Thanks again to Ember.
Where to begin, Where to begin. I suppose at the start. The Blue age, when the world was ruled by the Primal Spirits (although it could be believed that there was an age before that, but moving on). Ul-Athra, Stone Brother was a being of such power, that even today, there are those that revere him. It is his crown we seek, and it should stand as a testament to his power that even a fragment of the crown he merely wore is one of the most powerful magical artifacts I have ever seen, and would motivate lich and sorceror-king alike to pursue it – pursue the one foolish enough to bond with it.
And yet, it is a key to power, and I would seek such power for myself that I might change my fate. Ramsee questioned the others about their motives, offering up his own motive – the elimination of all defiling magic. He was ultimately satisfied with the answers he got, and we agreed to intensify our search for the Tree of Life, armed as we now are with more knowledge gathered from disparate and jealously cloistered sources.
One such source, surprisingly, was in a missive possessed by the now deceased slaver leader in Alturak, connected it seems, to King Hamanau. We came across it when we freed the remaining slaves there (having decapitated the leadership of the organization previously) – I am of 2 minds about the freedom of the slaves. Most of them are ill equipped to be their own masters. But freedom is something they should have. Red merely thought of the exercise as a means to generate chaos to cover our own departure from the area. I don’t think it will work like that, but it should at least delay any organised response to our actions.
Here we split up, Dassalius and Maximus trailblazing to find Dalius, a druid and apparent sibling to Dassalius, who may be key to finding the Tree. Red, Ramsee and I headed towards a likely site for the Tree itself. Ramsee promised he could use magic to keep the two groups in touch. He seems legit at least in so far as his skill with ritual magics is concerned. It is a field that I am unschooled in, although I know the theory well enough.
Alas we got sidetracked, as some Ul-Athra cultist earth spirits decided to nick the crown fragment while we rested. We had to dig them out, then battle into a small cave in the earth to recover the fragment. I have marked the site on our map as best I can, as it is potentially a valuable secret bolt hole, complete with a source of fresh water and fungus garden. Its fertility speaks volumes about how we may be on the right track to find the Tree.
Another minor event has me thinking that this sight may have had a bleed through of power. Within the heart of the lair, where the primitive sigils were thickest and the enemy’s powers the greatest, I – changed. I believe the term is ‘Hulked out’. The power within my blood rose sharply. The effect faded eventually, and the change was considerably beneficial to the matter at hand – that being extreme violence. Still – it is a worry to me – I need to learn to control and master this power. At the moment it is still that of my curse, the curse of demonkind. I will break this curse, even if it means molding it to serve me.
More worrying – both Red and Ramsee happily jumped down a hole into a lower cavern. As athletic as Red is, I doubt he could have managed an inverted climb across said cavern’s roof to get back to the entry shaft and exit again. Fortunately my altered state did not alter my intelect, and I set up a rope before joining them in a cavern with no other exits. Full marks for enthusiasm to the others though.
We recovered a few items of potential interest, and I am using my knowledge and magic to learn more. These cultists of Ul-Athra have maintained different records, and their perspective will undoubtably shine new light on our quest.