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Hello, we're a wandering party of adventurers who just broke a portal, found some crystals and hit a nasty wizard in his weird red face until he turned into dust. Together with three other adventurers who killed a nasty emperor, found a hole in the ceiling and stabbed a demon who killed their friends in Fort Remote we're considering our successors wellbeing and wondered if things would be much the same for them.

We made more notes than the first party, and realised, amongst other things, that we should improve our own skills as much as possible before paying someone else for any additional pointers, and only then should we let any weird magic caves, exotic reptiles, suspicious looking pools and the like bless us with their knowledge.

We'd like to know, while we run around hiding all the most precious artefacts we've discovered (Sabaren if you do that mysterious "my name's Sabe and I'm definitely not one of the original heroes thing again please don't give them too many clues) if any of these weird little idiosyncrasies in the way of the world are likely to change before the next major expedition sets off.

Thanks for any assistance proffered, we've just got to decide whether to hide Smite or use it as a curtain rail, and give someone in the Castle a note about Rentar-Ihrno's cryptic vengeance remark. I'm sure we won't forget to do that.

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If/when you do find the Door(s) to Break on Through to the Other Side, once you do get out there, use the natural advantage that you have to work in reduced light to your benefit.  In other words, do your prowling around/monster thumping at night.  You'll be nigh on invincible if you confine your rampaging around to those hours where most beings are naturally asleep.

 

Besides, if you run around in the daytime, being exposed to the sun for the first time in 'x' generations ... it's going to burn the shiat out of you & in all my exploring around out there, I don't think I've found any aloe plants to ease your pain.

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The vahnatai enchantress glowered at the visiting adventurers, her every breath feeling like an attack on their very presence in her inner laboratory. And yet, they could feel her gaze looking over their weapons, their scars, their equipment, carefully won over many exploits. Her eyes sparkled.
 

“Perhaps you may be of some use. There is a tome of great value that was stolen from our lands. I have determined that it was taken by a group of demons over the chasm-filled lands to the north and east. Such a trifle is not worth my time, but perhaps if you retrieved it, I might consider letting you know the secret of quickfire.
 

“The tome is formed of several sheets of micah, bound by –”
 

One of the adventurers groaned.
 

“Really? I thought we done with all the demons. Is this all worth it?”
 

Another member of the party nodded. And then they started, as if an idea had just come to them.
 

“Hey, we found this great, powerful sword. We don’t need it any more – we’ve already fought the battle it was important for.
 

“Say, how about it? The magic sword for your knowledge of quickfire? We get the spell, you get powerful magic, we get out of your hair. What’s not to like?”
 

Renter-Ihrno frowned. And yet, if the sword was as powerful as it felt, and had the ability she thought it did – it sang of control – perhaps it was a worthwhile trade. If she could better work with the nearby demons, maybe she could make some headway on the summoning projects she’d drafted a few years back.

 

Maybe talking to these adventurers wasn't such a bad idea after all ...

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Report from 'Sabe' Sabaren:

Upstairs is interesting, most of them seem to have an idea who we are, or at least, where we're from, but they don't seem bothered. We're at the far edge of the Empire. It might have been worth coming down here to start with. Our progress North so far has been limited, but there are odd reports there's only one heavily defended pass out of this continent. Narrow passes work both ways. Erika might well have ben able to hold it with appropriate support, and we wouldn't have been in the firing line for the initial Vahnatai attack. That's all supposition though.

The kids ran around for a day near the fort without going up top, as per the advice of Anaximander. Some goblins and brigands working in a loose confederation. I wonder if one day we will see the goblins as we now see the Nephilim, or the Slithzerikai. They are not so far from us and clearly do not perceive all humans as enemies (though they only work with our vilest). Maybe they were sent here as some from of Goblin Avernum, as the Sliths, or those of the Abyss and one day we will find their true culture.

On the second day of our mission we ventured into the light. Apart from that all too short a time after running the gauntlet, and the windows of Hawthorne's Spire I have not seen it since I was sent below. It is far more than ever I recall, and that advice about the night-time was well given. My studies of the surface's nature are nowhere as advanced as my knowledge of the caves came to be, but it does not take a great scholar to tell that the trails of destruction caused by the curious slime creatures were not indigenous to this place. With a little pointing from me about the best places to pick up information and rewards, and the impetuousness of the young we raided a brigand tower (said impetuousness sending us through a trapdoor first, but who in all honesty can claim to have avoided all of those?), discovered how these slimes were produced, and followed a lead to a cavern to the east of the largest local town.

I will not bore you with the details of what we found, but the Erika mark was clearly a set up (as the great mage later stated herself). A lot of crystals around the place though, and some unseemly business in New Formello that followed gives me qualms.

It has hard to reign in these youths, they have set about exploration with a voracious appetite, and I must admit there are strange things on the surface I have never encountered before. I have kept my true identity a secret, and though I miss my old bow I am sure we will run into something suitable in time. To my first three friends: you truly became a mystery, there are statues being built at Fort Emergence, but no one does more than guess at your fate, and to my latter three, they are sure we are all still working below, although after we killed Garzahd they were a little starstruck, it's no wonder they assume we can't be apart.

One last think, Gypsy is on the surface! I'm sure we can all be happy to hear that, a cavewood guitar always played best in a minor key.

- Sabaren

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Report from Sabaren:

After a period below (we must return later to sort out a chitrach infestation) we set out anew to our original mission, exploring the environs of Fort Emergence's upper bound. There are more religions on the surface than I would have thought; though we are used to those in Exile, as it were, the Empire has been less restrictive in Valorim than in its core. We have found (in a town named Silvar no less!) a church dedicated to money above all, and further North a faith opposing all arcane magics (Garzahd would not have approved). More regarding them later.

Though messaging is difficult I gather at least one person in the castle was pleased with the last report, so I will continue. After destroying the Slime lair we explored the westernmost tip of Krizsan Province, and found it mostly unremarkable, save for the vast amount of settlements compared with Avernum. Indeed, it is hard to tell the people of one town from another sometimes. We also found and killed a rather strong giant, then luckily found there was a bounty on his head before we let it slip in casual conversation. Rumour has it there's a drake in the area. I'd like a shot at it, but I am not sure the kids are up to one of those quite yet.

After a bit of messing around with some unicorns (they exist) and some gremlins (they still exist, even upstairs...) we found a rather nice inn, and a mage who wanted some strange metal lumps. He knew exactly where to find them, so obviously someone else did and there was a little bit of a fight, which we won. I was concerned it might be that strange metal that makes you ill, but luckily it wasn't (they've heard of it up here, there was a book, or a sage told me, it's hard to keep track). Anyhow, Valorim does not seem to have the rest of the Empire's rigid adherence to who can learn magic. Obviously I was not very interested, but our mage is picking up almost as much up here as she was below.

A week or two has passed, and we ran into a strange race known as troglodytes (I believe it means cave dwellers in some old tongue), they look like ogres, which was rather disappointing, I had heard a rumour or two and imagined their khazis (powerful mage priest figures) would have some kind of black robe and hat, but that's just me. Before we went too deep into their lands though we encountered a port, named Farport (can't complain when we have Fort Emerald named after a giant emerald), a type of giant cockroach and a magic hating religion called the Anama all at once. Hitching a ride over the rough seas to the Bigail Island we set forth to learn more of them all.

I'll have to send this quickly now, we found someone who can inscribe scrolls, and the papyrus supply is currently being contested. Remind me to tell you about this bow I heard about.

- Sabaren

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Note from Sabe:

It's been a gruelling 65 days, but we seem to have dealt with most of the main problems on Valorim. Do not anticipate anything terrible will happen if we leave the alien beast behind their wall for a bit while we go have a proper look round.

P.S. We should probably put some guards around the Vahnatai portal in the Tower of the Magi. Might write a proper report later.

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