1) Several characters have changed in some slight or extensive way as we learned the system and found things we didn't like, or as we had new releases open up possibilities to the players. This is probably over now, and, I've finally caught up to the point by which I mean "now"!
2) I have not read the book yet, but some of the core concepts, including some names, are drawn from Glen Cook novels of the same name. Even if I had read them, I would not know to what extent to expect themes or events to map directly.
3) These annals are written by a plane-shifted kender that has leaking memories of multiple quantum timelines / lifetimes (like Sliders, only you don't go visit the other timelines, they just peek into your brain through the window now and then).
4) If you have previously read these in another format, be aware that they may be edited for clarity (okay, not really) and lyrical flow.
5) They are also frequently and retroactively annotated from a non-specific future point of view.
SESSION TWENTY THREE
Day 35 / Ches 15: I got distracted by something and forgot to mention, but Darzhur thought it was important later while we were on the road, so I want to say for the record: the Tiamat tattoos were of the Red Claw, which is one particular Tiamat cult among many, by which I assume he means five. Because, right? I can tell that these Forgotten Realms are doing it wrong because of things like this. Sure, okay, people on Krynn worship Takhisis, but there are not so many of them that they need to divide up into different groups and argue about what is the right way to go about undermining society and murdering innocents and such. And on top of that, people say that she isn't even in charge of the evil people here! So you can see my point.
Anyhow, I won't keep you in suspense: Captain Allan of the Firewalkers (you know the guy: dead, big hole in his chest, not Croaker?) is still dead, the same way as Croaker, with some weird magic thing blocking them from doing anything about it. But while that wasn't happening, we told all the town guards about the gnolls and the tunnels they had used to break into town before I could stop everyone else, so they have undoubtedly ruined the tunnels before I could learn how they all tie together with Curuvar's house and the other secret tunnels around, which would have been especially useful since we aren't allowed to go to Curuvar's house anymore, what with the arrest warrants for everyone in the Black Company. ...but I haven't gotten to that part yet, right? Oops.
One of the guards wasn't there to deal with the gnolls, though. He is a Githzerai, which I will explain since you almost certainly don't know what that is. It's... okay, it's like a really tall person that is skinny with pointy ears. So, er, it's like an elf, except with darker skin than they have? Except not darker than Mitchell has. Y'know, come to think of it, I'm pretty sure they actually are elves after all and this is just a joke that everyone else is playing on me since I don't know any better. Weird nose, though. Anyway, this other elf guard (the rest of the guards are mostly humans, though of course not Sarge Mergeddin, who is clearly a dwarf). And his name is When (the elf guard's, I mean, not One-Eye McBeardy who obviously already has a name), which would not really matter that much except that he had a Black Company medallion) said he had been placed in the caravanserai guard by Croaker undercover, which seems odd when you consider that having an undercover guard hasn't really gotten us out of any trouble yet. He I guess heard what all happened last night and ran to Stammel, who is awake and hiding in the catacombs under Kelemvor's temple, and Stammel told him to come get us right away, which of course he did.
We went and talked to Stammel, even though we kind of weren't sure whether to trust him and by extension When. And Stammel did something that I honestly had given up on the idea of anyone doing around here, ever. He told a story!
Here's what happened, as best as I can remember. A long time ago, Stammel was in charge of a mercenary company, back in the days when the Mercenary Guild wasn't a growing organization, just someone's idea. And there were a few people in Stammel's Company: Croaker, Frikka, this guy Jarun that I think was also a paladin like Croaker and also a paladin of Torm like Frak is, and a few others that apparently didn't end up mattering that much. And after a long go at that, they took a job from the Light of the Sun about a year ago, which is this militant arm of the Church of Torm, who I should mention is a god of justice, at least I think. (But more the legal kind than the just kind, at least it seems like it.) There was this thing with a demon called Narish that they were hired to do, and it involved going to the Pillars of Night where he had a... well, whatever demons have that is the same as a temple. Only nobody has ever found the place, there's some kind of secret road to get there, and they I guess didn't find it either? I know they did some part of what they were supposed to do, or at least Stammel says so, because that was the root of what happened: their friend Jarun had, over the course of the job, gotten deeper into the Light of the Sun, and finally he defected to them and argued on their behalf when they refused to pay Stammel's Company for the job, whatever it had been. Maybe it was just fighting the demon armies?
So anyway, they had a falling out and parted ways, but he kept an ear out, because not long after, he learned that Jarun had found out something about the secret road to the Pillars of Night and was leading a strike force to take out Narish once and for all, or something similarly like what a paladin would do. And of course nobody has ever heard from him again. And then... well, I guess I don't know if there's another connection or not, because Stammel clammed up about a lot of the details from then on, insisting that they weren't important to the point, which was this: he is positive that Frikka is taking Croaker's heart to Jarun, who is apparently both alive and in service to that demon, Narish, and will use it to create some kind of undead thing or other, the downside of which will be Croaker staying dead.
So, said Stammel, while all that was happening in the past, here in the lately things have gotten worse too. Mendel got attacked again (twice in the same night! Kamroth may really have as many resources as Balasar said.) and there's a warrant for our arrest for breaking into Curuvar's house. I still don't understand how he was allowed to be there, much less the whole Takhisis cult thing, and yet we aren't. Between those things and Croaker's imminent doom, Stammel figured the best thing we could do would be to leave town, catch up to Frikka, stop her and bring her back for questioning and Croaker's heart for non-worse-deathening. (Allan's too, though I think it hadn't crossed his mind until I asked.) He pretty much begged us to, as if we weren't willing to save Croaker all along! But I guess I can understand why he wouldn't be positive he could trust us, since after all it's not like we can for sure trust him, especially with all the not telling us everything, plus also if Sarge Mergeddin wanted to arrest us, he easily could have. But still, saving Croaker is worth a bit of risk, right?
We headed back with Stammel to retake the guildhouse, which included a confrontation with our friend the dwarf, who may not be our friend anymore since he was stressed that we didn't let him stay at the crime scene from last night plus also Stammel made a show of force and he (Beardy) almost lost some of his paperwork on the way out. And then there was a whole other confrontation between When and Frak, who got into a fight about... well, I don't guess I'm sure. Either it was about whether it's okay to chop Frikka up into little pieces (When's position) or whether it was okay to not be mean about the person who killed Croaker (Frak's position). Which doesn't even seem like things that are related to each other, plus also I disagreed with both of those positions, because I think we aren't even particularly supposed to kill her unless she makes us, but I didn't disagree as much as they did! There was a shoving match and then When did some kind of dodge thing and then swept his leg and Frak was on the ground, and then Darzhur was... well, I mean, they say he isn't a draconian over and over, but I've never seen a draconian get madder than that! And Frak was even bleeding at the end of it, which I don't think made anyone suddenly trust When more than we had. Anyway, they were both properly cowed by Darzhur's show of in-chargeness and settled down, and for some reason we took Frikka's warhammer and ditched town.
I wonder if Balasar knows he has to escape and get back undercover with the Zhents on his own now?
Day 37 / Ches 17: So we took a few days on the road, during which When was nice to everyone and extra nice to Frak, and it came out that he has no other friends except Croaker, and now that he's dead, When is kind of out for blood. So that mostly explains that? They made up anyway, which I think helped the others to stop worrying about him, but I guess we'll see.
Then this morning, we got to the ruins of a town called Fastormel, which wouldn't really be there anymore except that some followers of Narish, called the Hand (of something? it might be Narish?) have been attacking settlers up further north into the mountains where the Pillars of Night are hidden, which means that there are all these refugees on their way to pretty much anywhere else, only they don't have enough money or willpower or whatever anymore. And we got there with the idea of asking around for Frikka (which we did later with no luck) or making contacts with the Light of the Sun, who are still in the area and apparently may not all be secret demon-worshippers (though I have my personal doubts) (which we did later with quite a bit of luck), but before we could, there was this outbreak of violence in the tent city when a minotaur leading a band of these Hand people starting cutting into tents and killing everyone around, and... I think I may have gotten one of the kids killed. We all ran in and did what we could to stop them, which was quite a bit, but it was too late to help. And then things got worse, because a bunch of people were asking what happened, including some of those Light of the Sun people, and I got distracted by taking the minotaur's head, which sounds disgusting and was, but I figured it would make a good trophy for the guildhouse wall when we get back plus also I was kind of mad at him for killing that kid (and I have this cloak that lets me put big things like a minotaur's head into little places like the pockets of my cloak), and I didn't realize until it was too late that all the people were taking away the bodies of the dead refugees. And, and, I think they were eating them! Which is horrible, not just because they're EATING THEM, but because I think I had enough money that I could have had the kid brought back to life and maybe made up a little bit for those other kids that the lizard people have. And I didn't, and now it's too late.
So I'm not going to let it happen again, and once we've saved Croaker, I'll explain to Darzhur about how we can't just let them stay there anymore. Because, well, we can't!
Anyway, those Light of the Sun people liked what we'd done, and their leader, a lady named Emesha, wants to meet us again in the morning to give us a job. Which sounds kind of familiar and I can kind of see what's coming, but it's not like we were in it for the money. As long as Frak doesn't start worshipping a demon I guess we'll be ahead of the game. But mainly I need to talk to Darzhur about being sure we don't get sidetracked, because the sooner we save Croaker, the sooner we can save the kids.
 Tiamat has five heads, one for each color of evil dragon. Though I think there are more dragons here than five per side, and also that they may not all be on the traditional sides, both of which are weird. Still, now you know!
 Well, okay, they mattered a little. Poor.... tiefling-guy-I-can't-remember-right-now-b
 Although I guess I'd already promised not to help him? Man, that whole thing is so confused in my head by now, I hope we find him again and don't kill him very much, so he can tell me what a) was supposed to happen and b) did.