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Princess Alina Lahaye's
Secret Library

The 3rd of March, 283 DC.

    Six of them came! I wasn't sure anyone would even receive my letters, or care, but they did. Ami Hora, a wise traveler from the far north lands of Kogu (she's super nice and really smart). Hapi, an odd holy man from Tuscany (hello tall dark and handsome!). Caewel, a white elf paladin (I've never seen one in the flesh, she's so CUTE! Like a porcelain doll). Chronic McBlount, a halfling sorcerer from the Tower (Sophie says to watch out for him, he's a total junkie), Jimmy the wild elf bard (he's funny, muscular and totally HOT!), and Elderon Aeg'los the grey elf warrior (he's all dark and mysterious).

    Right away we made a breakthrough in the case (these guys are good). There was a secret passage below the warehouse leading to some weird old temple with creepy old statues, monstrous rats and a skeletal knight in a mask. The same mask that evil wizard was wearing who kidnapped us three years ago. It can't be the same one could it? But it certainly looked the same, maybe there's more of them?

March 4th, 283 DC.

    We found Sally, she was dead. Those vile cultists killed her, whoever they are. Chronic said they were Yog Cultists, but then we found a medallion of those weird Rat Cultists there too, it's all so confusing.

The 7th of March, 283 DC.

    Hapi suggested I keep an investigation journal, so I'm writing down everything I can think of that's related. Three years ago, I was kidnapped along with a bunch of other people, including my six new friends. Giant's raided the city and carried us up to their cave in the mountains. Five heroes came after us, slaying the giants and the evil wizard who was going to sacrifice us to...? Those heroes were Sally, Paladin of Tor. Edal, a halfling privateer. The sorceress Elodie. Finn, a half-orc mercenary. and the alchemist, Vasana. Now they're all missing and we're going to find out what happened.

Vasana fell in battle against the wizard and daddy had a mausoleum built in her honor in the graveyard to hold her remains.

Two years ago, Elodie disappeared into the forest north west of town and never returned. Finn, Sally and Edal searched for her a few weeks after she left, but found no trace of her.

Edal disappeared a year ago. His ship left Sebkesh bound for Hikory, but never arrived. Ship and crew are presumed lost at sea.

Finn was last seen frequenting the docks and warehouse district, looking to be about on business, though nobody was able to tell me what exactly his business was. He disappeared around a month ago, shortly before the murder of Lord Ornauk Draga. Could there be a connection?

Sally dissappeared three weeks ago, near the warehouse on Bear Street. We found her body in a secret underground temple (to Yog Shubta?). She was tied to an altar with a sacrificial dagger in her chest, but Hapi says she died fighting and the dagger was stuck in after she was already dead. The altar was also broken, but then repaired. We found a bunch of dead cultists sealed in to the wall (Eew) they were killed by people and (giant rats?). We also found a crazy lady trapped in some magic thing (Chronic said it was a portal to beyond, whatever that means). The temple connects to the undercity too. Someone left and cut the bridge behind them.

Jimmy fixed the bridge and we explored some of the undercity tunnels. We found some dead cultists, lutherites and giant rats. It looked like they were fighting when the cave collapsed on them. I wonder what they were fighting over, or what was in that cave?

The 8th of March, 283 DC.

    We caught a live cultists and interrogated him. He didn't say much. Jimmy said he was a Rat cultist pretending to be a Yog cultist, or maybe they're the same thing? It's so confusing. We let him go and Elderon followed him back to his house, but he didn't seem to find out anything.

The 10th of March, 283 DC.

    The "Honorable" Duke of Oberon, Lord Ancell Rochet, arrived in town yesterday with his whole entourage, he's up at the castle now. Daddy wanted me to stay and entertain our guests, but I slipped out as soon as I could and went wandering in the woods. The duke is a cad and his son is worse. If I stayed any longer I would have slapped him in his stupid face.


The 12th of March, 283 DC.

 Ambrette got back from Sakouba today (lucky girl, I wish I could go to the capital of Cyon too. She said the city is so big, you can't see the other side!). She brought me some new books including one called The Lucious Maiden Adventurer Handbook (seriously, where does she find these things?!). It has pictures in it of girls doing things I didn't even know were possible! Sophie, Ambrette and me hung out at the warehouse most of the day to avoid the duke, looking at the new books Ambrette brought. Sophie is such a vamp! She kept trying to get me to try out some of the techniques in the book on the boys here.

The 13th of March, 283 DC.

    Ami said they're fixing up the place, so I have to stay out for a while. Oh I forgot to mention that the guys purchased the Bear Street warehouse. It turned out to be property of the crown since it had been abandoned for so long so I gave them some money so they could buy it. She said they were going to fix it up to live in, and that they will make a room for me to keep all my books in! I'm going to have my own secret hideout with a secreter hideout in the basement! That's so cool.

    Since the guys were all busy and the duke is still at the castle, Ambrette and I snuck out to explore some old ruins in the forest near the cemetary. We found some cool old statues. Ambrette sat on a snake and it bit her right in the bum (I tried really hard not to laugh).


The 14th of March, 283 DC.   

    We went back to the ruins and found a tunnel underneath that led to this huge cave full of blue glowy fungus and giant mushrooms. We waded through this pond, fought a huge eel and found some old crypt with undead skeletal guardians, but they were no match for us girls. I felt like a real adventurer, like Fabrice from Ruin on the Mountaintop. We even found a chest full of ancient treasure!

The 16th of March, 283 DC.

    Caewel, Ami and the boys came back to the warehouse last night hauling a pair of stone statues. Ami said they are actually petrified people! They are really detailed looking so maybe she's right. There are gorgons that live up in the mountains that can suposedly turn people to stone with their breath and everyone knows there's plenty of cockatrice around, but you gotta be really stupid to get stoned by them. 

The 28th of March, 283 DC.

    Finally got out of the castle, been cooped up in there for weeks. Where do I even start? We were attacked by troglodytes, mom and me. Well not together, mom was in a carriage with Lascalla and I was walking with Caewel and the boys when they came pouring up out of the sewers. We fought them off, then Uncle Samuael shows up and hauls me off to the castle. Dad doubled the guard and forbade me from going out. They were all shut up in the council room, I was left alone with nobody but Anchille to talk to. He followed me everywhere and wouldn't leave me alone, driving me crazy. Not that there was anything better to do. We sparred the first couple days until Orso told us we weren't even allowed to go out into the courtyard. I don't see dad for nearly a week, then he pops up to tell me we're going to war with some orc warlord I've never heard of.
    After that, the castle got real busy, soldiers everywhere. I still wasn't allowed out, but at least I got to hang out with mom and some of the court ladies to avoid Anchille. Then dad has some huge argument with Duke Rochet. I could hear them shouting down the hall. After that, dad tells me he will not condone my courtship with Anchille! As if I wanted to. Ew. Not that I saw the duke or his son after that anyway. Dad confined them to their rooms. The army marched shortly after that, dad and moms brothers all went. I hope they'll be ok.
    Apparently Cawel and the boys forged some document claiming to be royal officials investigating in my name. Mom was so pissed when she found out. I can't believe they would do that. I had to beg her not to have their heads! She had them summoned. I was scared she was going to change her mind and have them executed when Hapi started talking back to her, but she just ordered them to go kill some bandits as restitution. Then she takes us all to watch Countess Lascalla's punishment. Everyone thought she was dead, but mom explained that the countess had been scheming against us and tried to fake her death to escape punishment when her plots unraveled.
    Mom finally let me go out today, she said everything's under control now and I didn't have to be cooped up in the castle anymore. I headed over to the warehouse, but only Ami was around. The place is looking nicer now, they've done a lot of work fixing it up.

The 29th of March, 283 DC.
    The usually busy Boudon Square is empty now. Everyone's avoiding the place. They still haven't let the Countess down. Mom told me not to feel sorry for her, that she's an evil lady who deserves worse, but I can't help it. At least I convinced mom to feed her so she doesn't starve to death. I went looking for Sophie, but she is out of town on business. So I went to Ambrette's house, but her mom said she thought she was with me at the castle! We got worried since nobody's seen her for days. I got Ami and we went to the Tower of Sorcery and got Fiona to locate Ambrette for us with her magic. She said Ambrette was below the Oldwood's Inn! Fiona told us Chronic was there in the library and would help us find my cousin. The three of us headed into the tunnels beneath the old Cyonian tower. The place was crawling with the undead! We fought our way through and found my cousin, enthralled to a vampire! So we drove a stake through the bastard's heart and took Ambrette home. It was exhilarating being out adventuring again!

The 31st of March, 283 DC.

    Spent the last couple days keeping Ambrette company. She was almost as pale as Caewel when we found her, but she's doing a lot better now. The healer said she should be up and about again soon. She didn't want to talk at all yesterday, but now she seems back to her old self, telling me all about the last few weeks. How she met this awesome guy and they had fun exploring together and stuff. Then he he turned all evil and locked her up and fed on her until we kicked his ass and rescued her.

The 5th of April, 283 DC.

    With dad out on campaign and mom busy running the city in his absence, I decided to take some time for myself. Ambrette is back to her plucky old self, no vampire's going to keep her down, and Sophie's back from whatever mischief she was up to. So the three of us decided to go camping out at Silver Glade for a few days. It was beautiful. The lake is crystal clear and cold from the mountain stream, but we went swimming anyway. Then we hiked up to the old standing stones and watched the sun set. We spent a lazy next day at the lake, swimming and lying in the sun. One of the druids, Gaspard, stopped by and showed us where to hunt for mushrooms. We snared a couple of rabbits too and Gaspard cooked them for us. He is an amazing cook. Back in town now, everything seem so noisy and crowded. I get why those druids spend all their time out in the woods, it's so peaceful and beautiful out there.

The 6th of April, 283 DC.

   Hapi wrote this giant report on the state of their investigation. Does my dad have to read stuff like this? I brought it to Captain Orso and we raided the Rat Temple. The first floor was this perverted sex club, but then we found the secret door into the basement. The smell nearly made me puke. I've never seen so many dead bodies. Someone gathered up all the cultists and killed them with fire. Orso said it looked like sorcery, doubtlessly the same fat wizard who murdered all the rest of the cult. We gotta find this guy somehow. Maybe this information Lady Cazal found will help. Last night, mom invited Caewel over for dinner and told Caewel that I was infatuated with her. Sooo embarrassing. As if. Well maybe a tiny crush, but not that I would admit that to anyone. Mom's handmaiden questioned that rat cultist the boys caught and she said that he said that we should raid the old Cyonian tower. Something about finding the identity of this mysterious fat wizard inside.

The 7th of April, 283 DC.

   I went exploring again with Caewel and the boys into the undercity. We found giant purple mushrooms and traps and this pirate Captain Williams stuck in a trap and this magic circle that summoned living fire. We went back the next day and explored more. There was this old crypt that was haunted by a ghost and skeletons which we put to rest. We met this peculiar woman who lived by herself in some ancient ruins. She had the craziest garden, I never knew so many things grew underground. Giant mushrooms and these weird ropy vines with big white flowers and some hanging from the ceiling that looked kinda like morning glory. And all these broken statues everywhere. The boys got all nervous, whispering that she was a Medusa 'cause she kept holding her hair back. I think she just did it to get attention and show off her chest. I'm surprised they even noticed given what little she was wearing. She complained about the noise her neighbors were making and the boys fell all over themselves promising to take care of it for her. It was pretty funny. So anyway, turned out there was a bunch of people digging in the next cavern who were all under the sway of some ancient mummy who was trying to escape his tomb. So we knocked the poor sods out, broke in to the tomb and dispatched the monster. Poor Captain William got killed by the tomb guardians. We laid him to rest in the mummy's sarcophagus. Hapi said that's what he would have wanted.

The 8th of April, 283 DC.

   The boys are busy playing with their crystal ball. They found this thing in the mummy's tomb and spent all day staring into it spying on different people. So I decided to follow up on the investigation of Finn. Sophie, Ambrette and I found the tunnel entrance that Finn had been delivering his packages too and we went exploring. It looked like some smugglers hideout, but the place was abandoned, I don't think anyone had been there for months. No sign of tracks, just a few busted crates and rotting supplies. There was a crevasse in the back of the cave that went down a long ways. We climbed down into some ancient elven ruins and found this huge old door that was all broken open and these stairs that were way to big for elves or people. The chamber below looked like a tomb only not for anything human. It was super creepy and smelled funny. Then we saw this weird twisted metal thing, like some giant broken octopus with balls at the ends of its arms, all smashed up like someone took an ax to it. And there was bodies lying around, desiccated human corpses, bones and other things. Then this wind just blows up out of nowhere and my lantern goes out. We kinda freaked at that point and high tailed it out of there.

The 9th of April, 283 DC.

  So we went to this tower that Lady Acacia had told Caewel about. I thought it was supposed to be the lair of this mysterious fat mage, turns out I was wrong. I'm guessing it actually belongs to a minor noble, perhaps Sir Thomas Zaspery or maybe Sir Marcus Lelain, but they just don't seem like Sophie's type. She was there, lounging in a chair waiting for us. The boys tried asking her about the place but she was being all cryptic and evasive. Maybe I should talk to the boys about speaking to women, they all seem so shy and awkward and gave up way to easily. They did manage to get the scrying pool or whatever that thing was to work. It showed us a meeting between that masked wizard and the troglodytes.

  Priestess Delaunay was able to restore one of those statues the boys found last month, the elven woman. Turns out her name is Thangurwen and she had been a statue for over 150 years! She knew my great great great great grandfather King Theodard. Apparently she was playing with his magic scepter and (accidentally) got petrified (that sounds sooo wrong). Poor woman doesn't know what to do with herself. I can't imagine, everyone she ever knew is gone.

The 10th of April, 283 DC.

  Caewel talked to Deacon Claudius about the mask, which she had given to him to be destroyed. The Deacon had given the task to Lay Priest Bertelis, who offered to take us to the shrine of Barsalyntis up in the mountains where he destroyed the mask. Sounded like it will be a few days trip so I decided to bring my journal with me. Last time I left it at the warehouse and got locked in the castle for weeks without being able to write. Turns out Bertelis was an impostor, he summoned demons and attacked us on the road and escaped using magic. We decided to press on to the shrine.

The 13th of April, 283 DC.

  We found the shrine, there was a cave leading into the mountainside and demons hiding within and a statue to the demon lord of snakes. We found the real Bertelis' body and something called a Ring Gate, which I think the masked man used to pass instructions to his minions.

The 15th of April, 283 DC.

 A ghostly hand appeared beckoning to us. At least, that's what Hapi claims, nobody else could see it. We followed him further into the mountains, coming upon an old track through some dead looking woods that led us to a dilapidated village. The people here are creepy degenerate cannibals! They pushed us into this old tower in the middle of town and locked the door. The bottom floor was a slaughterhouse, run by some massive brute who tried to kill us. Upstairs we saved a boy, Ignace, from the clutches of evil spirits. At the top we came upon horrifying faceless men and this... thing. Following a tense battle, the thing fled out the window and we found that crazy lady Becca, locked in a room at the top of the tower. She's still cuckoo, raving on about the “destroyer.” She did say something about a masked man opening a portal, which is way disturbing. They say mad people see all kinds of truths, I guess that's why they're crazy.

The 16th of April, 283 DC.

 I confronted my first ghost today. We found the spirit of Ignace's mother wandering the fields at night. Having avenged her death and promising to care for her boy, she was content to pass on. I wonder what the townsfolk will do now. They spoke of being trapped there by the spirit and their desire to follow the color to the east, whatever that means. There were more of those things in a secret basement below the tower, performing some gruesome experiments, but we chased them off. I'm glad we're heading home now.

The 17th of April, 283 DC.

 We just got home from our trip in the country to find the Duke of Oberon's army encamped outside Hikory. Slipping through their lines without incident we made it back home. Mom said they sent an emissary demanding the return of Duke Rochet, only orcs attacked the castle a few days before the army arrived and both the Duke and son are missing. What a disaster.

The 20th of April, 283 DC.

 After a tense three days stalling Rochet's men, Caewel returns with news that the Duke is dead! The masked wizard had been behind the orc attack and kidnapping of the Duke, but Caewel arrived in time to slay the villain. Only they were betrayed by Rebecca Deloffre who murdered the Duke in some ritual to open a portal for an army of faceless horror from beyond. Caewel escaped with Anchille, returning him and his father's body to his army. He may be a slimy weasel, but I'm glad he's still alive.

The 22nd of April, 283 DC.

 The Rochets are breaking camp to withdraw their army back to their own borders. This new threat has everyone worried, though our scouts have yet to spot anything come down from the mountains. I went to visit Anchille before they left. He tried to convince me to go to Oberon with him, saying I'd be safer under his protection. The nerve of the man. Ugh! He makes me so mad, good riddance. Stopped by the warehouse later, apparently they found some way to restore their other statue to flesh. His name is Apius, an ex gladiator from Cyon. He seems nice (and is easy on the eyes).

The 24th of April, 283 DC.

 Received news from the front today. The campaign against the orcs is going well, father is hopeful that they will return victorious by the end of May. Our scouts have still yet to see any activity from these supposed army in the mountain. There's been a lot of rumors going around about fish people being seen at the docks at night, but Orso says it's probably just drunkards jumping at shadows.

The 27th of April, 283 DC.

 We saw one! Ambrette, Sophie and I snuck down to the docks last night and we saw this bulbous, slimy man-thing walk up out of the water. It looked like it was digging in the bank then it stopped all of a sudden and hurried back into the bay. We looked around where it was, but didn't find anything.

The 29th of April, 283 DC.

 The Kilbrachan sailed in to harbor this morning. It's the biggest ship I've ever seen, even larger than father's flagship. Captained by one Hrodgeir. I hear they hail all the way from Saradia! Mom said they are dangerous folk and I should stay away from the foreigners. She is worried with the army abroad and so many strange armed men in town.

The 30th of April, 283 DC.

 The boys headed out of town on another adventure, chasing some rumors about the Dunridge Asylum. That place is creepy. Fortunately it passed out of the family before I was born. I love visiting uncle Samuael at Summergrove, but if the Mirabeau's still lived in Dunridge... well lets just say I'm glad they don't and leave it at that.

The 3rd of May, 283 DC.

 Mom said Fabrice is visiting Hikory and he's going to perform for us at Sherpenbek. I'm so excited, I can't sit still.

The 8th of May, 283 DC.

 More violence on the docks. The sailors of the Kilbrachan have started a war with the new Draga gang. If my father was not abroad with the army things would never have been allowed to escalate this far. As it is, Captain Orso is barely able to contain the fighting to the docks district.

The 12th of May, 283 DC.

 Fabrice is amazing. I could listen to his ballads all day, his singing is even better than his books, and I have all of them and he signed them for me!

The 19th of May, 283 DC.

 Daddy is coming home! We received news today that they routed the orcan army at the Greenwater. Uncle Samuael took the orc general's head and the remainder of their forces scattered back into the Darkwood. They are hunting down a few remaining orcs now, but will be back in Hikory by the end of the month. It is a relief to know that the threat of orc raids is over. We are all still worried about the faceless invaders, though we still have yet to see them emerge from the mountains.

The 23rd of May, 283 DC.

 Mom made me oversee some trade disputes with representatives of the Sultanate from Sebkesh. Three hours of listening to a bunch of greedy men arguing over prices and tariffs made me want to stab a carrot through my eye.

The 24th of May, 283 DC.

 Someone stole Willy's hat. At least, it had been hanging in the front hall at the hideout, and now its gone. Nobody seems to know anything about it. I guess someone must have wandered in off the street and snatched it. No idea why they'd take that ratty old thing though, there's plenty of nicer stuff a thief would have taken. Maybe someone just threw it away, but doesn't want to fess up to it.

The 2nd of June, 283 DC.

 The Kilbrachan left harbor only hours before our triumphant army returned with much fanfare. Orso's guards did a sweep of the docks, but the survivors of the gang war have gone to ground. Hopefully things will settle down now that the king has returned. 

The 9th of June, 283 DC.

 It's been a festive week, with father and uncles in town there's been much celebration and feasting to mark the end of the war. We told daddy about the faceless invaders, but he said one challenge at a time, lets celebrate the defeat of this enemy before facing the next.

The 12th of June, 283 DC.

 We've been receiving reports of ogre raids near Lake Darhob. Now travelers are saying that ogres have taken up in the old ruin of fort Mortihan. They say the “ogre king” is demanding tribute from anyone in the area. Daddy said it's remote and the few people who live there don't acknowledge our rule, so he's not obliged to help them. I still think we should do something about it.

The 22nd of June, 283 DC.

 I received a letter from Ami about strange things happening at Dunridge. I showed it to Sophie and she said we should tell her dad about it, since he's the Count and it still falls under his county, even though they don't live there anymore. So we took it to uncle Samuael and he said it sounded very serious and that he had to consult with his brothers.

The 24th of June, 283 DC.

 Sophie went to Dunridge with Uncle Al to take care of whatever strange phenomenon that is going on there. I was worried about sending just the two of them, but Sophie just laughed and said Uncle Alphonse and her are powerful wizards and there's nothing they can't handle. I hope they'll be ok and come back soon.

The 1st of July, 283 DC.

 The boys finally returned to town. They seem a bit rattled and didn't talk much. I'm not sure I really want to hear about it honestly, the less said about Dunridge the better. Sophia returned a little later and told me that foolish halfling opened some portal through which monsters invaded, but Uncle Al and her put a stop to it. I'm glad they all returned safely.

The 8th of July, 283 DC.

 Hapi decided he had saved enough coin, gathered allies and provisions and headed east, returning home to Tuscany. Apius and Thangurwen accompanied him. They plan on purchasing his family's freedom. I wish them luck and safe passage on their journey.

The 10th of July, 283 DC.

 Ambrette has been hanging out with Ami and the boys a lot lately. They all took a ship out to Serpent Isle this morning. She said something about finding an old statue for the Tower of Sorcery. She didn't say how long they'd be gone, but Ambrette is not one to miss Silverday, so they'll probably be back in a few days. I hear cannibals live there, but they know how to take care of themselves, I'm sure they'll be fine.

The 15th of July, 283 DC.

 Yesterday was the first day of the festival, I can't believe Ambrette missed it. The parade was fabulous, there was a Volski band playing some fantastic music, and a troupe of Uthu dancers. Those Uthu men are crazy muscly and show it all off. Sophie and I stayed out all night. We danced in Elysium Plaza until Sophie punched some guy who was getting a little too friendly with me. So then we headed down to Gauthier to watch the acrobats. We wandered around a bit until we hit another party over by the granary. I saw mom dancing in the crowd, drunk and falling out of her dress. Then Sophie bought us a bottle of blue lotus wine, I don't remember much of the rest of the night.

The 17th of July, 283 DC.

 Ambrette finally got back today. I got them all to come out with me, but they're kind of a sorry bunch. I think Ami took a vow against having fun, Caewel was drunk after two drinks and Drugar chugged down most of a keg before passing out under the table. So we ditched them and hit the streets. Ambrette didn't say much about the trip, they tromped through the jungle and explored some ancient ruins of the snakemen. I still wish I could have gone with them. Sometimes being the princess sucks.

The 21st of July, 283 DC.

 The festival's over and things are going back to normal. I headed down to the clubhouse to find that they planted an oak tree on their roof! A tree! What are those nincompoops thinking? They also purchased the building next door and are turning it into a stable, which is nice, and way more sensible then a tree on the roof.

The 1st of August, 283 DC.

 Sophie just informed me that her expedition will be ready to depart within the week. Ambrette, Ami, Caewel, Drugar, and Cronic are probably going with, so I'm going to be left here alone again. I'm proud of what they've accomplished, but sometimes I wish I hadn't got them all together in the first place. Then my cousins wouldn't be leaving all the time. There's too much to deal with here to go with them. With the disappearance of the Alkmaar, that makes three ships that have been lost in past year, and merchants are getting worried, questioning what the king is going to do to secure our trade routes. There's even been talk that it might be safer to sail around the horn and bypass Hikory entirely. If we lose any more ships, it'll be a deathblow to our economy. Goods bound for Sebkesh are spoiling in warehouses on the docks, while caravans waiting to carry shipments to Olfhawk sit empty. It's a royal mess.

The 8th of August, 283 DC.

 I just finished listening to Fabrice's tragic epic of King Killian Darche and Saint Solona, and must write it down, lest I forget. So here goes:

 Killian was born, the 5th son of King Gaetan Darche, and far from the line of inheriting the throne. He served as a knight, riding with his father's armies against the depraved orcs of Greenwater. He met with the beautiful and cunning battle mage, Solona, and together they hatched a plan to slay the demon-king Muldoc and end the tyranny of the orcs. Muldoc could not be killed by any conventional means. If his body ever died, he would possess the body of another, and so he had lived for centuries. Solona and Killian planned to trap the demon's spirit at the moment of his bodies death, thus preventing him from renewing his life.

 Solona and Killian fell in love, and he proposed to marry her when the war was over. So they rode forth and met the demon in battle near Shakar, where Killian challenged him to a duel and struck a mortal blow. Solona cast her spell, but the vessel they had prepared shattered, unable to contain the power of the demon's spirit. Dismayed, they fell back. Muldoc claimed a new host among his soldiers and taunted them. “Fools,” he cried, “I only allowed you to strike me down to show you how feeble your strength is against me. I cannot be held by such paltry magics. For your insolence, my orcs shall dance in your palace and bathe in the blood of your family.”

 Dismayed, Killian and Solona fled to the royal palace to find that Muldoc had not been uttering baseless threats. Killian's father and all of Killian's brothers lay dead. A traitor had led the orcs into the castle in the night. Killian was distraught, he didn't know what to do, but Solona did. It was her words that shed the light of truth upon the treachery of Killian's uncle who sought the throne for himself. It was her courage that rallied the people to her lover's side, her cleverness that convinced the nobles to accept him. And so Killian ascended to the throne, and named Solona general of his armies.

 The night of his coronation, Killian went to Solona and told her that they could not be together. He was king now, and would have to take a bride of noble blood to bear an heir for the kingdom. Solona, who had given everything for her love, was heartbroken and betrayed. She gathered his armies and marched on Greenwater. Killian gave chase, and finally overtook them at the Battle of the Broken Stones. There Muldoc met Solona on the field of battle. For two days they fought, their magics scorched the land, blasting the very stones themselves. No one could get near them and survive the onslaught and so Killian was forced to wait and watch as Solona's strength faltered. 

 Muldoc stepped forward to deliver the final blow, yet so focused had he been on deflecting her spells, he did not see the dagger in her hand. She plunged the blade into his heart, and as Muldoc's spirit escaped to seek a new host, she drew it into her own body, binding his life to her own, and hers to his. So in his death, she too died, and dragged his spirit with her into the ever after. As Solona lay there, drawing her final breath, Killian rushed to her side. She smiled at him and spoke, “My love, my king. Long may you reign. Your country be filled with peace. So that in your many years you may think of me, and know that it was because of your cold heart that I die.”

 King Killian bade a great temple be built, in the hills of Adas'hel, where Solona was lain to rest. The priests declared her a saint, sent by Tor to save Tylon from the demon's scourge. King Killian did indeed lead a long and peaceful reign, marrying the Duchess of Quellard and fathering a noble heir. Upon the 50th year of his reign, Killian abdicated in favor of his son. At the coronation he addressed the gathered crowd saying that he would take his leave and go, one last time, to the temple of Solona. His family and many nobles followed him, worried at his words.

 There, high upon Adas'hel, he fell to his knees before the shrine of Saint Solona and cried out. “I have reigned for many years, in peace and justice. I have born a son and taught him to be honorable and true, to carry on my legacy. I beg you now, my love, let this curse end, let my life be over so that we may be reunited at last.” It is said that the statue of Solona wept, her tears filling the bowl at her feet, and the sky opened up. A great pillar of light shone down upon Killian and his soul rose with the light into the heavens. They buried him there, next to his love. For years pilgrims traveled from afar to pray at the temple until it's location was lost during The Reckoning, when the armies of the Dead God tore the world apart and much was forgotten. It is said that the tears of Solona hold potent magic, blessed by the gods, to cure any ailment or injury. Many an adventurer has gone in search of her lost temple, but to this day, its location remains a mystery.

The 17th of August, 283 DC.

 I received a letter from Duke Achille today. It's been four months since his father was murdered by that treacherous cultist. His men have seen no sign of the army of... things that was released in those caves, and I have to admit, neither have ours. Perhaps they are fewer than we feared, or maybe their designs lie elsewhere, for they have made no move upon Hikory or Oberon. He seems to think it is safe to travel once more. I spoke with father, and at his urging have invited Achille to visit next week. I hope responsibility has matured the man and he isn't so much the insufferable brat that he used to be.

The 22nd of August, 283 DC.

 The Marquis Edouard Verhaeren made an appearance in court today. He had been absent since April. It caused a bit of a stir, Mom had just made a speech on fostering peace and prosperity with our neighbors, then the Marquis jumps up and gives a counter argument. Proposing more stringent restrictions on foreign trade, strengthening the military, and cracking down on deviant and criminal elements within our city. His words didn't carry much weight with the court, but then Countess Lascalla backed him, and Sir Thomas, and things got pretty loud. Dad called a recess, and in the end the only thing accomplished was a lot of shouting.

The 23rdof August, 283 DC.

 Sophie's expedition returned from the Darkwoods today. I haven't spoken to her yet, but she sent a message, and Ambrette came to see me. They made some big find, even more than what they were hoping for. Some ancient artifact of the dragons! Ambrette told me about their escapades. Giant spiders, ancient ruins, strangely infected cultists, and a skeletal dragon! It all sounded quite exciting and I wish I could have gone. She promised she is going to write out her diary so I can read all about it. I must make it down to Bear Street one of these days to see the others and hear their accounts.

The 27th of August, 283 DC.

 So dad let it slip today that he had gone out sailing last week and killed a kraken! Like it was no big deal and he just forgot to get around to telling anyone. Mom's eyes nearly bulged out of her head, I think that's the maddest I've ever seen her get. I don't know how she does it. If my husband pulled something like that I'd throttle him. Husband. I'm still getting used to the idea. Am I really going to marry Achille? I hope I can convince him to move here, I'd hate to have to live in Oberon.

The 1st of September, 283 DC.

 I ran into Ami at Jug's Pottery today, I was running late and she reminded me I was supposed to be meeting with Achille. Chronic was waiting outside, with Drugar holding a swan. It was all a little weird. Were they spying on me? Did my mom send them? I'm going to ask Ambrette if she knows anything about it next time I see her.

The 4th of September, 283 DC.

 Caewel stopped by to visit today and got dad going on the story about hunting the hydra in Saradia. I kind of feel bad about leaving her there, but at least she hasn't heard it like, a million times. Afterwards, Achille and I were out on the battlements and I saw a swan fly by, looking at me. I swear it was the same one Drugar was carrying the other day. Something odd is going on with that crew. I talked to Ambrette, but she didn't know anything. I'll get to the bottom of it. I miss adventuring with them, but I've just been so busy lately.

The 20th of September, 283 DC.

 Spoke with Sophie today, haven't seen her in ages. I worry about her, she's locked herself up studying some “artifact” she brought back from the woods. I don't think she's eating or sleeping enough. She's gotten skinnier and pastier than ever, if that were possible. I'll have to have a chat with Mistress Fiona. Maybe we can convince her to take some time off and relax in Silverglade for a few days. It would do her good to get some sunlight and fresh air.

The 28th of September, 283 DC.

 Sophie and I are heading out to the glade tomorrow. I'm glad she agreed to set aside her research for a few days. I had to get Gustave and Bertrand to help me lure her out. At least I know that no matter how obsessive she gets with her work, she still can't resist a weekend away with a couple of hot guys. I tried to get Ambrette to come, but she said she was busy going on some more expeditions with Ami. It's probably for the best, she gets really awkward around boys.

The 10th of October, 283 DC.

 Lady Eloise surprised everyone in court today by siding with Marquis Edouard in favor of new tax levies and a significant increase to the city guard. I wonder what changed her mind? She has always been against a larger military in the past. I think mom got in an argument with her afterwards. Eloise stormed out looking terribly upset, but mom wouldn't talk about it.

The 24th of October, 283 DC.

 Achille received word that his cousin, Lady Celine's, entourage was attacked on the road on the way to Hikory and she was missing. I asked the Bear Street crew to look into the matter. Hopefully it happened in Oberon, the last thing we need is another incident between our countries.

The 26th of October, 283 DC.

 Chronic appeared at the gates earlier today with some elven strumpet, then they disappeared again, and he shows up later with the Lady Celine. The guards were a bit confused, but they brought her to me right away. Thankfully her story was about being kidnapped by lizardmen and some giant serpent. Turns out Achille's cousin Celine is a whiny bitch. Fortunately mom was happy to take over as hostess and didn't make me stick around.

The 29th of October, 283 DC.

 Achille is on his way back to Oberon. Apparently one of his other cousins, Lord Joustin Rochet, has challenged Achille's right to his father's title and rule of the duchy. There's rumors that Achille had a hand in his father's death, and tried to kill his cousin Celine because she found out. It's all a load of rubbish, but if we're hearing the rumors all the way out here in Hikory, then that is worrying. I hope he is able to put Joustin in his place and set these rumors straight.

The 15th of November, 283 DC.
 Received word from Ami that uthu barbarians are constructing war machines just north of Pidair Pass. There is only one place they could be headed. Hikory. Father is sent scouts to confirm the story, and to bring word to Summergrove and Olfhawk. War is coming.

The 17th of November, 283 DC.
 Sophia is going with the Bear Street heroes to Highrock Peak in pursuit of some legend. She said if they succeed, they will score a weapon with which they can close the portals these Yogothian monsters are coming through. I'm not sure I quite understand, but I wish them fortune in their quest and a swift return. I fear we will need them in the days to come.

The 19th of November, 283 DC.
 Our scouts returned with news of a force of barbarians moving down the north road. They we be here in a few days time. Uncle Samuael rides from Summergrove with a company of knights and shall arrive on the morrow, but there is as yet no word from Oberon.

The 21st of November, 283 DC.
 We have received confirmation that our riders sent west were slain. There will be no aid coming from Oberon. An army of lizardfolk now gathers on the eastern road around the hulking mass of some nightmarish creature. Other... things have come down from the mountains to join the barbarian horde massing in the hills. Winged starfish headed monstrosities, faceless men, insectoid creatures, and other terrors I can scarce give word to describe. We prepare for war, and pray that Tor grants us victory.

The 23rd of November, 283 DC.
 A giant presented herself at Sherpenbek this morning, flying to the castle atop a great white cloud. She named herself Hordione, and pledged her assistance to fight against the Yogothian threat. Countess Lascalla's forces hold the Forest Gate, bolstered by freebooters and mercenaries along the northern ramparts. Hordione joins the city guard along the eastern front, her presence at the Lions Gate has greatly boosted moral. My father and uncle's knights hold Sherpenbek castle. We are as ready as we can be. I can see the fires of the enemy's camps from my window at night. There are so many. It won't be long now, father does not think they will wait in siege. I hope the Bear Street heroes return soon, we could sorely use their help. I can't sleep for thought of what morning brings.

The 24th of November, 283 DC.
 It has begun. I go to join my knights. May Tor grant my aim be true, my arm be swift, and see us through to victory.