly attack by the denizens of the mist, and I brought down a taste of true Chaos to the monsters below. It felt… Good. I don’t particularly like this realm, but the chaos that permeates is surprisingly comfortable, in much the same way as a stormy sea.

All the same, I feel our time here is coming to an end, and I miss my boat. I will ride the tides of fate as the winds that blow will allow, but I will do my best to tack my way back home all the same.

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Ravenloft: Report 01
Dar hasn't spoken in awhile

After Action: Pandera

Have defeated the World Dragon of this realm. No casualties in our party. Good news that we do not have to deal with the rebuilding of the infrastructure here. Greggor and Deidra are staying in this realm to guide the new belief in Tempus who had no strength here before. Onyxia is being recalled for additional training under Liad.

Tempus has given those that remain gifts as we transfer to the next realm. It is… Good to be back in my own skin.

Initial Report: Ravenloft

Passed through portal and have been met by the contact. Dragons have taken form of horses to allow unnoticed travel, unknown how long this will last. Escorted through the Mist to a safe location controlled by the Lord of the land, an ally vampire who is married to our Contact. Have visited nearby town to gain intelligence on weapons of the land and area knowledge.

Troop Status:

Ballystia: Morale is low since her close friend has stayed behind with Greggor, as well as the Evil and Chaos that ooze from every sense of this realm. Getting back to military habits and discipline should help, smiting the evil would help more, but would also likely make us all dead.

Ciarra: Appears to be a little lost without being directly charged with protecting Greggor, but otherwise is fully combat effective.

Roy: Is invincible. He says so himself.

Karl: Seems more at home in the Chaos of this realm than most, and his bond with his Dragon is unnerving on occasion. No recommendations at this time.

Znamerel: Seems largely unphased by the evil or the chaos. Assigned to help protect the Paladin

Threats:
Werewolves – High: Bites infectious. Immune to or heal quickly from most damage. Use of Silver and Fire strongly suggested.

Vampires – High: Possibly infectious? Immune to some damage. Silver, wood, and fire strongly suggested.

Wendigo – Moderate? – Unknown threat, further assessment required.

Dragons – High: Breath weapons, magic, and riders are all forces to be reckoned with.

Vampire Lords – Extreme: Very, very powerful mages / vampires with their own private armies and large territories. Exercise extreme caution, do not engage if possible to avoid.

The Mist – High?: Unknown effects, possible transport to unknown worlds. Strong Chaos field. Impairs vision, raises risk of ambush.

Demons – Low to moderate: Demons may be hunting me.

Gear Assessment: Have obtained new weapon, a cutting fist blade imbued and engineered directly to combat the major threats of the realm.

Mission Assessment:
Time Constraint: Mission requires readiness at any moment as Dragon Gate appearance is sporadic and multiple forces have an interest. Lawful Good companions add challenges that have been handled to a degree. As long as we follow the rules of this world and not give away our presence until it is too late to react effectively to us, I believe we have a high chance for success.

The longer we wait on high alert, the slower we will be capable of responding. Free time should be spent training or attempting rest and relaxation to maintain maximum combat effectiveness.

And with Greggor occupied, we might even be able to use tactics for once.

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Balystia's Journal
Paladin's Thoughts

All Praise and Glory to Tempus
I have not been so bold has to chronicle thus far. It has been strange not having the benefits of my dearest friend’s company anymore. We both knew we would eventually part ways, and she has been my rock for these last twenty years. Yet, it still seems too soon. Tempus watch over my friend as she continues in her walk of a magus.

May I walk in His Stride
Balystia

All Praise and Glory to Tempus
I feel a pressing loneliness with the ongoing travels. Is this what homesickness feels like? Ciara speaks of it some, with her family and Duchy. However, other than Nixie, I am beginning to wonder what it is that was home. Tempus is my Light and my Heart, yet somehow my heart is heavy. I think I place myself in misery too much. I must remind myself of purpose. Tempus be All.

May I walk in His Stride
Balystia

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Karl's Private Log

Since waking up in a dinghy all those years ago, I have been killed at least twice, accidentally killed myself once, hunted and killed our enemies without mercy, and even eaten the heart of a fallen foe. I have sailed oceans that brought me closer to my god, and trod deserts where I felt no further from him. I have fished, cooked, healed, sailed, hiked, bled, and sweat for my friends, my country, and the gods who guide us along our path. I have seen Temples raised to friendly gods, and destroyed temples of the evil ones.

I ride a dragon, K’Sellis, and we have been at each other’s sides even through the veil of death and back. Truth to tell, it is hard to tell where one of us begins and the other ends.

Perhaps, if we ever return to Oerth, we shall explore the seas and oceans. We look forward to a time when we again can spend our afternoons with our feet in the water and fish on our line.

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A letter home

Roy said to practice my writing, and Lobo said it would make Tempus happy, so here I am writing… me, Ciara, writing! The pen feels unnatural, still not sure how Roy can say the pen is mightier than the sword, give me a sword anyday. Hope spring planting went well, and cant wait to see and smell home, play with all of my nieces and nephews, check the foals, plow, harvest, plant, drill the troops, and hug every last one of you, and a hot bath. The time training at Lobo’s keep was a real treat, being able to train with a dragon, and be close enough to home to spend time at the keep with all of you is more precious than anything I can ever come across in my duties, no matter what happens, never forget how important family is. I think Kazul my dragon friend enjoyed the family too, Thanks for welcoming her in on our off days she is far from home. Long after this is over, I have promised she will always find a welcome roost among us should she survive this mission, even if I die. Please be sure to should I die, Kazul is an honorable friend and fierce warrior.

So much has happened, the farm life seems so distant right now, I really miss it. One of our first jobs after training involved wild magic, yall know how i feel about wild magic. Something bad happened, and Sushimon was killed. I couldn’t do anything to stop it, his dragon immediately took off on a suicide mission, i still mourn them both. Icedragons are a fearsome enemy. He didn’t fight with the Imperial Wrecking crew for long, but he fought fiercely. Please find any family he has, and make sure they are taken care of, and make a donation to the temple in his memory.

We have a new fighter Lobo brought in, his name is Znomerial, he is a real dragonrider, part of Lobo’s own flight! We are having to learn how to fight with him, well you know how it is adjusting to fighting with Gregor, and I am learning so much from him about this whole air combat thing.

I hope this letter finds everyone well, thank you for all that you do for the duchy, the kingdom and each other.

If Tempus smiles on me,I hope to be home soon.
Much Love,
Ciara

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Most Humble Adventures
May your life be interesting

Dear readers, again I must open with humble apology, I am bound by oath, and honor, and by deities to not share all that I have seen. Suffice it to say, life has been cursed of late with interesting.
We spent a delightful few months on holiday back on Oearth, the temple is coming along nicely, and the bardic college is quickly gaining reknown. The local ladies are lovely in face, body, and voice, and the wines as rich and fine as a vintner would dare.
_Gregor gleefully used the time to drill his troops, Ballistia to get familiar with being a Baroness – accompanied by of all things a kender named Creena. Creena has proven delightfully infuriating to the Lord Gregor. The kenders mischief is so sweet and innocent, and Gregor’s increasing attempts to strangle her are all the more comical. Ciara unsurprisingly takes much joy in spending time with Creena, and all kender seem to have an affinity to her.
Dar, Phoebe, Onyxia, and Sushimon disappeared on their own adventures for a time. Karl fished, and baked fish cookies on his stone boat.
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Much too soon our time of dalliance ended, as a new threat of Takhesis loomed. We were sent to Lord Lobo’s Keep, where we met with some curious and stately peoples. This meeting felt much like an interview, and so we discovered it was. Our dinner companions were dragons in human form. Of them, some left, some chose to partner with the Imperial Wrecking Crew & Friends. I am honored to call Prism, a Crystal Dragon, both friend and comrade. This is deeper than an agreement to fight, it is a bond of death. Here at Lord Lobo’s keep we learned to fight on dragonback, and in flights. Truly an awe striking experience. Gregor, as usual managed to destroy things not meant to be destroyed, his dragon partner Sassifraz, a copper dragon, is well suited to his mayhem. Prism and I depend more on brains, than brawn.
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While training, we were pitted against an acquaintance of old, an ancient black litch dragon, whom I met fought against, and then for, more than a thousand years ago. To my delight, before we were to square off, he asked to once more hear my music and called me friend. Upon hearing my songs, he declared he would not even spar against me, the rest of my party was not so lucky. True to his word, in combat he fought fiercely against others of my team, but not I, his teammembers did not afford me that same kindness, all for the best really, we were there to learn to fight.

Daily we grow more adept fighting on dragonback, soon the day will come when we are pulled from practice back to the front lines, I feel the drums of war, a Dragonwar is coming.

More adventures to come, as long as I draw breath from my body, I shall document all, and share all that I am allowed to.

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New adventures await

Gentle reader, my apologies, I have been remiss in my duties of reporting our adventures. So much has happened since I last wrote. We survived intergalactic battles in ether, spelljamming, wild magic, and kender. I am happy to report that kender are absolutely as delightful (and maddening) as legend tells. I was able to acquire a vary rare bardic book of lost knowledge, nearly bankrupting me, but well worth it. I believe Ciara came out of those adventures most changed. But that my friends is a seperate story. I am happy to report that after much coaxing, pushing and even a lecture from Tempest, Ciara has learned to read and write. Dar remains with the party, as does the Tempest loving Ballistia and our rescuee Karl and his fish cookies. Also traveling with us is the fearless Onyxia, and the mischievious Phoebe, and the honorable Sushimon. I feel I have forgotten someone, ah yes, Gregor! Gregor remains gleefully focusing extra energy on creative ways to kill me, the gods themselves have forgiven my misstep sooner than he. I believe I shall focus now, not perhaps on the grand arc of the adventure, but perhaps on the small stories within. In the near future, I may ask Ciara to write of her adventures so we can have the word straight from one of the heroes of the empire.

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