Devin’s Story
You meet the proprietor of the Twilight Tavern

You are running in a dark and tangled wood over frozen ground. Hellhounds pursue you down a gully that comes to a rock face where the little stream you followed goes underground. Breath comes out in puffs of short-lived clouds while your feet are starting to tingle with the beginnings of frostbite. You turn and level your weapon in the darkness when you see a plain oaken door to your left.

How a door got here in the Phantir Forest you do not know, nor do you care. You grasp the plain, wrought iron latch and thrown the door open. Inside you see a flame, dancing in the air and a bar, just twenty and half ten steps inside.

At the bar stands a tall, dark skinned man. He’s bald and smiling.

“What will you have; Asgardian Ale, Celestial Wine, maybe some Fey Whiskey if you have the stomach for it?”

You walk past the floating ball of fire and see chairs and tables arranged in a strange manner. Many sit on the ceiling and the walls as if, from their resting place it was the floor and you were walking on the wall or ceiling.

You sit and are handed a Fey Whiskey.

“I am Devin, the proprietor here. I am very impressed with how you led those hellhounds away from that town. You saved over two score children and threescore adults and one very sorry hedge magician.”

“He did not know the scroll was cursed.” You choke out between sips of the whiskey.

“Ah, it was not a curse but a spell to open a door. There are many more doors than people realize. Most only see the windows which they call stars.”

“Stars are windows?”

Devin looks around the room. “Do you have time for a story?”

You lift your shot glass and down this rest of this startlingly smooth and warming liquor. “A few moments ago I thought I had run out of time; now I have more time than I know what to do with!”

Devin smiles and sets another whisky before you. “Let me tell you about Amand the Lucky, Kona the Truth-Seeker, Raymond the Hell-Handed and Sir Gavin of the Talking Sword and Whispering Shield. They frequent here and I’m proud to call them friends.”

“Amand the Lucky, a halfing fond of wine and good company, chanced across the legendary Ship of Fate and somehow became its latest Captain! This paradox ship sails from inevitability to possibility and plumbs the nature of existence and the edges of expectation. On his first voyage he almost sunk beneath the Astral Ocean by taking one of my favorite customers, the Mad Magician Samsa, to a place that had such a low possibility of existence it should not of been found!”

“You see Samsa, after being given a spell to destroy his enemies by the Meddler, ended up destroying his whole world. The Meddler made these terrible bargains all the time. So Samsa came here and drank, while playing games of chess against infernal beings over his soul.”
“Then he found out Amand Captained the Boat of Fate. So Samsa charted a course to a possible place where his world might still exist! The journey drained him and he died, finally at peace in what may or may not have been his home.”

“Now Amand, Fame the Tiefling, Wythnyr the Ranger, GFoot the Archer, and the old campaigner Sir Gavin disrupted the Meddler’s existence, leaving him as a memory albeit one that could again become a nightmare. And they were off to save the Hegemon himself from traitors and that Bex turncoat Varsa.”

“In that battle they died, and then didn’t die by reawakening with their friend the dwarf paladin Kona the Truth Seeker! It seemed that one who works with the Conservators of Time granted them a chance to rewrite the inevitable by traveling to Visnor and slaying the High Pontifex of the Elven Empire, Agathour.”

“This servant of the Conservators of Time, Bettina, recruited a man who had been cursed by Agathour, Raymond the Hellhanded! The prideful Agathour created a sentient sword, so full of malice and power, that it desired its own creator dead. Mortal hands could not wield this terrible sword so Agathour found an adventurer and crafted a metal hand for him. Agathour thought the magic in the hand and the sword would make Raymond his servant; instead he made himself an implacable foe.”

“So they all sailed to Visnor and entered its shunned gates. They conversed in conundrums with the fabled Babbling Pillar, learning some but still leaving unsolved much. They then encountered the undead servants of Agathour and began a battle that had never been seen in Visnor, nor ever will again. “

“Amand turned some of the Undead by calling on Tymora the goddess of Luck. Kona destroyed some with her holy might added to the magical Ax of the Argad. Sir Gavin’s sword opted between talking to Agathour’s Sword and Sister Shield’s remonstrances.”

“After defeating them Raymond felt himself drawn to a central dais where Agathour arose from the earth. Kona sensed that Agathour’s phylactery lay below Unholy Lich-Priest, under a skull shaped slab of obsidian.”

“The battle toppled many of the surrounding ruins, until Raymond stabbed Agathour with his own, self-hating sword!”

“At this Kona crashed her Ax of the Argad through the Obsidian skull shaped crypt and found the phylactery. They destroyed it and all the half consumed souls that fed Agathour’s undead life escaped into the air.”

“The adventurers quickly left and sailed back to Bex only to find Alexandra was no longer a Warlock who had a Pact of the Book, she now had a Pact of the Blade. Midsea had changed and with it some of the reality.”

“For example there was now an army from Elvenport camped in Bex and the Hegemon’s Horde looked even larger. It seemed that in addition to the threat beyond the walls Meleen, one of the co-regents of Elvenport thought her army should rule Bex and topple the Inner Circle of Wizards!”

“What happened next!” you ask. “I have always longed to see Bex as my brother lives there now. If Bex falls to the Elves or the Hegemon its fate concerns me!”

Devin tilted his head and looked at the door.

“I cannot see what will happen next. It all depends if they are in an altered future of Midsea or in an alternate version of that same world.”

You frown. “You do not know? You who run this magical place!?!”

“I gave up being a servant of the Gods years ago. Destiny and Entropy, Luck and Chaos are all coming to a grand convergence. It is, as always, up to the heroes to solve.”

Alexandra's Second Entry
From the Book “Living Through the War"

From the Book “Living Through the War

Excerpt from the journal of Alexandra the Conjuror

Those who study the Hegemon Wars cannot escape the masterful three volume work by the Ash River Sage but they should not ignore the first hand accounts of those of us who lived through it. This book consolidates many of these voices in a way I hope is both entertaining and informative. Be warned that more than a few of the following pages deal with my home, that endlessly intriguing and infuriating metropolis Bex and how the off-worlders called POSCo saved it.

I will give commentary all the way through. One of my most recent discoveries was the Journal of Alexandra the Summoner. For years many people referred to her as a Wizard but with her newly found Journals we now know she only masqueraded as a Mage. Alexandra was a Warlock whose patron was the Chthonic being Omag the Silent. Only the Off-Worlders knew this secret. This knowledge escaped even the Ash River Sage, who exists on the edge of immortality. I, who was in her employ for many years as a scribe, never suspected.

Alexandra worked with all the Off-Worlders, first as a contract employer through the Gnome Cedric and then directly with them. Some say it was the human Archer GFoot who negotiated the new bargain; others say it was Felix chopping off Cedric’s hand. Cedric played a much smaller part in the war and in Midsea after that. Kona the Dwarf Paladin and the human noble Sir Gavin came to Midsea with the Sorceress as Cedric’s newest attempt to gain wealth but quickly joined Alexandra so as to save her city.

We have the advantage of looking backward and we see how the following section of her journal points the way to Alexandra’s complex and history braking fate. But now her words…not mine.

Lagermer the Limping Sage

The Slaying of the Meddler-

When I engineered the vote that got Jorge elected to the Inner Circle of Mages I knew my fellow Inner Circle colleague Varsa would strike back. That old sybarite with his constant consumption of youth potions and pretty people is jealous of any new Mage. But I didn’t realize he had such deep ties to the Hegemon, nor did the Hegemon realize Varsa had close ties with the Meddler.

This was always the case with that harbinger of Chaos and Old Night. The Meddler helped enough to cause a war while hurting all he could in the process. The Elven Ranger Wythnyr made this insight long before I did. I thought the Meddler to be an old Wizard from the Elven Empire and suspected he was the Red Crowned King himself, transformed by some fey magic.

Much of my plans for Bex at that time revolved around the spirit of Marcus Redhand fully reincarnating within Jorge. I succeeded but not the way I anticipated. Looking back I realize I am cursed in both love and life. The only true love has been the city of Bex.

But again I digress. All this writing is too hard to keep straight. I don’t understand how my limping copy boy Lagemer can do this for hours. He is a scribe in training. His father worked for me but was killed in the avalanche caused by Agathour. With his mom working at the Moonshadow Tavern I had to give him something to do. He is surprisingly good and I always see him reading in my library or discussing obscure points of Bex history with my hulking servant Seneschal.


So…I had been searching the past year for the Twilight Tavern. The way it reappeared here and across the Multiverse delivering the Off-Worlders to Hegemon threatened places raised my curiosity. The Twilight Tavern seemed to somehow be working against the Meddler. I divined that the bartender in that small peripatetic demiplane, Devin the Devout, knew how to defeat the Meddler but I couldn’t find that traveling pocket universe!

Armand, that partying halfing cleric who lived off luck, had no trouble finding it. It practically found him! I know the Mad Magician Samsa, who was rumored to have destroyed his own world, drank there and played chess against the Infernals for his soul. Samsa, who never lost in those chess games, made those Infernals construct an arrow that could bind the Meddler to Midsea and take away some of his extra-planar powers. How I wished to know where he and the Twilight Tavern were! The Ship of Fate was one way I could have found it but Armand became its newest Captain!

Then one morning, Sir Gavin, Kona (who somehow knows more about Devin the Devout than I do) and GFoot all make their way through my old neighborhood of Moonshadow, down Umbra Alley and stumble right upon it.

They come upon Wythnyr and Fame fighting an acid spewing Minotaur and a cutlass wielding Astral/Ethereal Pirate. Wythnyr and Fame traveled to Moonshadow after making a bargain with the Hegemon to escape one of the deep caves beneath Bex.

Sir Gavin charged in after GFoot sent the Minotaur to its death with a shot that entered his ear. Then Fame, after his second attempt, leapt over an old obelisk, reversed his magic rapier, the Verdant Viper, and stabbed the extra-dimensional Pirate down through his collarbones and straight through his brittle, box shaped heart!

They then all entered the Twilight Tavern, without letting me in, conversed with Devin and exited. GFoot tried to negotiate me inside but Devin was resolute. Why he distrusts me is a riddle whose answer never revealed itself.

I later learned Devin told GFoot he possessed Samsa’s magic arrow that could anchor the Meddler to Midsea. All of them then left me and went in search of an Elven Teleport Rune to negotiate more with the Hegemon and ran into the Meddler!

The battle was long. Wythnyr and GFoot, who both carry a Bow of the Boarder Guard, found their arrows even more deadly when they fought together. This confirms the legends that the roving Rangers of the Boarder Guard, when they would join forces, could hold off an army!

Amand found his spells didn’t work until the Meddler was struck by the Elven Arrow that GFoot carried. He then cast a spell that made the Meddler’s silver skin soft. Fame, whose small hand crossbow kept missing the Meddler, then attacked him with the green glowing rapier, Verdant Viper!

Sir Gavin, after a long charge and taking much damage from the Meddler’s blue blasts of lightning, swung Brother Sword down. The Meddler disintegrated in a burst of blue energy, throwing old Sir Gavin back and leaving only a red robe and a ring.

Fame quickly put on the robe and found himself gifted with a strange sort of sight. Every living being looked like shaped energy and he began to feel an awesome anger. The Off-Worlders noticed his skin turning silver and they took the robe off him.

They then gathered themselves atop the Transportation Rune and instantly traveled to the Hegemon’s War Tent, where they were confronted by 20 assassins who were there to kill the Hegemon!

(the journal stops here at a torn page)

Alexandra's Journal
The Off-Worlders

From the Book, “Living through the War”

Preface to, “Living through the War”

Excerpt from the Journal of Alexandra the Conjuror

I must save the chaotic tall towered City of Bex, because Bex saved me. I learned early that those who call you daughter will lock you in a cellar and slay your own mother and only those that call you friend, beloved and creator can save you. Friends, love and my creations all came to me because of Bex.

Imprisoned in the cellar of my family’s home and alchemist shop I made my first friends out of mushrooms and mandrake root. They would talk to me about the way they could feel the earth breathe beneath Bex. They could sense that the Chthonic Ones were below in the Underdark. These mushroom folk would shuffle about the room slowly, playing hide and seek with me; always disappearing when my father would open the door and throw food down the stairs.

Their kinship with the Underdark let them sense the Chthonic Ones below Bex. I became convinced our city sat on top of the Blind God’s tomb.

One day my father hit me once too often and the mushroom folk came from under the dirt and overwhelmed him. I screamed and they fled into the ground with my father. It wasn’t till years later when GFoot brought me his barely human husk that I learned how he had gone from cruel master to mindless servant.

But I do not write this in the correct order. After my father’s abduction I was free to run the alchemist shop. One morning I found a local half-Orc street tough named Klegg in the alley behind my shop, dying of wounds from a gang fight. I gave him healing potions and salves. We became friends and allies. I helped him gain strength in the gangs and he spied for me as I worked my way into the Magician’s Guild.

I remember his harsh laughter when I talked to him about my ambition to join the Outer Circle of Mages. He told me no struggling, orphaned Alchemist would ever be allowed in the Circle. After a few years he stopped laughing. I had followed my mushroom servants hints and found both the Blind God’s resting place and a bloodstained dragon hide book. Made by the ancients of Visnor, City of the Shunned, it allowed me to draw magic from Omag the Silent.

From there it was easy to gain membership in the Outer Circle of Mages. There I came in contact with a mysterious Terravingian Weather Mage called Marcus Rougeman who went under the alias of Redhand. We fell in love, or more probably I fell in love with him. He had given his heart to an orc serving maid named Larsa. Marcus thought she had died drinking poison to save him.

Those were my golden times. Klegg would gather whispers of intrigue during the day while Marcus and I made and sold potions at my alchemy shop. After taking dinner with some of my fellow Outer Circle Mages at the Conjurors Crypt, Marcus and I would walk to the Moonshadow Tavern. There the mesmerizing Bexian hurdy-gurdy music would get us to dance with Klegg and his collection of rogues, rascally merchants and down on their luck pirates.

Then came my climb to being an Inner Circle Mage. I engaged in more and more Bexian cutthroat politics. It got so bad Marcus had to level a whole city block with lightning when a rival kidnapped me. He left Bex and me after that. He said he had found out Larsa was alive and in Al Baku with a baby that could be his. I don’t believe that was the reason. He stopped calling me beloved after the lethal lightning he unleashed on my enemies. I think he found my fierce love of mother Bex to be obsessive.

Then the off-worlders started coming to Bex. Bettina seemed somehow mixed up in all of it. Klegg left with her and half-elf ranger Mantu after I had to disavow him to become an Inner Circle Mage. Klegg felt betrayed and became angry at everything. He later made a bargain with the Meddler for an infernal metal claw when he lost his hand. He later murdered Marcus for that red cloaked, silver-skinned abomination.

The off-worlders quickly became a legendary lot. Felix, the mad mage, only seemed to care about libraries and lighting things on fire, but was as unpredictable and deadly as a volcano. GFoot, arrow-shot for hire, kept a code as straight and sharp as his bowshots and was the first to ever figure out my past. Angel joined them and by happenstance became the first of this century to be shadow-cursed. Faerun followed them here and founded a church that still flourishes.

Greysworn the Monk concerns me with his strange knowledge of the multiverse. Grobble’s great strength and great love of his friends and Marcus’ daughter Garga fuels his berserker rage. Jorge, the necromancer, drank from a Visnorian Goblet of magic words and became filled with the spirit of my love Marcus Redhand! I am slowly working to reawaken him fully so he can return to me. By making him an Inner Circle Mage I tie his strength to Bex.

How Fame wins over both Bettina and The Hegemon Ar-Khan eludes me. All seem to like him despite his braggadocios ways. The Tielfling’s devilish humor, charm and lightning reflexes seem to win over all. His friend Wythnyr looks and acts like a wood-elf but sometimes his diction and obvious education make him out to be something more complex. He is another archer like GFoot but his code is one more knightly like the ancient Boarder Guards of the Elven Alliance.

Amand makes me wonder. How can a Halfling Cleric who worships an off-worlder God of Luck come to sail the Ship of Fate. This ship sails both the Ethereal and Astral Seas riding the currents of the Future for Bettina’s Conservators of Time. He will need all the luck he has to survive the coming storm.

I finally come to Kona the dwarven Paladin and her fast friend Sir Gavin. They’ve obviously adventured many times before. I envy Kona and her high principles. She follows a god who grants her great power and is always looking to help others. My patron does not care if I live or die and may not even be conscious of her own existence.

Sir Gavin is obviously an old warrior who acts like the noble that he is. He distrusts magic so I gave him a Brother Sword and Sister Shield. I created these siblings when I was at my loneliest but their constant bickering became tiring. How Sir Gavin gets them to work together is a testament to his old campaigner attitude.

I will relate to you, future reader, how they came to slay the Meddler…

Purple Worm Attack and Painting Incident Sozoman House
Filed by High Constable Celina Two-Swords

I must again make many apologies over the lateness of my reports. The gigantic Purple Worm that attacked the city and the resulting investigation into its damages warranted immediate action. At the time of this writing we believe the worm’s length to have been five city blocks long and it’s girth to be a little less than half the width of the Grand Boulevard.

Much thanks and recognition should go to the Off-Worlders. Their defense of the Moonshadow Quarter stopped the worm from destroying the rest of the city. That being said thirty people died, five are still missing and at least forty-two homes and twelve businesses are completely destroyed.

Sir Gavin first spotted the Worm as it appeared over the ridgeline of the Gnarl Mountains. During my interview with Sir Gavin his talking sword interjected with comments that “Sister Shield failed in protecting us from the poisoned tail of the Worm”. The talking shield didn’t say much and seemed to be sulking.

Sir Gavin did look very worse for wear. His usually burnished armor was covered in plaster from the walls that fell around him and his chest plate was punctured from the Purple Worm. Even more damaged and close to death was Wyrthr, who I believe to be a wood elf but speaks like a noble of some sort. He sent many arrows into the maw of the creature at ranges that I find hard to believe but were corroborated by witnesses. He was swallowed by the creature and subsequently cut free by Kona, the dwarf paladin.

Kona was truthful as always and recounted that her magical axe, which looks to be of Argad design, leapt into her hand right before the attack. One witness said the axe returns to her after she throws it. I didn’t know how the barbarous Argad tribes created such a weapon. It might be worthy of investigation. I believe it to be the same axe that Sara Redhand, sister of Marcus Redhand, wielded before she disappeared five years ago.

One who as not as truthful was the Tiefling Fame. Fame, unlike most of the Off-Worlders, seems extremely flamboyant. Belinda, the owner of Bees Bakery, saw him run across the roofs of a row of buildings and leapt onto the back of the worm! He related how there will no doubt, “be songs written about me” concerning his actions. He hinted how he almost single-handedly defeated the worm. An old man and a child in the nearby row houses say someone fitting his description impersonated a Constable and ordered them around during the attack.

The wizard Harrison should be credited with stopping the forward progress of the worm. The worm crashed into an invisible barrier he summoned; sending a shockwave through the Grand Boulevard all the way to Shadow Alley. Harrison followed up with a wall of fire that the worm had to travel through to swallow Wrythr.

The Halfling cleric Amand cast supporting spells and was very helpful in identifying the man who was with them as Mandrake Sozoman. He is always very calm every time I interview him. He must be an experienced adventurer. I believe he worships the Off-Worlder deity Waukeen.

As you know from my last report different portraits of Mandrake Sozoman, that had been painted over two hundred years ago by an anonymous artist, had recently lost his image. During our interview Sozoman was struck with an arrow, causing him to die despite the Off-Worlders best efforts. The strange thing was that he bled paint and not blood.

The Off-Worlders carried him to the Sozoman Auction House and placed him back in the painting where he became part of it. The way he slowly folded into the painting, his clothes losing their bulk and becoming brushstrokes, his face flattening out and gaining the perspective of a portrait, made for a sight I will never forget.

His great-grandchildren and Auction house staff says he looks different now, more wistful, and doesn’t have his lute anymore. Fame was questioned many times about the lute he was carrying but swore it was an old family heirloom. I noticed he is wearing a cameo that looks a lot like Bettina, who was seen in his company.

The Off-Worlders left for the Enchanted Orchard the next day after meeting with Alexandra and obtaining a mandate to investigate why the worm left there to attack the city. Varsa was the only Inner Circle Mage to vote against this action.

During this investigation it is believed they fought the lich Agathour and made some discoveries about the Towers of Bex. Harrison may have been the one to cast the spell that defeated him. They could not find his phylactery so we will not doubt see him again.

If Agathour was indeed behind the Purple Worms attack then that means it is the second time he has been behind what was first thought to be a natural disaster. It is confirmed that Agathour and the Meddler were seen during the mudslide that caused many deaths in the Gnarls.

The Moonshadow Chamber of Commerce will be holding a meeting next ten-day on how to recover. They gave me a formal request that the Master Constable, Alexandra and the Off-Worlders attend. Thirty-one merchants signed the request, including Sozoman House.

They wish to give an award to the Off-Worlders for their bravery. They also want to talk to Amand about his deity Waukeen. I highly recommend that we Constables make a good showing at this event. The citizens are worried about their safety and we need to be seen as presenting a united front!

Case File on Sozoman House Painting Incident
Filed by High Constable Celina Two Swords

This has been a busy week for my partner and I so this is being filed late. The Inner Circle voting to cut ties with the Hegemon and pledging an alliance with Al Baku caused some internal unrest and resulted in some Hobgoblin Hegemony attacks throughout the city.

The off-world adventurers called POSCo have been at the center of much of these happenings. My partner and I had to wrap up an investigation of the wizard Felix and the mysterious monk referred to as Greysworn following their defense of the city where they eradicated a Hobgoblin force in the Gnarls. This has been filed separately.

To start off, the Master Constable informed me that Sozoman House, the magical auctioneers, had reported a missing person and/or painting. It was unclear. I had to travel to the dangerous Moonshadow Quarter so I followed standard procedure and partnered with the half-orc Street Constable Axrack.

We arrived to find the painting in question was not gone but that the person pictured in it was missing! The painting was over two hundred years old and used to depict Mandrake Sozoman, the bard who founded Sozoman House. The painting was empty now and only showed a room with a window looking out at the sea from what looked to be the Doro Docks.

The curators claimed that the portrait of Sozoman had been painted around the time of his disappearance. They described Sozoman as having red hair, a beard, green eyes and a stocky build. The painting showed him with a lute. Both he and the lute were no longer in the painting.

We canvassed the neighborhood and found out that Kona the Dwarf Paladin and Sir Gavin had been spotted going into Shadow Alley with four other people and then leaving with five! This is very unusual since most who venture down that alley never return!

Witnesses say that Sir Gavin’s sword and shield seemed to be arguing. Also, a wizard with the party called Harrison and a Halfling called Armand were walking with a strangely garbed lute player who kept talking about, “towers” and how to “end the world”.

A wood elf and a Tiefling were seen with them. They seemed to be examining some kind of amulet the tiefling was wearing.

We are going to follow up with them as soon as possible. It seems another painting of Sozoman, this one in the Moonshadow Tavern, has had a similar problem. Deep magic is no doubt behind some of this mischief!

Seneschal the Steward’s Log of Daily Events-
Alexandra’s Steward, a blue-skinned Mountain Morg
Seneschal (who serves a great cup of Bex coffee)

keeps a daily log of life in the magic tower.

I noticed that the old knight Sir Gavin does things much differently than his good friend Kona. While he drinks his coffee slowly she finishes her cup in just a few minutes. This morning, when we watched the wizard Felix fling fireballs onto the Hegemon Army, Sir Gavin walked to the window while Kona ran to view the spectacle.

Maybe that’s why she first noticed that the tower was somehow growing! While this could mean some dangerous magical disturbance that could destroy the tower, I also hoped it didn’t mean more people for dinner. I had already shopped and didn’t have enough brisket for anyone else.

The two friends quickly decided to go below and explore the new floors that appeared in the Tower. Sir Gavin’s magical weapons’, Brother Sword and Sister Shield, argued all the way until they were out of earshot.

An hour later, just as I was making lunch, Alexandra appeared. She told me she had voted to break Bex free of the Hegemon along with the newly elected Jorge and Jonn of the Inner Circle. The other two Inner Circle Mages had voted the other way.

“Varsa and Rett will work against me,” she said. “Varsa and his fellow sybarites want indentured servants and Rett fears fighting. Be ready with your mace Seneschal!”

She then asked about Kona and Sir Gavin. After I told her what happened she called out for them and a few minutes later Kona and Sir Gavin trudged back upstairs, tired from battle with a dragon along with four new companions!

There was a tall human mage called Harrison whose friend was less than half his height, a handsome Halfling called Amand. They came from some city called Waterdeep through a mulitverse inn called the Twilight Tavern.

The other two that were obviously friends was a half-elf ranger called Wrthnyr and a striking Tiefling called Fame. They came from some land called Turon and had met the Meddler! I noticed that Wrthnyr seemed to dress like a wood elf but spoke with the inflections of a high elf. He also carried one of the legendary Bow of the Border Guard!

They all decided to go down to the Moonshadow neighborhood at the foot of the tower and enter Shadow Alley. Kona could feel that a dark evil grew down that cursed street.

They left and I set about wondering if we would see them all later. Shadow Alley claimed many an adventurer, but if any could do it I believe these off-worlders could.

Preface to, "Living through the War"
First hand accounts of the Hegemon Conflict

Those who study the Hegemon Wars cannot escape the masterful three volume work by the Ash River Sage but they should not ignore the first hand accounts of those of us who lived through it. This book consolidates many of these voices in a way I hope is both entertaining and informative. Be warned that more than a few of the following pages deal with my home, that endlessly intriguing and infuriating metropolis, Bex and how the off-worlders called POSCo saved it.

I know many cynical historians now view POSCo as well meaning mercenaries who used their Perfectly Ordinary Shipping Company (POSC0) Charter with the city of Al Baku to enrich themselves as they liberated Elvenport and Bex but it is here that I must digress and talk about how they saved me when I was just a young boy.

The Gnarls, then as now, are poor precarious dwellings on the side of the mountains that form one of Bex’s borders. My father, may he rest in peace, was a scrivener for a magic scroll seller and bought a place there. When he met my mother, a cook at the Moonshadow Tavern, he convinced her to move in with him. I was born a year later.

Our apartment was small, cramped but clean…and full of love. I remember father bringing home those books he borrowed from his boss, filled with adventurous stories and reading them to me at night by mage light.

But I will not dwell on these memories of my dead father. Those are for my memoirs. Instead I will go to that harrowing yet historic time when POSCo saved our city and set us on the road to freedom. It starts when I first met them.

It was decades ago, early in the morning, a few hours after the mudslide caused by the Agathour that uncovered the Cursed Caves and crushed much of the Gnarls. My father had been buried beside me and my mother and I were trapped under the wreckage. We knew that when the earth shifted again we were dead, and if the roving gangs got to us we would wish we were dead.

Then the door was pried open, letting the half-light of morning in and a quietly deadly man called Greysworn, along with the elven woman Turibell pulled us free. He and some others dispatched the gangs with magical flames and a darting spear. A druid called Painter, who could change shape, helped heal us as best he could. I lived but still need a cane to this very day.

POSCo’s Church of Lathander charitably gave us some money and we moved down into the Moonshadow Neighborhood, next to Alexandra’s Tower. In the weeks to come the Shadow-CursedAngel made appearances in the Moonshadow Tavern down the street. He and his friend, the stone-fisted Halfling Jack kept the gangs at bay by their very powerful presence and rescued Alexandra when she was kidnapped.

We Bexians saw wonderous things in those days, like the necromancer Jorge marching his skeletons through the street, scaring the petty thieves and thugs. I witnessed when the dwarf paladin Kona and her friend Sir Gavin slew those hell hounds who climbed up Alexandra the Summoner’s Tower.

Then came the day the Hegemon sent a cloud on top of the mountain, opening a gate for his army to invade us. The sight of the mad gnome Felix reigning fire and lighting down on their heads from his flying hippogriff could never be captured in song or picture. His ferocious defense of our city saved it.

But enough from this old scholar, lets hear from others with more interesting stories. I am old and lost my naivety years ago. I know the people I grew up worshipping as pristine saviors were more complicated than that and had faults like everyone else, but deep down I still feel them pulling me out of the mud and into the light, just like my city.

Lagermer the Limping Sage

Cedric Coinraker’s Secret POSCo Surveillance Report # 45
(Report by bribed Coffee merchant Martel)

(This was pieced together from various sources by bribed coffee merchant Martel…may not be entirely accurate or complete. More spies could be needed…if costs allow.)

It was morning in Alexandra’s Penthouse when a terrible event occurred, Sen the monstrous purple skinned Chamberlain was late with the coffee! Bex coffee, famous throughout Midsea, is ground from beans of the Spellstruck Farms. It’s magical qualities grant amazing clarity before sunrise and have a slight cinnamon taste.

Painter, Druid of the Underdark, made his displeasure known about the coffee causing Alexandra to order Sen to jump from her penthouse. (Painter also mentioned Sen’s involvement in Alexandra’s kidnapping). Logan the Shadow-Cursed, stealthy in all he does, overheard this interaction and stopped Sen from certain death and ensured coffee would be made and served later that morning.

During this crisis Greysworn the Monk arrived and was confronted by Felix who wanted to know where he had been. Greysworn replied he had gotten a cough and went to be cured by the Gnarl wise-woman Jonti. Felix seemed suspicious but desisted when the talk turned to coffee. Martin (disguised as knight) went off to search the Penthouse.

Jorge during this time began his day as he always did, reading his tomes and wondering how to increase the amount of skeletons in his retinue. Sir Gavin and Kona the Paladin conferred about the strange predicament they were in with the members of POSCo and their informal arrangement with Cedric Coinraker and Alexandra. (POSCo’s four hundred gold debt to Cedric may have been discussed.) Kona kept noticing the shadow attached to Logan (who is known to her and most others as Angel) and remained on her guard. Her questions to Logan were deflected in his normal manner.

Kona was then called into Alexandra’s bedroom where she said, “You are a Paladin and can afford to have principles, I warn you I have to bring Bex out of this destructive alliance with the Hegemon and cannot let such things tie my hands. I have magical weapons for both you and your friend Sir Gavin if you work with me to break the city free of them.” She then asked Kona to bring Jorge to her side.

Kona went to visit Jorge but the Meddler appeared just as she entered Jorge’s room. The Meddler told them of Alexandra’s plan to put one of the off-worlder wizards in as replacement for the Inner Circle mage they had slain. He then left two red velvet gloves in the room, briefly blinding Jorge when he saw the Meddler’s silver hued hands.

Greysworn, ever vigilant, noticed this and tried to stop the Meddler but was magically stunned when he touched him. Sir Gavin caught Greysworn before he fell to his death at the ledge around the Penthouse. He and Kona brought Greysworn inside. The Meddler then disappeared.

Felix, ever curious, went into Alexandra’s study with Greysworn and discovered a man sized, two hundred pound scroll made of Red Dragon hide with one roller made of gold and the other roller made of silver. He determined through his arcane knowledge it was written by some kind of gigantic beings who probably existed before even Elvenkind. Flummoxed he could not lift the scroll Felix quickly went back to his spell books to study up on Telekinesis.

Then coffee arrived and there was great rejoicing, although Painter reminded Sen that breakfast was a bit late. Sen lumbered back downstairs to the kitchen grumbling.

Felix, fortified by caffeine and ready with a spell, entered the study. He brought down the human sized scroll and unrolled it with the magic of Telekinesis. Knowledge of the Chthonic Ones flooded Felix’s mind, imbuing him with arcane secrets. It also briefly made him have the insane notion that everyone else had this secret knowledge too and he quickly went about the Penthouse confronting everyone, even threatening to burn one of Jorge’s spellbooks!

Alexandra, sensing her scroll being read ran out of her room. Still weak from her kidnapping, she collapsed and was carried back to her bed.. Her door was closed and shimmed it shut, so she would not order anyone else to their death before breakfast was served.

The enigmatic Bettina arrived, introduced by Sen in his booming voice. During her conversation with the adventurers she made a startling time-twisted statement to the adventurers, “I’ve met you all before, when we strove against these terrible powers and I must say…you were all very brave. I hope this time it turns out differently.” She then started to leave but Painter stopped her. She chose to forgo her normal morning tea for the newly arrived steaming coffee-service.

Then breakfast was served along with an attack by 40-foot lizards from the Gnarlbone Mountains! They climbed Alexander’s Tower with ease, breaking windows with their claws. Both Sir Gavin and Kona defended the tower, with Logan and Greysworn joining after moving Alexandra to safety. Logan’s strange Shadow showed another hitherto unknown power by extending his reach so he could attack with his spinning short swords.

Painter and Felix conferred over coffee, offering encouragement to those fighting the lizards. (There may have been more cream from the Flying Cows of Bex added to the coffee but reliable intelligence concerning sugar intake is sketchy at best.) Martin stayed in his room, after talking with his patron, who encouraged him to go to the mountain cave where the lizards came from.

The lizards were defeated and then Alexandra was let out of her room. (It should be noted Sen quickly inquired to the wounded warriors if they needed more coffee.) Alexandra demanded that everyone meet in the Great Room. She was chagrined to find that Jorge and Martin had both left. Jorge was going to the Conjurors Crypt for more skeletons and Martin was going to the caves in the Gnarlbone Mountains.

Alexandra stated she wanted one of the wizards to compete in the deadly Crypt Ceremony for a spot as an Inner Circle Mage. Felix bravely volunteered Jorge and everyone agreed since Jorge was absent and could not vote. (The street urchin assigned to following Jorge noticed that the Necromancer stopped at the block that Marcus Redhand destroyed with lightning almost two decades ago.)

Sometime later Felix and Greysworn left on the back of a Hippogriff. They later returned with Greysworn carrying a magical spear. (There are reports of a hippogriff landing at Tower Jonn.) Martin never returned to the penthouse and his whereabouts were unknown. Logan seemed to disappear also and then appeared with a sheet of music. Painter then played the song and from all reports it sounded like a sea shanty of some sort.

All of the party then left the Penthouse. It is general knowledge that Jorge was elected to the Inner Circle. (The beings he summoned during his ceremony have caused lots of consternation with the mages. Morgan, one of the Outer Circle Mages who ran against him for the Inner Circle, said, “He summoned the dangerous fey Princess Felicity and an unknown fiend by making a general request in his spells! He is too irresponsible to be a mage of the Inner Circle!”)

When the Outer Circle mages went out to proclaim that there was a newly installed fellow oligarch the Hegemon himself sailed into the harbor on his frigate with some pirate ships disrupting the city! (It is hoped this will not affect coffee exports.)

Beginning of Saturday, August 22 Adventure
2nd Post

You are in Bex, City of the Magic Towers, a spellbound tropical metropolis on the Goblin Coast. Bex is bordered on the East by sprawling red sand beaches, on the North by the thickly wooded Enchanted Orchard and on the South by the self-harvesting Spellstruck Farms. It all backs up to the Gnarlbone Mountains.

The city is replete with exotic cinnamon like smells from the countess small magic shops smoking with alchemical brews. They’re many scriveners throughout the madly winding streets specializing in enchanting magic scrolls and copying books about arcane lore.

Overlooking the city is an 800-cubit lighthouse called the Torch Eternal, which continually spouts flames from the Elemental Plane of Fire. Much of Midsea’s magical items are crafted in this tower, just like most of its magical ingredients and potions are refined below it.

The city is run by mages, with an outer circle of 30 and an inner circle of 5. Each of Five Inner Circle Mages holds sway over a section of the city called a Quintana. They rule from atop their 500 cubit towers in luxurious penthouses.

Bex recently revealed it had sided with the The Hobgoblin Hegemony, a conquering collective of Hobgoblins, Pirates and some of the Northern Argad Tribes. The cities of Gnarlton and Redstone have fallen under its control. Many of you saved the cities of Al Baku and Elvenport from the Hegemon and are now here on a dangerous mission at their behest. Alexandra the Summoner one of the Inner Circle Mages wants to break Bex free of the Hegemon and she needs your help.

You have already assisted the Gnarls, one of the poverty stricken neighborhoods nestled on the side of the mountains, after a mudslide destroyed many of their homes and let them open to one of Bex’s many gangs. Some of you have entered the cursed caves in these mountains and managed to befriend the mushroom folk, one of which was created by Alexandra when she was a young alchemist.

You have boldly landed on the Doro Docks and defeated Agathour and his minions. Calling attention to your desire to offer Bex a way out of its controversial alliance with the Hegemon. The citizens of Bex and its indentured servants have always been subject to the deadly game of rivalry between the five Inner Circle Mages but now it approaches civil war as you sit in Alexandra’s Tower while she recovers from her kidnapping.

Meanwhile The Meddler keeps making unannounced visits to you…


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