Planescape: Center of All

Book 2; Chapter 2: The Eternal Boundary

Hearing about a job, Graven and Split-Ear (Mepp’tik’chu’tipik) went to the Sign of the Crooked Sword for the interview while Elwynn went to the Foundry to see to personal business. At the tavern, Graven and Split-Ear met a dwarven Signer named Gedramak, who wanted them to find a barmy named Eliath that had gone missing in The Hive.

The pair of them went first to the Great Library to look for any tax or property records on Eliath (as well as on their employer.) On Eliath this was a dead end, so the decided to look in The Hive themselves.

Graven started the search by hiring street urchins to do the looking for him, using magical healing and coin to buy their loyalty. Eventually they established a base in a Hive Ward Inn called Sal’s Place, owned and operated by a band of half-orc bashers.

Graven sent a message to Elwynn, informing them of their new center of operations, then he and Split-Ear split up. While Graven ran into trouble on his own, Split-Ear caught wind of an Eliath sighting at The Butchers Block. That evening, the two of them joined back up, and debated the merits of operating an orphanage in The Hive until Elwynn arrived.

They spent the night at Sal’s Place, and checked out The Butcher’s Block the next morning. There, Graven met one of the tenants—Shadowknave, and the two discussed arcane matters.

Graven then interviewed Trunfeld Three-Teeth, but before he could get any information from the ogre, Derioch of the Bleak Cabal stepped in to find out what the Finders Guild was doing in The Hive, having caught wind of some berk hiring up orphans in their territory.

Graven claimed that they were searching for Eliath since he was rumored to be a wizard, and perhaps the barmy would be able to take care of an arcane matter for him. Derioch informed him that his search was over, on account of the fact that Elaith was dead, as have a number of other barmys in The Hive lately.

The two group agree to share information going forward, but when Graven suggests interrogating the dead, Derioch refuses, saying she won’t pay coin to listen to the rantings of dead barmys.

Later in the streets, the party noticed a conspicuous barmy dancing around in the streets, spouting off the names of abyssal powers. After passing from sight, they hear the insane man attacked, and find him dead without a mark on him. Later they met Mourner Tom’s band of collectors—berks who collect the dead off the street and deliver the bodies to the Dustmen for coin. Not missing an opportunity, Graven hires them to find Eliath.

The party then heads to The Mortuary, and run across Mordrigaarz Anthill and his Xaositect crew, who attack the Finders Guild without provocation. The Finders Guild holds it’s own, and so a parlay ensued. The Chaosmen explained that they were trusting in the force of chaos to locate whoever was killing the insane in The Hive, by attacking everyone they came across, they would eventually get the guilty party.

Agreeing to stay out of each other’s way, the party moved on, later stumbling on the murder of a barmy in progress, conducted by Shadowknave. Graven cautioned the group against attacking an arcanist of that caliber, and they moved on to see if they could determine what the dustmen knew.

At The Mortuary, Toranna the Gray gave them a tour of the facility which culminated in a demonstration of a portal to the plane of fire. Since all unknown corpses were deposited into this portal, the party was once again at a dead end.

Working their way back through The Hive, the party came across Remington Kemitet, fighting for his live as an ooze puddle was drawing him in. After they helped free him, it became apparent that the elf was even more clueless than they were, as he didn’t speak the local language, making Graven the only person he could communicate with. Deciding to take him along with them, they quickly touched based with the Bleakers and went back to Sal’s place.

The next morning Gedramak called them back, reporting that Eliath was alive and with the Doomguard. The party was then assigned to get in contact with Eliath asap, as he had some chant Gedramak wanted. Taking a detour to set Remington up at their former Inn, the party went to the Black Sail to clandestinely confirm Eliath’s faction affiliation and to have him tailed.

While waiting on the results of the tailing, Split-Ear joined the Cyphers and caught rumors of a wererat pack in undersigil. Graven and Remington followed up on their information on Gedramak to make sure their employer was on the up and up, and Elwynn found himself his own kip as well as checked up with the Godsmen to see if they had any strange new recruits.

The group then met up at Sal’s Place the next day to pool info. Sharp-Tooth—who had been following Eliath—reported that Eliath was staying on the 2nd floor of the Black Sail. While going back to the Black Sail to confront him, they bumped again into the dancing man, now sane. The dancing man was now going by the name Tylaric, and was a Godsman. Questioning him revealed that he had recently died and met his god, and was ressurected and told to join up with that faction to improve his life.

Tylaric was then shepherded to The Black Sail to meet Eliath while Elwynn peeled off to report Tylaric to his faction. Eliath turned out to have a similar story to Tylaric, and the pair was left to go about their business. The party reported back to Gedramak, who payed them for finishing the job, but promised more if they could get Eliath to tell him the key to The Isle of Black Trees before the week was up.

The job done, the party decided to continue following the mystery of the disappearing/reappearing barmys. After gathering up some ruffians in The Hive, they set up an operation to blackmail Toranna to see if they could flush her out as an accomplice to the disappearances.

A messenger was sent into The Mortuary to deliver their ultimatum, but he returned empty handed, claiming that Toranna threw herself into the fire portal when she read the message. The party used the messenger as a pretext to get back into The Mortuary, claiming that Toranna had sent for them.

Some experimentation in the portal room proved that items stuck through the fire portal did not combust, casting suspicion on The Mortuary being a dead end after all. While trying to decide what to do next, Elwynn brashly ran through the portal, into the hands of waiting guards on the other side who quickly snatched him up and imprisoned him—though not before he was able to signal to the others that there was trouble.

The rest of party informed the Dustmen that the other side of their fire portal had been compromised, and they sent a small group to accompany the party in an investigation. Going through the portal, the party discovered a citadel of fire that the portal had lead to had been enchanted to create a bubble of air, allowing it to be inhabited.

Soon after their arrival, the inhabitants of the citadel were alerted to their presence, necessitating that they fight their way into the citadel proper in search of Elwynn. During this battle, Remington shape-shifted into some kind of devil, allowing him to cut through the guards with relative ease.

In his cell, Elwynn found himself surrounded by barmies, and found it difficult to get useful information out of them. Eventually the party found Elwynn and questioned his guards, learning that the organization manning the citadel called itself The Illuminated. Word of their presence had spread though, and they had to fight their way through the offices and into the citadel chapel.

Therein, a blue glowing stone was found floating over the altar. Graven grabbed the gem, preventing the enchantment keeping the citadel habitable from renewing. The rapidly escalating temperature caused a mass evacuation from the citadel, which the party managed to survive. The Dustmen paid the party for sealing the breach, and with all other leads gone, the Finders Guild were forced to conclude their involvement. Shortly thereafter, each member was discretely visited by a mysterious stranger and advised not to mention their involvement in the entire affair.

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Book 2; Chapter 1: Strangers in a Strange Land

Elwynn and Split-Ear (Mepp’tik’chu’tipik) arrive in Sigil, quickly abandoned by their planar allies who are eager to get home, but not before being lead to an inn that caters exclusively to primes new to the city. Recognizing that this is their new home, the pair decide to take a tour of the city, which serves as an introduction to the factions.

When they return to the inn, Graven is brought in unconscious, accompanied by a frantic Theodrada. Graven’s condition is quickly assessed as a reaction to the thin air in Sigil, following his and Theodrada’s escape from Darkspine and then Ribcage. Split-Ear is able to revive Graven, and they all begin to discuss their new situation.

Inspired by their tour, Elwynn goes to check out the Godsmen while Graven and Split-Ear go to the library in hopes of finding a way home. When immediate solutions fade from possability, they decide a means of livelihood needs to be established, and thus they form the adventuring company Finders Guild Investigative Services, or Finders Guild for short.

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Book 1; Chapter 16: Angel

Fleeing Waterdeep after a crime of passion that left her lover dead, Angel made her way to the Northeast as far and fast as she could before night’s darkness claimed the land. Encountering a shepherd’s shack from which came the most delicious smell of roasting lamb, Angel approached the shack to beg for food, but the man inside warned her to flee. Not understanding why she heeded the human’s advice, she nonetheless did so, and hid herself in the woods. Watching the cabin from afar, Angel witnessed a wolf-like beast burst through the cabin door and race away into the woods… thankfully in another direction! Seeing her chance, Angel crept into the cabin and stole the human’s food, swiping the leg of lamb directly from the fire.

Quickly retreating from the scene, Angel found a secluded cave and after making sure it was empty, spent a tearful night thinking of her lot in life. Having wept herself to sleep, Angel awoke the next morning and decided to continue her journey Northeast. She came across a campsite that had been ransacked, sighting one large wolfish print among the scattered gear. Remembering the beast from the night before, Angel quickly looted what she could from the campsite and made her way in the opposite direction the footprint was facing.

That night she spent in a tree, her thoughts still occupied with the beast, and just as she was drifting off to sleep, was awakened by a talking owl. The owl told her he had been sent by his master to seek adventurers his master wanted to hire for a salvage mission. Intrigued, Angel accompanied the owl and met an Arcane named Sareen. Sareen told Angel the story of his brother who had been killed in pursuit of finding some sort of lost tomb. Sareen’s brother had been possession of a powerful artifact that Sareen wanted to recover… and he was willing to pay handsomely to hire adventures to complete the task. Angel agreed and met the two others Sareen had also hired, a human mercenary named Mimfred and an aged human priest named Vernon.

Journeying to the ruined ghost town where the entrance to the tomb was supposed to lay, Angel and her two companions followed cryptic clues given by the giant to find the several pieces of the “key” which would open the entrance to the tomb. While journeying from abandoned building to abandoned building, Angel became increasingly annoyed with Mimfred’s flirtatious advances and began secretly harassing the human with her magic. At one point, she caused him to fall into a strange pool filled with golden liquid, at which point Mimfred disappeared. Remorseful of her actions and fearing to have another’s blood on her hands, Angel risked disappearing into the golden pool herself to save the human. When Mimfred was rescued he told a strange tale of a place with endless stairs, but his tales were dismissed by his two companions in favor of completing Sareen’s task.

Recovering all the parts of the “key”, Angel, Vernon, and Mimfred succeeded in opening the way into the tomb but only found themselves on a seemingly endless stairway… which Mimfred identified as the place he had been before. Sighting a strange seemingly-dead thing nearby, as the dead-thing also sighted them, Angel and her companions were joined by Jeremiah, Ferez and company, who joined forces with Angel and her crew to dispatch the undead creature.

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Book 1; Chapter 15: Kyle Branchwood

While traveling from his family estate to the Free City of Greyhawk, Kyle found himself stuck in a village after a severe rain storm washes out the road. With the locals working hard to repair the road, Kyle went to the site of the damage to see how he could help. Along the way he came across a priest of St.Cuthbert tending to corpses that had been mummified by the swamp, but exhumed by the storm.

During their conversation, Kyle learned of a creature that came out of the bog and attacked several people the previous night. Intrigued, Kyle asked to interview one of the survivors, where he assessed that the man who survived the attack was infected with mummy rot, and not long for the world despite feeling quite well.

Banding together with the priest, Kyle tracked the creature into the bog, coming across other signs of it’s presence, such as the body of a lizard man who had been beaten to death by the creature.

Eventually they came across the old village, which had long ago fallen to the swamp, but recently became dredged up in the storm—and likely the source of the mummified bodies that had been turned up in the previous night. The creature’s trail lead directly into the old town hall.

Carefully, they entered the town hall in hopes of catching the monster asleep, however it turned out to be a bog mummy, one of the undead, and thus not prone to slumber. The creature chased them through the ruined hall, until eventually they found a door leading to the infinite staircase. Therein, they tried to escape, but the bog mummy stubbornly followed. Eventually, they were able to lose the creature, but weren’t able to find their way back. Wandering randomly, they eventually found themselves staring down a flight of stairs at the unusual sight that was the Planewalker’s Guild.

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Book 1; Chapter 14: Aram

Aram had travelled the burning sands, lost for days before stumbling upon the oasis town. On the edge of dehydration, he was given water by the guards, then brought before the town’s leader, Samuul. He was well-recieved, given three night’s stay to recover before moving on.

On the second day, a local warrior returned, bearing a slaver in tow to meet with Samuul. Moments later, chaos erupted in the tent, as jackal-men attacked, burning Samuul and kidnapping Jazeela, a local arcanist. A search and rescue party was organized, with Aram tagging along, mistaken for a desert survivalist. Tracking the jackal-men led the party to a recently unearthed obelisk and the slave camp surrounding it. With the help of one of the slaves, the group infiltrated the obelisk, avoiding the guards outside. Once inside, they encountered resistance. Aram made it to the top of the obelisk to find Jazeela in the clutch of a spellcaster, guarded by one of his minion. In a last ditch effort to save her, Aram found himself outmatched, knocked unconscious by the guard.
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Book 1; Chapter 13: Jeremiah Harwell

Jeremiah and his friend Parzival were on a mission from his father to investigate a nearby tor known as Hoardtower. Rumor had it that humanoids were seen using the tor recently, and the pair were to determine if this was true.

The weather didn’t cooperate with their expedition as it was in the middle of a downpour when they finally reached their destination. Searching around, they found that the old blocked off entrance had been cleared just as the storm began to get violent, with frequent nearby lightening strikes.

The pair sought shelter deeper in the door, but the integrity of the first chamber was poor, and a blast from the storm caused the entrance to collapse, as well as flushed a warm of hungry rats into the chamber. The pair avoided the rats by racing into a hallway and using the door as a barricade. Therein though, the were harassed by a vargoyle.

When the vargoyle was put down, they speculated on it’s origins for awhile before moving deeper into the tor, where they came across a pair of hobgoblins. Quickly the dispatched the humanoids and climbed to the top of the tor, where they set up a camp and tried to wait out the storm.

The next day, when things were calmer, they went back into the tor and explored further, looking for a way out. During this discovery, they passed a crypt that the hobgoblins were guarding. Without the guards maintaining the wards on the crypt, the restless dead inside began to flood out of the chamber. The pair fell back deeper into the tor, looking for favorable ground to make a stand against the walking dead. This tactic found them trapped in a dead end room, making their situation rather grim. That was, until Ferez opened a door on the other side of the room, a door that lead to the infinite staircase.

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Book 1; Chapter 12: Ferez Hunter

Ferez had been having some success acting as a guide in Gatherhold. The lands surrounding the city were largely untamed and dangerous, and with lots of indigenous halfling tribes living in the area there were many opportunities for misunderstandings to make travel a deadly affair, so Ferez was doing well.

His reputation was such that when a trio of well-to-do explorers arrived in the area, they asked for him. A wizard, his wife—a sorceress—and their warforged bodyguard had arrived from Sharn, and were looking for someone to get them to and from the Crypt of Crimson Stars, where they hoped to recover the Crimson Shard.

The money was good, so after supplying up the four of them were headed toward a bluff along the coast of Lake Cyre. On the way to their destination, the volatile nature of at least one of their number became apparent when a starving pack of wild dogs decided to try their luck on the explorers. The warforged proved to be the warrior they claimed it was, and the wizard proved resourceful, but the sorceress turned out to be something of a reckless sadist, setting the dogs ablaze in the middle of the dry fields, nearly starting a massive regional fire.

Eventually the party located the mound on their map, and immediately spotted a complication. A halfling tribe was camped on top of the bluff, and they had to avoid a party of mounted scouts to get close. Eventually they were able to locate the entrance to the crypt, and sneak in.

Inside the crypt, Ferez spotted several grick hiding in the shadows. The warforged began to take care of the creatures, but the noise of the fight drew the attention of the Manticore lairing in the crypt—the reason the grick were hiding in the first place.

Once the beasts were slain, the party pushed further into the mound until they finally came to a chamber roofed with what looked to be red glowing star-like formations on the ceiling. The decorations turned out to be traps, a discovery made only when the party was well into the room.

Crimson Shades formed from the points of light, and attacked the party. The warforged was slain in the battle, and the wizard was able to teleport away with his unconscious wife, but Ferez was trapped on the other side of the chamber and forced to go deeper in to save his life.

Eventually he came to a dead end, occupied with a sarcophagus. Opening the tomb, he was able to discover a secret passage which eventually lead to the infinite staircase. Such a place being inherently disturbing in nature, he took the first door on a landing that he came across, and met Jeremiah.

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Book 1; Chapter 11: Armius

Born in Faunel on the outlands, Armius primarily raised himself due to his mother having been driven insane by the events surrounding Armius’s conception and birth. His mother, caught in the Beastlands by a wandering court of fey, was manipulated by the creatures’ enchantments and used as a diversion. Tired with their toy once she had entered a largely catatonic state, the fey left, marking her with a bracelet, a twisted memento of their time together. Having remained limitedly responsive throughout Armius’ childhood, it was only due to his mother’s unnatural luck and ability to communicate with her son silently that the both of them survived. On his 16th birthday, Armius awoke to find his mother missing and the fey bracelet on his arm. Hoping his mother might finally have found peace, Armius felt no betrayal at his abandonment.

Gifted with innate powers derived from his part-fey ancestry, Armius survived in the Wreckage using both his abilities and intelligence. Having needed all of the advantages he could find, Armius pursued thievery to compliment his abilities. Using the plentiful natural resources of Faunel and the constant flow of travelers, Armius survived on his own until he grew weary of the monotony of his home.

Learning what he could in the primitive wreckage, Armius bought into the Sensate philosophy, hoping to live life more fully and completely by sampling all it had to offer. The more he experienced, the stronger the pull of his ancestor’s powers became.

Hearing much of the Cage from travelers between Faunel and Signpost, Armius left for the Beastlands. Through his youth the happy hunting grounds had served as an extended back yard for Armius. Now with a purpose, the youth felt lost. Wise enough to know that wandering the wilds seeking a path to Sigil would put him in the dead book, Armius befriended a troupe of swanmay sisters and traveled with them for a time through the Beastlands, acclimating himself to his developing arcane and psychic powers as well as with the struggles of living on the move.

A brutal battle with a troll left half of his swanmay companions dead but introduced Armius to Rorimac, the Halfling druid from the Verdant Guild. Rorimac was serendipitously headed to Sigil when he happened upon the swanmays and Armius engaged in battle with the troll. Helping the fey, Rorimac was instrumental in the troll’s defeat. After aiding the sisters with their dead, Rorimac and Armius traveled together through the wilderness until they came upon a sinkhole. Rorimac suddenly attacked Armius in the form of a great ape, throwing the young fey into the pit. The druid’s intent was to utilize his companion’s fear to activate the portal onward in their journey toward the rainbow road and Sigil. Unfortunately, Rorimac was dealing with a fey sensate with an unhealthy appetite for adventure. With curiosity and excitement in his heart, the portal misfired and took the pair into a humid jungle with an unrelenting sun.

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Book 1; Chapter 10: Mhalix

Cast down from Asgard for the sin of pride, Mhalix awoke to find himself mortal. Known as D’Var, or Star-Falling to the people of midgard, he began to wander the land, living among them. The people of the Kross Steading were his most recent hosts—hoping to seek favor from Odin for housing one of his servants—when Mhalix came upon a standoff.

Beached on the shale shore was a large dead whale, with a fishing boat of Raven House anchored alongside it, and one of it’s crew standing on the beast with his spear plunged into it. Surrounding the fishermen of Raven House were armed and armored housecarls of the Kross Steading, men shouting at each other on both sides. In the heat of the moment, an arrow loosed by one of the housecarls strikes a woman in the boat, increasing the tension.

The man who fired the arrow accused the woman of witchcraft, claiming that she used her talent to drive off the shepard they had left to watch over their claim of the beached whale. The Raven House fishermen deny this, claiming that there was no shepard to be seen and was not their spear in the beasts heart, proving their claim?

Words are tossed back and forth as both sides appeal to Mhalix for his judgment on the matter, him being a servant of the All Father and thus the one best qualified to decide the claim. Winter nearing, Mhalix suggests splitting the feast lying on the shore, as surely both houses would be well set for the cold with half of such a bounty. Both sides agree to this arrangement, and send for help to butcher the creature.

Pleased with his judgment, the leader of the fishermen—also a priest of Oden—invited Mhalix to spend the night in their steading. Feasting that night, Mhalix learns from the priest of a temple by name of Vesuppi located far in the north, which is a known pilgrimage for those seeking redemption.

The next day—supplied and outfitted by the grateful Raven House—Mhalix started his journey to the north. Before long, he met temptation at the hand of Hel’s proxy, extending a hand and welcoming him to cross sides and serve a mistress who wasn’t so concerned with matters of pride. Respectfully—for a proxies ire is a dangerous thing—Mhalix declined, and continued his journey.

The perils of winter were challenging, and sometimes dangerous, but eventually he came across another traveler going in the same direction to help combat the elements. Eventually the pair came across a pass leading to a surprisingly warm and fertile valley. Welcoming the respite from the cold, the pair began making their way through the thick vegitation until they came to a river. Finding a ford in the form of large boulders, the pair attempted to cross the fast moving water, only to find themselves attacked by a band of bullywugs, where they were overwhelmed and Mhalix’s unconscious form fell into the river, washing him away.

An unknown span of time later—days by his stomach’s reckoning—Mhalix woke to find his body scorched by the unforgiving sun. After praying to Odin for assistance, he continued his journey and came across a band of lizardfolk doing battle with Duinozebek—a Tarbosaurus. Brief conversation revealed that the lizardfolk were also servants of Odin, so Mhalix set himself upon the beast to aid his fellow worshipers. The battle was hard fought, but eventually ended in his favor, due in part to the helpful interference of the newly arrived Armius and Rorimac.

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Book 1; Chapter 9: Remington Kemitet

On the minor Prime world of Tholus, at the height of High Elven Magic, during the time of the Illkresh blood wars between the elves of Taronthonil and their orcish foes, Elven Clanhouse Brithonen unleashed an atrocity so unspeakable that the houseclan was branded forevermore as Aezoli, outcasts fit only to offer their very flesh as prison vessels for this evil.

Remington is the last member in this faded noble line, as their numbers had been dwindling for centuries given their accursed social status, and carries with him the burden of his Clanhouse. The vorylaes, or prisoner, as he calls it is locked within his chest due to an ancient ritual, only recently performed upon him to transfer the vorylaes from his cousin (killing his last remaining relative) into him. The process sullied his flesh, changing him and cursing him.

Remington was exiled from his homeland, for fear of what would come once he died. The elves and their orcish allies cast him out of the island continent of Feraval.

Desperate, and no longer welcome in his homeland, Remington journeyed across the sea, pursing a flicker of hope in the form of a rumor about a man who could contact ancient vestiges of power, praying that he might be able to provide a solution to Remington’s situation.

The trip was complicated, however, by pursuing orcs who were set on ending the Brithonen line. The sailors of the schooner, along with Remington and his companions were able to hold their own and slay the invading orcs, but during the battle, the vorylaes manifested itself for the first time. Remington transformed into a horrific beast, the visage of evil twisted into his flesh.

Remington and companions arrived upon the shores of the continent, knowing little, save that humans dominated the land and that his kind were but fables. They came across a small village of humans, where the reality of this fact confronted him. His elven customs and traditions had been preserved in the humans, but in the form of clumsy traditions and fumbling speech. Man was ill-suited to carry on what the elves had cultivated in both mind and body. It was here that Remington learned that, on the continent, those with the strongest concentration of elven blood, now either diluted through time or polluted with inbreeding, had the strongest claim to power.

Feeling pity for the village of man, and in an attempt to build some good relations with these poor and humble farmers, Remington spread his seed to every woman in the town, granting an enormous potential for power to these people. He and his companions decided to spend some time in the village, enough to learn the language of Man, but their time there was complicated by politics, and in the end, the elves decided to move on and continue pursuing their goal. But first, they would dispatch a nest of bandits which had been plaguing the village as a token of goodwill and protection. Remington now considered the village as worthy of protecting, for if his line could continue, the vorylaes might still be contained after his eventual passing.

The bandits were holed up in a cave, but not was all as it seemed. Deeper inside the system of caves, the elves found signs of a scuffle. Investigation caused them to cross paths with the walking dead, and this led them, in turn, to a necromancer. During the course of the ensuing fight, Remington’s companions were wounded as the necromantic mage attempted to hide behind an eruption of golden light. Remington pursued the man, intent on slaying him so that he may tend to his wounded companions, but found himself in a strange place, cold and with choking air. The elf managed to track the mage and slay him, but was disoriented and could not find his way back to where he had arrived in this place.

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