Legends of Moonsong City

Haloisi's Evening
Haloisi

Haloisi perks up a bit at the mention of libraries, but then her hopes fall again as she recalls how futile her efforts were in the last library the party had discovered. She listened for a while, and tried to remain interested, but any tale as told through the filter of a religious fanatic was never a good source of fact. Thelonius seemed interested, of course, but Haloisi was not terribly. She excused herself as if to get a drink and allowed the others to get what information they could. Even if the woman had firsthand account of the ruins she spoke of, it seemed doubtful that she studied them in any meaningful way.

The celebrations were still going strong. Haloisi tried not to think about what the lizard and menfolk were eating around the fires. She had tried the dragon meat out of sheer powerful curiosity, but as to the origins of the the baser meats and questionable fermented beverages passed among the fires she had the opposite of curiosity.

Elven cloak up, Haloisi stealthily worked her way among the crude huts toward the one designated for her and Lyra, who seemed to be Halosi’s permanent bunk-mate. Of course, if Haloisi had to choose among the party, Lyra is who she would pick every time. The girl certainly knew well of discretion from her apparently larcenous background. Haloisi returned the favor easily and naturally by not disclosing what she had pieced together about the girl. Some knowledge was not meant for others, which was only reasonable, but all knowledge must be known by Haloisi herself, and had best dare not attempt to escape her.

Haloisi slipped into the hut and collapsed to her knees, rapidly casting Alter Self upon her features and concentrating to change her skin hue. As soon as she was satisfied, she summoned the diary from her bag of holding. She brushed back her hair to keep it from falling in front of her and blocking the light. The light was poor in this hut, barely enough to read by from ambient firelight around the camp, but she did not cast dancing lights. If the book were subject to enemy scrying, she did not want to so much as give them the fact that she could use magic.

The diary opened to the same page once more, a passage about lizardfolk and their place in the ancient Crystal Empire. As fascinating as that was the first two times she studied the passage, she could not see any reason to continue to read it. Haloisi approached the book methodically, which is her way.

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Almost unconsciously, she detected magic on the book once more to try to learn the nature of its wardings. The person who created the book clearly had been evil, and his or her creation was a reflection of its maker. Haloisi felt it in the magical resonance, which made study uncomfortable, but did nothing to lessen her passion for doing so. Otherwise, she was having just about as much success discovering its nature as she had in the weeks she had spent studying the spear she had discovered in the Old City, seemingly aware of its surroundings in the presence of evil, but steadfast in its refusal to reveal to Haloisi just how aware it was.

It was difficult to concentrate on the study for other reasons as well. Haloisi’s seemingly sentient spear, now called Tooth after having been reforged with a dragon tooth spearhead, had misgivings about the book’s presence. It fed Haloisi’s own unease with the artifact with an occasional inarticulate murmur that was clearly a warning. Haloisi did not require the spear’s indications to know that the knowledge was dangerous, but forbidden knowledge was always the best kind. She swept her hair back once more and held it there, but needed both hands to turn pages and pry at the book so it just swept forward again.

Time and futility wore on her as she pressed on without results. Under normal study conditions, such a protracted battle would have been a joy, but holding a book sought by very powerful beings actively seeking it and, incidentally, her demise, stuck out here in the stagnant salt swamp that was the first water she had ever encountered that she did not like, pressed for time… Her patience was wearing fast.

Fatigue from detecting magic, watching everywhere at once to ensure no one, not even Lyra, was privy to her research, maintaining her disguise, knowing that every moment she had the book outside of her bag of holding increased its chances of being discovered by divination… Frustration was not quite the word for what she felt.

After an hour of reading the same damned passage no matter how many pages she turned, attempting different ways of holding the book, detecting magic, seeking secret ways to unlock or activate it fully, Tooth buzzing its displeasure at her study and the thousandth time sweeping her hair back from her eyes to keep it from blocking what little light she had, Haloisi was so primed with frustration that she was ready to burn the book. And tear out her hair. But of course Haloisi would never take out her anger on a book.

Haloisi slammed the diary shut and shoved it back into her bag of holding. Snatching her silver dagger, Haloisi measured out a proper length of hair with one hand, concentrating against the foe she could defeat. She cut through as precisely as she could with a sharp silver dagger at night in a lizardman hut.

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Her obsessive concentration given a new task, she methodically worked her way around her blue hair and cut it exactly and with as much perfection she could manage. It was strangely therapudic. Her mind slowly unloaded all thoughts of the book, tooth, the salt marshes, the insects, and instead she lost herself in the process of crafting her hair.

She lit a Dancing Light then, brushing her hair out with her fingers and using the dagger as a silvered mirror to judge her work. It seemed well, but even with the bright light and her masterfully crafted dagger, it was an impression at best. But she got the impression she had done well. Haloisi sighed, still beset by mild frustration, and it was building again now that her task was done.

She undressed and washed with summoned water. How long had it been since she was able to fully swim in clean water? To fully submerge and enjoy the oneness of the life aquatic, moving with and against the currents, waves and eddies? Haloisi dressed dejectedly and wandered from the hut. She moved away from the fires toward the swamp. Surely not all of the marsh was fetid and poisonous? But she knew better, and discovered as much.

The marshes were familiar. Haloisi’s childhood home of Bydune was separated from land by an expanse of salt marshes, but those were clean sea water marshes regularly exchanged with the tides, fresh water from land, and rains. She had hidden in those marshes once, long ago, as a child on the run from home. It was where she discovered…

Haloisi stashed her clothes and quickly waded into the foul waters, Tooth in hand, wearing naught but her chain belt and bag of holding. Then Haloisi began to dance. She preferred to dance with her spear and trident these days; they added flourish and embellishment to her dance and aided her concentration. Moreover, of late it seemed she was in battle more times than not when she found an opportunity to waterdance. The waters roiled and tumbled, splashed and fountained upward. She tried to remove the filth from the cursed marsh and return the fresh water, or at least clean salt water, but no matter how passionately she sang and danced, it was far beyond her power. Her freshly cleaned skin felt the foulness keenly. But Haloisi was determined. She was distracted by Tooth buzzing in her head again. Of course!

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Haloisi held the spear aloft and it began to glow softly, matching the moonlit wisps of ethereal fog that rose from the marshes away from the areas that Haloisi had violently disturbed moments ago. She turned slowly at first, singing at as strong and deep a murmur as she could manage. The marsh water followed after her as if being slowly spun around her dancing form like a skirt. Faster she turned, creating a vortex that pulled the heaviest and most foul water to the center.

The water hole she danced in became entirely engulfed in a whirlpool in the quiet moonlight. It was quiet, Haloisi thought distantly. The night creatures silenced earlier when she had caused so much noise with her earlier attempts. She put the distant thought out of her mind and concentrated fully on the vortex. The rush of the water now was not so much loud as it was powerful in sound as the waters rushed to keep up with Haloisi’s rapid spinning. She thrust the spear down into the water and its glow intensified. The water took on the glow. She felt clean water separate from the filth and go flying outward, replaced by more filth which was then cleaned in turn.

Haloisi lost track of time as the progressively cleaner waters surged around her, separating faster as Tooth glowed brighter. After an immeasurable moment of time, only clean water surrounded her. Haloisi ended the dance abruptly, causing the vortex to collapse violently as she plunged victoriously under the water.

She danced gently to maintain her place under the water as the former salt marsh water calmed. With Tooth in her hand, she had no need to breath under the water, another miraculous property. She floated out of thought and time. A weariness she had not felt came over her, but the comfort and contentment of being submerged in good, clean water overcame the feeling. In some ways, the fatigue added to the satisfaction.

The meditation was complete and total. Haloisi’s mind and body were one. She had been unaware of how out of synch she had become, but she was now firmly centered. It felt absolutely fabulous. If she were not currently under water, she would sigh in perfect happiness. Haloisi knew she needed sleep soon. It would not do to fall asleep here and lose grasp on Tooth as she slept.

Haloisi cast Water Walk on herself, surging to the surface that was now four feet overhead from where she sat meditating on the bottom. She felt so good that she danced as she rose twirling atop of the water with Tooth held in her hands over her head, spinning on her toes. Her new hair flew out behind her, and she water danced herself dry.

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She marveled at how this water hole had changed from her dance. The former filth had built the area up into a pool surrounded by a perfectly circular mound thirty feet in diameter. This pool of fresh water would remain. Her satisfaction grew. She heard a whimper and sharply jerked her chin toward the sound.

Lyra sat hugging herself around the knees, rocking back and forth. Oddly, the child’s boots were off beside her. Her wide, wet eyes were large in the moonlight. Her face went through a montage of emotion, beginning with deep sorrow and loss, transitioning into a very brief flash of relief, then settling on anger. Very clear anger, and very clearly directed in Haloisi’s general direction. Haloisi knew she must look as puzzled as she felt. She smiled at Lyra, whose scowl deepened.

“Oh, hello child. Did you see the dance? Look at what it made!” Haloisi said proudly, gesturing to her sides and smiling. Her smile slipped a bit as Lyra’s face became more angry. It made no sense whatsoever. Of course the child was hydrophobic, but Haloisi had not invited Lyra to come here, nor forced Lyra to watch her beautifully violent and graceful acts of hydroforming.

“It’s perfectly all right, child. See? This pool is filled with clean water now.” Haloisi tried. Lyra’s face was stone. There was a long moment of awkward silence on Haloisi’s part as she waited for Lyra to say something, do something besides glower at her angrily, and she fidgeted as she levitated nakedly a few inches above the water. Haloisi couldn’t help but think that she had done something wrong, but for the life of her she could not figure it out.

“I, um, I cut my hair. Do you like it?” Haloisi tried nervously, touching her waves of blue locks to make sure it had dried in the correct place. She barely ducked Lyra’s first boot, which landed with a splash. “Lyra!”

“You were underwater for ten minutes. TEN MINUTES!” Lyra shouted, her face contorted in pain, her eyes full of wet rage.

“Lyra, I…” Haloisi was at a loss.

“I thought you were drowning. I took off my boots…” Lyra threw her other boot, which Haloisi deflected numbly. Then she sat back down and sobbed. In between Haloisi made out words, “I couldn’t come after you. It would have been my fault if you…”

“Oh, child, I am so sorry.” Haloisi said, understanding Lyra’s meaning, and she meant it earnestly. “I wouldn’t fault you, of course with your irrational phobia you couldn’t possibly be expected to be capable of…”

“Just fetch my boots and bring them back to the hut. Leave them outside because I won’t be there. I’ll find somewhere else to sleep tonight.” Lyra snapped. And with that Lyra stalked off, breaking into a sprint before Haloisi could reach the shore.

Haloisi stood stunned. She was unaware that she mattered this much to Lyra. Of course, their entire party had become close, and were becoming closer than Haloisi would generally care for purely as a matter of effort involved in personal relationships and their inherent distractions from important study. But for whatever reason, Lyra had seemed to latch on to Haloisi and Lorran, of all people, the most tightly. Haloisi did not spend much time studying psychology other than to learn to become a better negotiator and, when necessary, manipulator, but she could see how an urchin of the streets would have such a need. Were she and Lorran become Lyra’s placebo for her missing parents? She shuddered at the thought. While Lyra had chosen her female influence expertly, her choice of male role model was sharply lacking.

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Dorila's Tale

The Lizardfolk are overjoyed to see that you have returned and have chased off the Ghost who Drowns. Now it is you that they will serve. They search for something that you and they might both like to eat, eventually settling on some wild beasts that seem like a cross between a rat and a beaver.

As the night progresses, your interest in the history of the Crystal Kingdom causes Dorila to ask if you’d like to hear the tale about how the Blessed One of Pelor, Ron, had freed some of her people from the cursed city. Haloisi had seemed slightly indifferent, but as Lyra went to nudge her, Thifal spoke up and expressed his interest in the tale. Perhaps it would have a clue they could use.

Dorila explained that when her people were cursed by Pelor and Erathis all of those years ago, there were some of their leaders who had devised a way to avoid the curse through the application of a mystic ritual meant to cheat death itself. By locking away their spirits, they could avoid the divine curse, and instead live without fear of death through any sort of mortal ending. It was the highest form of conceit, that they would be able to choose to live like an immortal god instead of living in service of those same gods.

Haloisi chafes a little at the thought that one should always obey, but these tieflings are a deeply religious people, and she wanted to hear more of the story, more than she wanted to debate one’s role and responsibilities to a god.

Thifal shook his head approvingly meantime, as a quick flicker of doubt in his eyes went unnoticed by all.

These ones, these would bring about an even more significant curse. The entire city where they dwelt and hid from the just and righteous gods would be taken from this world, and locked in a nightmarish realm of shadow and timelessness.

That cursed city would be lost to all for hundreds of years. Until the Golden Heroes and the Blessed One, Ron. In the time of the First Light, Unut the Unblemished, Ron and his heroes arrived. They had a means through a magic crystal to actually open a portal to the cursed city and seek out the knowledge that had been lost.

They journeyed within the realm of shadow and madness seeking out the knowledge of how to craft their star metal. But what they found within the cursed city was well beyond their power.

Giant machines powered by glowing crystals stalked them. They had been set to guard, and even centuries later, they guarded the city from that which was from outside. Powerful magic wards caused backlashes of arcane energy when they unleashed their more powerful spells, and the aspects of divine magic was weak. This forced them to use lesser magics and stealth to seek out the libraries within.

What they came upon was a small group of my people who had survived through the generations by keeping numbers small and the blessings of a deva who had chosen to be trapped within as well to give shelter and hope to the tieflings who remained.

They had guarded well the secrets of the forging of star metal, and with the divine blessings of Pelor, the heroes held off the advancing crystal soldiers until such time that the Teiflings could escape through the portal.

The Golden Heroes managed to escape and closed the portal behind them, stealing out the knowledge of how to forge star metal and the lost tribe of tieflings. It is said, that at that spot, a spring came up and now waters the desert for miles around.

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Tooth's Ache

The buzz from the Tooth was nearly constant inHaloisi‘s head now. The spear did not like the book. Haloisi didn’t care. This was a book from a civilization that had perished in fire and stone thrown by the gods hundreds if not thousands of years ago. Who knew what secrets lay within.

She kept the book well hidden, and it’s malignant intent radiated out in a cold, damp feeling that persisted no matter how warm the fires were. The book was evil. But what sort of secrets did it hold?

When she was able, in the darkest of places, in the most secret of ways, Haloisi would steal a peek within the pages. The book seemed to sense her need, and would open to where it wanted her to read. It resisted attempts to turn the page, or look for a different chapter.

This diary insisted.

It told Haloisi of a time long ago. She learned of the Crystal Cabal and the greed for power and glory that had driven them to attempt to usurp their divine protectors and providers. She learned of the role of the lizard folk in those times, as fisherman and shock troops. She began to sense and understand the twisted sense of righteousness and pretension that had led Hazarg to his ruin and then his rebirth.

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Ep: The Mourning of Charn

Ep: The Mourning of Charn
(total broken out below. 4120xp each)

Scene 1: Encounter at Sharptooth Tribe.
Difficult encounter with a lizardfolk tribe who was hostile and ready to fight. Heroes managed to eventually talk down Ripp and the Sharptooth and then get some valuable intel on the Ghost who drowns. Also freed Dorlia, a tiefling being held captive for that evening’s dinner feast. Pyrotechnics is a fun spell.

600xp each

Scene 2: That’s not a croc, that’s a HUGE croc.
Really thought that someone was going to die here. Party got a little spread out in the dark seeking targets, and when the Dire Crocodile came in from the water for a little monk snack, he nearly made off with his meal right there. Haloisi bravely through a javelin of lightning and got the dire croc’s attention. A quick bite later and she was in his teeth. Thifal bravely reaches into the mouth to heal her. But it’s not enough to free her and she was swallowed whole. Bravely the party engaged to kill the dire croc before it’s too late, Haloisi stabbing away in vain with her dagger she’d saved for Giles. Then Fletcher rolled the triple crit and confirmed it, making a massive attack that ended the dire croc before it could end Haloisi. Amazing and lucky strike from the Swordsman of Moonsong.

1280xp each

Scene 3: In the Sunken Temple of Erathis (Praise Erathis!)
Full of confidence after taking down the 60 foot croc, the heroes were led by Charn to the entrance where the Rusalka had retired to await her pet’s return. The party works it way through the ambush when Waythe begins a song that lures most of the party forward heedlessly. Haloisi attempts to throw down the silence spell and in a clear demonstration that the gods were with the party, succeeds on Waythe’s saving throw roll of “1”. Her main power neutralized, the party was able to chase her off, although not kill her. Her angry screams suggested she would continue to be a problem for them later, especially considering the interest she had taken in Haloisi.

Within the temple, they discover the resting place of a magical book that may or may not hold the answers to the mysteries that they seek. What they know for certain is that it is the book that Niln seeks and that the lizard folk from the entire region have been trying to keep from her.

2240xp each

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Foreign and Frightening

The night air was stagnant, moist and chilly. It hung heavy over our heroes and clogged their noses with the smell of death and decay. The buzzing of the multitude of insects that inhabited the salt flats drowned out most of the noises in the night, interrupted only by the swamp’s scavengers discovering a newly slain kobold and fighting over the remains.

Odd lights could be seen at some distance, eruptions of swamp gas, Charn had told the heroes.

It didn’t seem to settle them any. The place was foreign and frightening. The terrain dramatically slowed progress, each foot having to be painstaking pulled out of the swampy ground and placed ahead of the other when moving. Standing still for too long could cause you to sink into the marsh. Charn seemed unaffected, his familiarity with the salt flats allowing him to move at normal speed.

Nearby the sound of a crocodile’s jaws slamming shut on the remains of a kobold and whatever was feeding on it, brought Charn’s head up with a snap. As he recognized the sound, a grin grew over his face. Good Mordain, that is a lot of teeth.

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Aftermath... (Day 3)
Thelonius

Thelonius continues to move the Kobold bodies away from the camp while considering what occurred. Apparently the Kobolds, like the lizard folk, see the Black Dragon as a deity and were following the directions of the whelp. This was going to complicate matters significantly. How was the party going to be able to convince Charn and his people to help if the party was there to kill the “god” of the area? Were there more whelps? How many more “cults” were in the swamp that would oppose what the party was charged to accomplish here?

Do we have the time it will take to convince them of the threat the dragon poses? Finding proof that Bilge was working with Niln would certainly go a long way towards convincing Charn and his people that eliminating Bildge was necessary, that in fact Bildge had to be killed. Could we use this mythology to our advantage? But this brings up more questions. If Bildge is operating freely, why? Obviously Niln has some means of enslaving dragons, why not do the same to Bildge? Is it because they work towards similar goals? Or are there limits to what Niln can do with the staff, assuming it is the staff that is the source of Niln’s power over dragons?

Charn could be instrumental to the party’s success here. What specifically happened that forced Charn to step down as leader of his people? Could Charn help us find the dargon’s lair while avoiding more followers? Does he know if there are more whelps? Also what is Niln’s interest here? Is there something in the area that we should know about? Or is Bildge an ally for other reasons?

And how does this all help the party achieve its main goal? Certainly Bildge is a threat to the area and it’s using the local denizens to build a cult was going to be a problem. But why was he allied with Niln exactly? Such a vainglorious creature was going to be resistant to doing anything that does not benefit it. Hopefully once the party finds and deals with Bildge there will be answers to some of these questions.

Completing the task, Thelonius carefully examines the creature that tried to grab him. Once he has satisfied his interest he then makes a quiet circuit around the camp before returning to observe Charn with his ritual.

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Ep: To The Salt Flats!

Ep: To The Salt Flats!
(total broken out below. 755xp each)

Scene 1: Meet Charn at the Rusty Dragon Inn in Bear’s Landing.
No combat encounter, but a very interesting and fun by-play between Poppa and Thifal, Poppa and Lyra, Poppa and Lorran, Charn and Haloisi, and Thelonious and the rest of the party trying to come to grips with what they know, whom they can trust, and what they should do next.

200xp each

Scene 2: Charn on the road.
No combat here either. But you did convince Charn to lead you into the swamp.

25xp each

Scene 3: Encounter with Vile
Kobold ambush to lead you into a shambling mound. Pretty coordinated and smart for Kobolds. Turns out they were led by a Black Dragon Whelp “Vile” who had scouted you earlier that day. Vile made one too many hit and run attacks however, and was taken down by the heroes. Charn was upset and made a feast of it.

535xp each

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Death of a Noble Warrior

After defeating the mighty Ruknar, the party found the lair to be strangely empty on the way out. Upon gaining the exit back out of the underground complex, they discovered why. The goblin tribe had fled the lair and were arrayed outside to attempt to keep the heroes inside. When pressed as to why the goblins wanted them to stay, they were told that Sai would be returning and wanted to kill, er talk to them himself.

Not to be taken in with the goblin trickery, the heroes attacked. They surged out and proceeded to force the goblin lines to flee. However, the entrance was not well defended, and a strike team of goblin assassins nearly took down Arabella’s protector Maximus.

The party took their loot and headed back to the village of Kirin to celebrate their victory. However, the celebration was to be short lived.

The bloodmoon tribe had come in force and expected to raid the village. Springing to the village’s defense, the heroes took the job of defending the main gate. As the goblins came in, our heroes were smart enough to knock down the goblin covered in graffiti as hard experience had taught them that he would be loaded down with explosives.

Sai the Ugly made his appearance and with a cadre of bugbears nearly forced the gate. The last minute heroics of the warrior the heroes had saved, Kerkko would save the day as he fought his way past any who would try to stop him to take down his merciless former torturer. Kerkko was mortally wounded in his rage filled attack and would not see the victory he had fought valiantly to achieve. The heroes would proclaim his glory publicly, even if there was some uncertainty as to if it was Milo who actually downed the foul goblin adept.

Their bags full of loot from the goblins, their stomachs full of the best that the village could produce to feast, our heroes set forth back to Moonsong City for some deserved rest, relaxation, and to re-arm. Prepared now to face whatever danger the city might have in store for them.

They decide to meet again after three days of taking care of healing, arming, and preparing at the Drunken Priest.

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Treasurer's Report

The monetary treasure resulting from our clearing of the Prison of Kirin and helping defend Kirin from Sai was 19pp, 1370gp, 771sp, 5cp. If I did the math correctly the division ends up being (with 5 copper going to the Temple of Bahamut):

Arabella, Arnie, Kilgarrah, Tifa, and Milo get 27 pp, 2 gp, 8 sp, 5 cp. Maximus and Sven get 13 pp, 6 gp, 4 sp, 2 cp since they were each only present half the time.
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Benign or malevolent?
Axiomus

“Incredible!” thought Axiomus. The Elder Dragon,Mountain Breeze’s home literally in sight of his hometown all these years. And probably for centuries.

All these years playing, growing, and living under this Draconic shadow. Benign or malevolent? He was not sure. Could that be why he had such an awareness of things Draconic? Surely Draconic auras did not stretch so far.

Living under Mountain Breeze. And also dying. Axiomus shed a tear thinking back to his mother’s sacrifice in the Orc raid against Havenbrow. All under the sight of Mountain Breeze. It seemed that Draconic oversight, did not care in the day to day. No need for any benign dragon to save an insignficant village of humans from destruction.

Benign or malevolent?
Axiomus did not care.


“”/wikis/tanglewood" class=“wiki-page-link”> Tanglewood?"
“Do not concern yourself with that cursed place, Nisa.”

Axiomus continued to explain that folk just used the river from Bear’s Landing to get to the Great Water and never ever ever ever sat foot on Tanglewood’s shores. If someone lost an oar or a pole to the mud or sand, one would leave the oar or pole there. If someone fell overboard, boat captains warned their customers to tread water and not make for shore. Otherwise…

Avoid travelling through Tanglewood at night of course. And if not, multiple lanterns and torches are the norm. Supposedly people hear enticing, magical voices from the woods during the rare night runs. No one wants to talk about them. Responding to them is obvious folly.

“We have no business in Tanglewood,” says Axiomus. “The ”/wikis/crystal-kingdom" class=“wiki-page-link”> Crystal City, on the other hand."
Axiomus outlines several vague century old rumors he has heard about the city. About mechanical men, about arcane energies, about death and knowledge.

“Come to think of it, the power crystals we found in the constructs sound familiar.”

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