Agents of the Mark

A Successful Revival

Sar, Zarantyr 14, 998 YK

Ah, the day has finally arrived! I finished ROB’s body just this morning, and I just spoke with the wizard who owns the portal to Dolurrh. It cost me a pretty penny – indeed, most of the rest of my mother’s fortune; I’m broke now. (I suppose I’ll need to fix that – looking to the future, I will probably have to move to Sharn for a time and do research in order to pay for my basic necessities – ah, well. Whatever is necessary, I suppose.) In any case, I am off to Dolurrh, and will finish this entry when I return.
That was… more difficult than expected. First, I had to find Maria. That took… a while (perhaps hours, perhaps days – I’m not sure), and had quite an impact on my resolve, as Dolurrh is wont to do. After I found her, I had the harder task of persuading her to come with me and to return to life. It’s truly astounding, how passive souls become in the afterlife. I first simply asked her, fully explaining the situation (to be certain that she understood that she would come to life in Rob’s body). I had to keep getting her attention, though; it was apparent that Dolurrh had had an effect on her focus and that she was very uninterested in the whole ordeal. She asked me why she would want to leave Dolurrh. I stated that it is natural for every person to seek life, just as it is natural for every person to avoid death. She said that she had believed that in life, but that now she was fine where she was and that now she did not want to go through the bother of living again.
I asked her whether she felt angry and wanted revenge on Arun Kol for killing her. She said no, that she didn’t care. I asked her whether she cared that Kev and possibly ROB had been sent to the Keeper. She said that no, that didn’t bother her either; that was saddening for them, but that it still wasn’t worth the bother of living. I could see that I was beginning to get through to her, though. I then appealed to her sense of duty, stating that it was our responsibility to take him down, to finish what we had started such that he could harm no others. She seemed to argue with herself for a bit, then assented, stating “if duty was so important to me in life, I suppose I must honor my living self for her desire to do her duty.” We returned and she is currently adapting to ROB’s body. She has lost much of both her and ROB’s power, but now has some diluted combination of both. I, meanwhile, plan our next move.
Our first step will have to be to get funding. To do so, I will move us to Sharn, and I will take on some research opportunities for a brief time before returning to our mission. To Sharn!

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A Theory

Zor, Aryth 5, 997 YK

I have done it! I have proven my theory true (with some tweaking, of course). I have discovered a method of bringing Maria back into this world! I will need to convince her to leave Dolurrh, of course – but that should prove easy compared to what I just did. Dolurrh is currently coterminous to the material plane, so I should just be able to plane shift onto that plane and bring her back. One of the other wizards of Arcanix happens to have a portal that links to Dolurrh when Dolurrh is coterminous to the prime material, so I’m going to ask him to use it – and pay what’s necessary. First, however, I have to adjust ROB’s corpse for the job.
My idea is to bring Maria back into ROB’s body, since her own body is either incinerated or buried and decayed; in either case, I can no longer bring her back into her own body. As such, I will transfer her soul into ROB’s body. I will first need to cleanse ROB’s brain – although I believe I can leave in his fighting technique and other physical associations, to allow her to adapt to her new limbs – and to repair his body. Unfortunately, with the end of the war and the banishment of the creation of the warforged as of a year ago, parts are going to be more difficult to get. I’ll have to improvise some, and no doubt she will not be physically the same as ROB was. Nevertheless, I hope to complete this by mid-winter – definitely before Dolurrh leaves its coterminous state with the prime material.
I’m just glad I learned so much studying ROB while he was alive; otherwise, repairing him would be impossible. I wonder, since he was originally forged, whether it would be possible to repair him to his original state, at which point what I’m doing now would kill him… but no. I’ve already come to terms with what I must do to his body in order to bring Maria back. And besides, no one would pay to revive a warforged – even I lack the money to do so, and given that he was killed by a Keeper Bane weapon… well, let’s just say I don’t have much hope that I’ll see him on Dolurrh, because either he belongs to the Keeper or he didn’t go to the afterlife to begin with due to his being a warforged. For his sake, I hope it was the latter. Oblivion is better than perpetual slavery. Perhaps I’ll eventually free Kev and ROB from the Keeper – I should hope that I will – but first things first. I have to kill Arun Kol so that he doesn’t kill anyone else with that dreaded scythe, and to do that, I need Maria’s help. So, there it is, I suppose: ROB stands no chance of revival, and this is his only chance of revenge and possible eventual freedom, to have a revived Maria and I working together.

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Battling Arun Kol

Wir, Dravago 4, 995 YK

Wow. Today was one hell of a day. I’m going to have to write about it from beginning to end just in order to get it all out of my head. First things first, present state of affairs: Everyone is dead. Now, with that is over with, let me say what happened:
We started this morning hot on the trail for Arun Kol. We had already taken care of the remaining soldiers, and the proportions I predicted were reasonably accurate, although the dead proportion was slightly larger than expected due to Cyre. We came to the shed where he had been hiding out/living, and Kev went in to scout as usual. He didn’t come out. After a few minutes, the rest of us barged in and found him already dead. The ogre stood over his body with a Keeper’s Fang scythe – I identified it based on the Khyber shard embedded into the base of the blade and the runes located on the edge. Needless to say, we (or rather, the rest of “they”) charged.
ROB was down soon into the battle – the ogre took him out entirely. I’m not sure whether warforged have “souls” in the conventional sense, so I don’t know whether the Keeper’s Fang would have affected him or whether he would have met oblivion. Either way, it’s a horrible fate to contemplate.
Having taken down our warforged, Arun Kol next focused on Kalinharath. I asked whether we should retreat, and Kalinharath replied that we could not – not after Arun Kol sent two of our compatriots to the Keeper! Maria nodded, and we fought on. However, Kalinharath was then killed – taken down by a swing of the scythe. I’m not sure whether he bled out on the ground or whether the scythe took him out directly – it looked like the latter, but I don’t think it could have been, for reasons that will be mentioned later.
Arun Kol was quite weak by this point, and so Maria and I decided to fight on for our fellow warriors, and perhaps we could attain victory nevertheless. However, Arun Kol knocked out Maria, and so only I remained. I knew I wasn’t going to last long – I only had to fight long enough for Maria to bleed out, so that that creature wouldn’t get the opportunity to make the killing blow with his scythe.
Then, however, (and this is why I don’t think Kalinharath could have been taken down directly by the scythe’s swing), Kalinharath rose again – as a ghost! At this point, Arun Kol fled the building, no longer being strong enough to resist the combined forces of myself and the ghost of Kalinharath. Kalinharath went chasing after him, spewing curses and shouting the terrible fates that should fall upon Arun Kol. I had never heard him so furious.
I stayed out the night in that shack, fearing my fate if Arun Kol returned. Eventually, the ghost of Kalinharath returned and told me that Arun Kol had escaped him for now – Arun Kol could run faster than he could fly – but that he would not return here. He advised me to gather up everyone’s bodies and all of the ogre’s treasure into his bag of holding, and then to flee to the nearby lightning rail station. He would protect me if Arun Kol came after me. Fortunately, he did not, and so we both made it to the lightning rail. Unfortunately, he could not ride the lightning rail due to his incorporeality, and so I went back to Aundair without his ghost.
I’m writing this on the lightning rail as I ride to Aundair. I’m still in shock. Kev, slaughtered? ROB, deactivated? Kalinharath, taken down? Maria… dead? The first three, I could believe – ROB had seemed to have accepted his fate when I first met him (and I don’t know whether he went to the Keeper), and Kalinharath at least got the opportunity to come back as a ghost, but… Kev, sent to the land of the Keeper? I swear, I’ll kill Arun Kol for that terrible crime – and for killing Maria, as well. Maria… I can hardly believe she’s dead. In all of this, she was my one shining point of stable light… and now she’s gone. I wonder if I could revive her. I don’t have the money in my bank to pay for the Resurrection, nor do I think any honest priest would offer it to me – they would require that I pray allegiance to the Sovereign Host or the Silver Flame, and would not accept a worshipper of the Traveler such as myself. Furthermore, that would require that I have Maria’s body – and I doubt that her family would offer it to me, since they’ll want to bury her. I suppose I’ll have to find my own solution to this problem.
Addendum: I have reported to the state. They have allowed me to depart from the army, and have taken the possessions of the other members of my party. They were going to dismantle ROB, however, rather than bury him or anything of the sort, so I asked that I be able to keep his disabled body. They shrugged – a warforged didn’t mean anything to them – and they lent me a bag of holding to carry him back to Arcanix with. I graciously accepted and am currently carrying him back with me. I have the beginnings of a theory, but I don’t want to write it down in case it is untrue – it would give me false hope. I need to confirm my hypothesis, and when I do I will add my discoveries to this journal entry.

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Destruction of Cyre

Far, Vult 27, 994 YK

We just heard about the destruction of Cyre. Astounding.
It doesn’t actually affect our mission in any way. Since we were sent out to take revenge, that still applies. We’re going to have to find out if any of our targets died in Cyre, though. Oh well. Probably makes our life easier in the long run. Still, I can’t help feeling that the destruction of an entire province is much more significant than a single town.
Oh well. Orders are orders. Kalinharath was severely shaken by the news. He told it to the rest of us. ROB immediately asked how it impacted our mission; Kalinharath had replied that he had to get in touch with our superiors, but that he suspected it did not (since that point, he has confirmed it). Kev and I were both silent; Maria asked if there were any survivors. Kalinharath replied that there were, indeed, refugees. Kalinharath then told us to go our separate ways for the night, to contemplate that and write in our journals (as I’m doing now. Unusually, I actually do want to write about this – the knowledge of my mental state now could prove useful in the future.) Right now, we’re all in our tents, writing.
I suppose I should provide an update on our mission, too. We’ve caught up to 113 of the 200 soldiers that were originally in the battalion. Another 64 were dead before we found them, for a total of 177 that we are done with. Among the leaders, we have dealt with two captains, another was dead, and one is still at large (we’re tracking him now). Arun Kol is also still at large. Among those that we find, we don’t kill all of them – we’ve spared 89 foot soldiers and one of the captains, finding that the foot soldiers were not responsible for the disaster (confirmed both by a Zone of Truth and by Kev’s intuition) and that the captain was neither responsible nor aware of the actions of the foot soldiers of the other captains until after the town was burned, nor did he decide to follow his leader’s orders – frequently, he would release captives that Arun Kol wanted to eat, etc. So, we let him go, too.
After we track down this last captain, we’ve got 21 foot soldiers left, plus Arun Kol. If the proportions keep up, we’ll spare about 10 of them, and another 5 will be dead already. I suspect, however, that the number dead will be larger after Cyre – which gets me back to the original purpose of this entry. Cyre is gone. That’ll shake things up a bit. Might even end the war. I doubt the end of the war will happen this year – especially since it’s been some time since Cyre was destroyed already – but I suspect that the war is finally winding down.

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Getting our First Mission

Mol, Nymm 2, 993 YK

Having spent the last year training, we finally received our first mission today. Apparently, one of the border towns was raided and burned to the ground, and our mission is to annihilate those who performed the deed. It’ll take us some time to track down all of the actors, to be certain, but their deeds were unacceptable, even in warfare. They attacked a civilian settlement, burned it to the ground, raping, looting and pillaging – even I was astonished by the terrible things the enemy had done. Maria was speechless, having never heard of such a thing; ROB and Kev were silent, and Kalinharath was somewhat shaken, thanking our commander for the opportunity to take vengeance upon these terrible people.
From the sounds of it, a group of about 200 attacked the town. Undoubtedly, most of them will be common foot soldiers, the taking out of whom should be easy enough. Some of the commanders, though, will be a bit more difficult – especially the leader, the terrible Arun Kol, an ogre (whom I still cannot believe ever became a commander given his reputation for brutality). He is quite intelligent for an ogre, though, and certainly deserves his position in intellect if not in honor. He even uses a Keeper’s Fang weapon – incredibly horrendous. He’ll be a tricky one to kill – for most of the rest, the difficult part will be hunting them down, not killing them. Still, this’ll keep us out of the main fighting for a year or so.
We’re leaving tomorrow morning. I figured that this was a big enough event that if I didn’t write about it, Kalinharath would smack me for it and make me write in it daily for a month. To avoid that, I chose to write about today. Anyway, this’ll be the next few years of my life, I guess. Could be worse.
Looking back, I suppose I should conclude my thought from last time. I believe I do like her romantically, although I haven’t said anything. For one, it would be entirely inappropriate for me to ask her socially when we are both in the military together – it would be unprofessional. Secondly, if we’re going to be working together for years and we break up, that would be incredibly awkward. Finally, I’m not entirely sure how deep this preference goes, and I don’t know her feelings towards me, either – she certainly hasn’t expressed any interest in me to me. Then again, neither have I in her to her, so that doesn’t mean anything. I must say, though, she’s had to heal me up a few times, and I’m fine with the pain just to feel her fingers.
Geez, I sound ridiculous. I must be more of a love-filled fool than I thought. Oh well.

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My Army Division

Zol, Dravago 24, 992 YK

I’ve put off writing in my journal for some time. Really, the only reason I’m writing now is that Kalinharath caught me not doing so, so he made me start writing. I argued, and so we agreed that I’d write today, as punishment for deceiving him, and from here on out only when something significant happens, or when he tells me to write. Since I have nothing to write about from my own life, I guess I’ll write about the other members of my band.
Kalinharath, our leader, is a dutiful old veteran. He honestly strongly believes that Queen Aurala ir’Wynarn would be the best ruler over the Five Kingdoms, and so fights valiantly in her name. Personally, I’d rather have him be King than the present Queen – he’s a good leader in and of himself – but since that is, of course, ridiculous, I’ll support him in his cause, even if I don’t feel strongly either way.
Kev is… unusual. He doesn’t eat with the rest of us. He’s shy and doesn’t talk much. I still don’t know much about him. Still, I get the sense that he respects Kalinharath and that he at least likes the rest of us, even if he doesn’t socialize. He’s really good at what he does, though – he scouts like no one I’ve seen, and is able to get information out of anybody. He only speaks a lot when he’s in a disguise or to say that someone the rest of us talk to is lying (he’s really perceptive, too). Anyway, I can’t speak too much to him.
ROB is intriguing. As a warforged, he immediately receives my attention. I can hardly believe that they have managed to mix arcane and mundane fighting into one warforged, but apparently it is possible. I’ve studied him a lot so that I can repair him easily, and I almost think I could build a warforged – perhaps not from scratch, because there are many intricately carved pieces that I am not sure I could produce, but from the broken pieces of one, definitely. I’ll definitely keep studying him, to satisfy my curiosity if nothing else.
Then there’s Maria. She’s really naïve – it’s clear she has never seen fighting before. She is a strict vegetarian, surprised that anyone eats meat – I guess that comes from living a cloistered life. Still, her naiveté gives her an innocence that is highly attractive. Even if it’s difficult to admit to myself, I might be developing a crush on her, although she’s never expressed any interest in me to my knowledge. If these feelings are arising only after a month, I wonder how I’ll feel about her after we fight together for real. It’ll be something to watch for, to be sure.

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Joining the Army

Zol, Eyre 24, 992 YK

I spent the last fifteen years mastering magic independently. Since I completed my apprenticeship, I completed the customary time before I became a full-fledged wizard – a long period of studying magic on my own. Of course, I hardly spent the whole time studying magic – if I did, I would not have lived up to my name of “Tinker.” I spent much of this period making small gadgets to sell – nothing too complicated, and not much that is magical. I mostly focused on things that are useful, although when I studied magical theory I built some objects that were designed to be my own experiments as well. Fortunately, none of these experiments ever blew up in my face, as some other wizards’ have.
After this time, I was named a wizard, and I had my name added to the records – and was promptly drafted into the army for Aundair. I didn’t really care about which side I joined in the war – all sides were equally foolish, since all they were arguing over was who would rule. Zilargo ultimately chose to support Breland, but I didn’t really care either way – I didn’t have any friends from home anyway. I was placed into a regiment under a Kalashtar named Kalinharath. In the same group was Kev, a changeling; ROB, a marvel of engineering of House Cannith – a warforged into whom they have infused the Elvish style of mixing arcane and divine casting (I must find out how they did that some time!); and Marissima “Maria” d’Sivis, gnomish monk and “spirit shaman” – a less animalistic druid, essentially.
Kalinharath “advised” me to keep a journal about everything I did so that I would learn from my mistakes. Well, I’m not going to write in it every day – perhaps every couple months or so, or when I have an important day. In any case, I’m in training at the moment, and I am going to be for some time. We work well together. Kalinharath holds the front line, with ROB and Maria at his sides, while Kev scouts ahead; I stand back, repair ROB, and use my magic when needed. Training is boring, but whatever – the more time to work on my gadgets!
I guess I should comment that now all of my “reflective journaling” – the massive backlog that comes from leading a life before starting a journal – is complete. From here on out, I’m just going to be writing about things as they occur – not after they occur. Well, a little bit after they happen obviously, but in the next down time – not years later. I don’t know how useful this will be, and I don’t know whether I’ll keep doing this after I leave the army, but for now, I think it might come in handy.

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Returning Home

Zor, Sypheros 5, 976 YK

I returned home today. I studied hard over the past few years, and master was kind – although he was really old (for a human, anyway). He had said that he was going to take a few days to get over a bad sickness, and that I could go home. He said that I had studied hard in addition to my engineering in my free time – he had introduced me to a few acquaintances from House Cannith who had furthered my abilities as an artificer. I wasn’t close friends with any of them, but they did teach me a few things – and I taught them some stuff, too.
But I digress. In any case, he gave me permission to go home while he came over his illness. I arrived at home and found my mother not at home. I was unsurprised at this, because she was normally not at home during the day. What surprised me was the dust that had built up on every surface of the home, indicating that she had not been at home for a long time. I looked around, but found no clue as to where she had gone. I didn’t dare ask the neighbors – you don’t quite trust anybody in gnome society, and I didn’t want them knowing that I was around if something had happened to my mother.
I looked about for clues, but couldn’t find any. Eventually, I gave up, and decided that I would return to my master. After all, he wasn’t doing very well, and although I was giving him time to get over the cold, I figured I should take care of him if there was no point in staying. I gave up the trail on my mother, although I want to pick it up again someday. I have two theories: one is that the members of House Sivis came for her, and the other is that The Trust came for her. In either case, I don’t know where or how she is – she may or may not still be alive.
I decided to check one last place – the bank, to see when the last time she had used her account had been. I discovered that the last time she had added or withdrawn money had been three years prior – so my mother was likely missing for three years. They said that since she had been missing for so long, as next-of-kin, I would receive access to all of my mother’s funds. I accepted the banknote, thinking that, at the very least, the money would help me through the beginnings of my life, and might even help me find her.
I left for my master’s home later the same day, and found him in bad shape. He was bedridden and coughing. He and I both knew he didn’t have much time left, so he tested me in a few new ways and declared my apprenticeship over. He died a few days later.

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Gradutation Day

Sar, Nymm 21, 970 YK

Yesterday – from the perspective of past me, anyway, since I’m still back-filling from when I’m writing this – was an exciting day. Firstly, I graduated, although I already wrote about that. The important thing came after that. My mother was around, and we went out for some ice cream, then went back home. I remember the moment exactly – I gave her a hug, and I saw it, just over the collar of her shirt (it was a hot day, so we took off our vests when we got home) – a dragonmark of House Sivis. Worse, it wasn’t a small mark – it was a full-sized Siberys Mark of Scribing. I could hardly breathe – and it wasn’t because of the hug.
We separated, and I just stuttered for a second. She gave me an odd look, and I managed to spit out “the… dragonmark… you…”; her mouth turned into a small frown, and she asked me what I was talking about. I told her to look at her back in a mirror, and her head dropped, as if what I had said had either just relieved her greatly or it had depressed her. The sigh she made sounded like it was the latter.
She told me that she had hoped I wouldn’t notice – as if I couldn’t – and she said that it had come up just the day prior. She said that she was planning on telling me tomorrow (well, on the day that this journal entry is marked) because she hadn’t wanted to ruin my graduation day. In any case, she said, she had no idea what to do about it, so she was going to try to continue through her life as if she hadn’t spontaneously obtained one. She knew she was going to have to be careful about it, though – an un-housed Siberys dragonmark is a dangerous thing to have.
She said not to worry about it, although she was happy that I was concerned. She said that she had set up an apprenticeship with a wizard in Arcanix, since I had shown that I was an acceptably good wizard. She said she was happy I was following in her footsteps, becoming a wizard in my own right. She asked me whether I was going to specialize, and in what; I told her that I would specialize in Transmutation, because I found it most interesting. I also figured that if I was going to be building constructs in my free time, being able to magically repair them would be helpful. She then asked what I was going to give up study of, and I replied evocation (since it was just flashy and destructive, for the most part) and enchantment (too much trouble to get into there). She smiled, and said that I would be happy in Arcanix, and that she had bought a lightning rail trip a few days later – and so I was apprenticed in Arcanix.

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Father & Schooling

Wir, Lharvion 25, 949 YK

Today is the day that my Dad was taken away. Some of The Trust came and took him away for public execution for treason. Some of his paintings opposed The Trust itself – a dangerous business. However, he kept these paintings locked up, and didn’t sell them. The assassins came, took him, confiscated his paintings, and left, all on this day; he was summarily executed a few days later, after a short trial (and a quick one – they had his paintings after all). The question is how they knew about them. After all, the only people who could have known were those in our house, which obviously narrows down to my mother.
I suppose a doppelganger could have read my father’s thoughts or mine, as well, at one of the few times he left the house to bring his paintings to the merchant of House Orien that sold them across Khorvaire. He didn’t make much money – my mother did that – but he did make some – but I digress. In any case, my mother did not seem overly distressed at my father’s death – either she was in shock, I suppose, or she did it herself, and, given the impression I got of her in the few times I saw her, I suspect it was the latter. I did get the sense that she genuinely cared for me, despite what she may or may not have done to my father.
She sent me to get a formal education a few weeks later, and so I went to a boarding school, since she couldn’t spend time away from her work to take care of me. I made a few friends here, but we weren’t very close – we were more acquaintances who were in several classes together than close friends. I mostly spent time on my own, building things, both magical and non-magical – thus giving me my name, “Tinker.” I only took a few Artificer classes, although I aced them easily. I also excelled in my classes on magical theory, and I did acceptably in the more traditional courses – I couldn’t list off history facts now, but I passed my tests and everything. And so, a few years later, I graduated – middle of my class, anonymous as always. No friends, no enemies – entirely disaffected by the school, I was able to move on without even a disturbance in my life. I wouldn’t say that my graduation was entirely typical, though – actually, I suppose I should write about that as a separate day.

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