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Continueing on

Note that the DM's hard drive was toast and several dozen turns got lost at this point. However our esteemed Paladin has kindly bestowed upon us excerpts from his personal journal to aid you in keeping track of events that followed thier departure from Dragonmeyr.

An excerpt from the journals of Sir Gareth Arr, paladin of Pikahl, head of King Arion's personal guard:

The party set forth from Dragonmeyr planning to inspect what had been the major settlements of our section of the kingdom of Dragonmeyr. We decided upon a counter-clockwise search from the east out to the northern port towns and then curling back into Dragonmeyr from the western lands.
After several days travel, we came across a small keep, above which a monstrous atmospheric disturbance was occurring - lightening flashes illuminating a gigantic stormcloud. After speaking with the inhabitants (remaining) of the keep, the party discovered that the keep was a monastary of sorts, and were warned against the use of magics, as we had already seen the dangerous results above. According to the sages of the keep, both wizard and priestly magics had been erratic for a time, which struck us with surprise heading from Dragonmeyr, where all fared well with the arts, and worried me sorely that Dragonmeyr might yet fall within the realm of this mystic wildness. How could we expect to hold back the fiends that had been so effectively challenging us for entry into the city when we held both stout blade and mighty magics? How many people would fall prey to permanent injury or death without the healing magics of the priestly orders? Most importantly, how would this affect our relationship with the gods? It is a question that still troubles me, my king.
We continued along to one of the Port Cities, though my concerns of our upcoming venture have cast its name from my thoughts. Ikari? Sigh... I know not. When we arrived, the town stood, though it was deserted. We found little within the place, for it seemed people had fled at least a couple tendays ago, and most likely those prints the last stalwarts remaining from others long gone. We discovered very little in information, save one fact. Potions and other magical items seem to still retain their proper function, suggesting that the magical disturbance is not with magic itself, for the items work, but with some interference on our attempts at reaching for it since some unknown event. Communication with Lord Pikahl seemed not the norm either, but as if I were reaching across a great gulf of emptiness and could not see, or even sense a far side. It is obvious, then, that response was completely absent. I believe the others attempting to commune with their gods were equally affected. Repeated attempts of long prayer were able to result in a small echo of the gods, and lately we have been seeing stronger and more physical manifesting examples of Pikahl's return; I hope it shall be followed by the other gods as well. We paid dearly for this understanding, for one of our party's mage's, Jason as we knew him, disregarded advice I gave about not touching anything until Wulfgar, Barbaxle, or I had had a chance to examine it for danger, and came rushing out of one of the buildings he had been exploring clutching a strange amulet. Before our very eyes, he dissipated into nothingness, leaving only a small pile of ash where he had once stood. Carefully examining the amulet discovered a skull rune on the back. We warded the area, covered the amulet with stones and markings, and left the place of Jason's demise.
Along route, we came across a place of wonderous verdancy, a vale sheltered within plains of nothingness and desolation. While obtaining water, ... I must pause my king, for my shame here is great. A fetching spirit-lass (though I knew not her inhuman nature) appeared to me near one of great trees as we searched the area for an explanation of its life admist death, hoping that the secret could be used to restore the rest of the surrounding lands. I became so completely lost in the lass' prescence that I followed her when she beckoned. I knew that logically she might have information of this place, but my heart would lie if I said I was but entranced by her prescence. Within (what, you ask... I know not, only that it was elsewhere) I discovered a fellow warrior of elven or half-elven blood. The lass spoke to us of strangers that had come within her home to destroy her tree and the beauty of the place. We both avowed, as seemed right, to aid her in defence. We emerged (again... from where?) and engaged the interlopers after hailing and challenging them (or at least I did observe proper form). Thankfully, the madness under which we were greatly weakened our fighting abilities, as I suspect we warred against the wrongness. I still am atoning for my misdeeds in the circumstance, for after awakening, I realized it was my party that I had attacked, not recognizing any of them. As I mentioned, thankfully no one was harmed greatly.
At the next port we reached, greater hope. Again were tales of magic gone awry, mages and priest being consumed by unquenchable fires or thrown up into the sky until they never reappeared, but the people here still lived! And again, suggestion was that the magic instability was had occurred within a month or two of our departure of Dragonmeyr. We learned while at the Port (as everyone there called it - observe on the attached map Cole has drawn the western port town) that that an important religious symbol of the sea-god Krahs had been stolen by lizardmen (and we were shown the tracks) and taken into the swamps, causing untold misfortune to the inhabitants. We have volunteered to recover it for them, in hope that we can do so before the humans take bloodshed to the swampy home of the lizardfolk. I am curious of why the lizardfolk would travel so to steal an icon that means nothing to them, and they certainly did not even injure anyone in the raid - extremely odd behaviour from what I know of them.
We venture into the swamp today; I leave this record such far in my personal journals should we not return. Emperor will know and return it to you my king.
Our guide has agreed to return this note to my books on his return. We encountered a foursome of giants appearing from the foggy murkiness of the swamp, and before I had chance to determine their intentions with the gift of Pikahl, Jarryd "the giant-slayer" attacked and threw us all into combat with the creatures. Mighty though they were, they quickly fell to us, though my heart fell with them for I knew not if they meant us aid or ill, but was forced to defend my party when they responded. Due to Jarryd's actions, [name is obscured] was killed. Our travel by afterwards was interjected by an attack in the water as we canoed; most of us were overturned. Although I managed to rescue two of the party, [long water-smeared passage]. With his disappearence into the swamp, that makes my guilt much; I have already seen two of my comrades fall to death during this exploration mission, two go missing, and Malinia has been forced to return to Dragonmeyr from word somehow of her father's near-deathness. How many of us will I be able to keep alive within the swamp's perils? I pray for Pikahl's protecting hand to shelter my companions in our travels ahead. We will have no guide save faith, but perhaps that will serve us best of all. Long life, my king.

Sir Gareth Arr, servant of Pikahl

Thank you kind Sir for your aid in resolving the questions our readers had concerning our adventures. The turns continue on correctly from this point.

Reduction in Numbers