For the Glory of the Empire!

Of Rum & Cults

Once in Dubril, the Broken Talons decided that the best way to contact the cult of Elri’Kah was to let it be whispered that Damien Grimskull was in town. Jonar set to work, while most of the rest of the guild hit the town. (Damien was to keep quiet and hidden until contact was made. Mirimmae made sure he in fact followed this plan).

After a few days—and one blackmail attempt—it came to the guild’s attention that several Merchant Council guards were aggressively “asking” around the taverns for Brinn. Jonar allowed himself to be found, whereupon the guard gave him instructions to give to Damien. Whoever had employed the guard wished to meet Damien at a tavern in the noble’s district that night.

Damien went and met with “Harrow” and his two guards. They formulated a plan to overthrow House Cunuldor, the merchant house at the heart of the cult. Before the agreed-upon day, Damien made his grand entrance into Dubril. He found a tavern with several Cunuldor guards, scared the crap out of them (probably literally) and sent them to deliver his message and challenge to their house. He killed two of them.

House Cunuldor’s response was a touch underwhelming at first. The guild had met with Harrow and his guards. Cunuldor sent one man with a one-use item, which emitted a disintegration beam—that Harrow’s guard seemed completely unaffected by. The would-be assassin didn’t last six seconds.

The next round was a cadre of eight men. They lasted longer, but only because the Broken Talons let Harrow’s guard take out two of them on their own. The guild cleared out the bar and surrounding streets.

Some time later, the bells began to ring in the city—warning the citizens to clear the streets and stay indoors. Cedric barricaded one end of the street and partially barricaded another to funnel the incoming troops. The guild set up for battle. Harrow and his men headed to the estate of Cunuldor to take out the family. Joran went into the oncoming enemy lines to take out their officers.

The first wave of Merchant Guild troops came near the funnel. They were quickly dispatched. Before the next round could reach the choke point, the barricade on the other side fell. A monstrous troll with four arms roared through. The troll seemed to take a particular dislike to Quentin, and spent the better part of a minute attempting to beat the paladin to pieces against the pavement. Through the efforts of the clerics, Quentin was not reduced to a squishy pink paste inside a tin can.

The troll was eventually defeated, though not before it had “blasphemed” and incapacitated most of the guild members present.

Meanwhile, the Merchant Council guard had been held off. Due to the sudden deaths of their leaders and the defeat of the troll, their ranks disintegrated. Once they had recovered, the guild climbed the hill to the noble’s district.

Harrow and his guards had been more than thorough. Upon afterthought, this was not surprising, since Quentin said that they radiated outside evil. The guild found a curious totem to another shard of Gallinon in the former shrine to Elri’Kah. Figuring out that Harrow and his men were members of a rival cult, the guild decided to stick around and take out Harrow.

Harrow’s guards caught wind of this plan, and warned the guild off. The guild did not listen, and Joran tracked them down to a warehouse. The guild stormed in and found the two guards. The guards warned them one more time to let matters lie. The guild, for the first time in its history, backed down from the fight.

Quentin was approached by a stranger and told that they could acquire an item in the North that would help deal with Grimskull and the upcoming “Northern Problem.” It is being held in a fortress. The Vashrans could not destroy the weapon, and therefore are making sure that no one else can obtain it. The guild is debating whether or not to confront Grimskull before tracking down the item.

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An Unexpected Visitor

On the day of the promised visit, a man and four human bodyguards arrived. The guards wore black cloaks and tabards over gold-tinted armor. After some little conversation, the emissary was revealed to be “Uncle” Shabra—ally of Damien’s father and member of the Black Minitry of Siride.

He had come to inform the Broken Talons that they would be acquired for Siride, to fight the Viakhans. This was not going to be a choice, but Shabra promised that things would go much easier for guild members who voluntarily accepted his offer of Citizenship. Those who did not volunteer would have to be coerced. He did not give a timeline, but hinted that the sooner the Guild delivered themselves to Siride the better. Shabra and his guards left.

This announcement caused an uproar in the Guild. Cedric, Quentin, Araceli and Mirimmae were immediately against the idea of taking up Siridian Citizenship. Damien and Telios seemed more amenable to the idea. Jonar was more neutral on the matter.

Discussions went on throughout the next day. The Citizenship issue was tabled, as there would be no consensus in the guild at the moment. Because there was no knowing how soon Shabra might come to collect, the Broken Talons decided to start going through their cleanup list, getting as much done as possible before any confrontation with the Black Ministry. First up was taking care of Grimskull and the cult of Elri’Kah. The guild departed for Dubrill.

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Finding The Way

After reaching a deal with the mercenary general, the Guild decided to scout Milasylla. They discovered that the Travellers had placed their statues throughout the city. The magic this time inspired religious fervor and hatred of outsiders. Evidence of both moods were ample in the city. The Guild struggled to figure out a way to take the city while reducing the number of civilian casualties, as in their current state, the citizens of Milasylla were likely to fight to the death to protect it.

After much debate, the guild decided to hire the mages in Oganis Ford to create a magical ritual to subvert the statues—to change the emotions generated by them. The ritual would take six weeks of research. The guild still wished to take on the Travellers, but were unsure how to draw them out. They went to Athela to see if the Emperor (or more likely, his inquisitors) had managed to obtain any useful information from the captured ilithid. They set up a meeting, and found places to stay for the night.

During the night, the Broken Talons were attacked by undead shadows. The attacks were fierce, and left several of the guild on the brink of death. Fortunately, all survived to attend the audience with the Emperor. (And the Guild has vowed never to spend another night in Athela.)

The news from the Emperor’s interrogator was not good. The Traveller had managed to escape. Little information was gleaned from it. It had, over the course of its imprisonment, imbued its cell with an emotional aura.

After this, the guild further debated its role in the upcoming battle for Milasylla, attempting to find a way to either circumvent or shorten the conflict. In the end, it was decided that this whole politics thing was not the guild’s strong suite. The Guild decided to go back to kicking ass, taking names and collecting loot. They returned home and prepared for their visitor.

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The Targrathian Front
7 Tanfa Coldearth - 1 Adinfa Huntquick

After their adventure in Velos (where they quickly fled home after discovering that one ofthe Swords of the Deathsong had just arrived in town), the guild returned to Oganis Ford to rest and wait while Damien finished studying the tome.

When they were ready, the guild returned to the Targrathian front, where Duke Kanhilas was starting the invasion. The guild took a contract with the duke to act as the “spearhead” of the invasion force, breaking the enemy defenses so that the Anathelian troops would just have to clean up and occupy, reducing casualties amongst Kanhilas’s troops.

The Broken Talon came upon the first town actively defended by Targrathian troops and set about breaking the barricade and laying waste to the defenders. The defenders put up a surprisingly competent and well-organized defense, with just enough magic amongst the defenders to somewhat slow down the guild’s offensive. The Talons adapted their tactics somewhat, took out the leaders, and scattered the remaining defenders, who fled south.

The army caught up to the guild, and moved on to the next city the following day. As the guild began its approach to the second city, a dark storm started forming over the area. The Talons moved quickly into the air via Wind Walk and staked out the defenders this time, taking note of the (again) well-organized setup, and adapted their plans to best take down the town’s defenses. As the guild struck, the storm seemed to grow worse.

The guild’s efforts at scouting out the town’s defenses worked to their advantage. The defenders were quickly routed, and a few surrendered. One of the prisoners told the guild that the defense of Targrath was now being run by a mysterious mercenary general, who had taken over since direction from Milasylla was becoming more and more rare.

As the prisoner was relaying his information, lightning began to strike north of the town where the Anathelian legions were camping. The guild quickly took to the air again and headed north as the lightning slowed and then stopped. The legions had been hit hard by what was now determined to be a magically-controlled storm, losing nearly a tenth of its strength.

The guild council met with Duke Kanhilas, and they determined to send a messenger to the Targrathian leader requesting a meet. The general agreed to meet with them, and the Broken Talons were able to persuade the mercenary leader to have his troops stand down for the time being, as both armies would be needed soon against the coming invasion from the north.

The guild soon received a sending from Jerram, who told them that an unidentified VIP was coming to Oganis Ford to “negotiate the terms of the guild’s surrender.”

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January Gaming
Splitting up the party is always a good idea!

After the defeat of the red dragon, the guild explored its lair. They discovered two portals. Zarik went through the first. He ended up in Panmorn, where the emperor had declared allegiance to the red dragon(s). The citizens were in revolt, and ready to go to war rather than serve the dragon. Zarik decided that his place was in Panmorn, helping the revolt. He took his share of loot and left.

Damien entered the second portal, which led to Vashra. He saw slaves mining an ore used to forge magic weapons powered by souls. After debating whether or not to try to disable or block the portals, the Broken Talons decided to let them be. They returned home.

Most notable of the items recovered was the ancient hilt of a sword. Telios received a vision, describing how it might be reforged.

The guild was joined by Jonar, an old mercanary companion of Cedric’s. Given that they had an opening and that Cedric already knew him, they took on Jonar as a probationary member.

After division of loot and an entertaining Norrin’s Run, the guild tried to figure out its next moves. They spent a few days in Karad, during which Quentin managed to obtain a set of bracers belonging to the Lantern Bearer armor, and Cedric learned that some old enemies of his from Targrath were bidding in the auction of Targrath. He and Jonar went to Anathelas. They arrived too late to intercept them, but did manage to discover that the Targrathians had offered to purchase the Broken Talons—and for an insultingly low price. Cedric revealed that the man who had been at the auction had framed him for murder.

The guild later spoke with Duke Kanhilas, who asked them to investigate the mysterious disappearance of a group of enemy soldiers, and to figure out how to prevent its happening to his own forces. The soldiers had literally had the ground drop out from beneath them. The guild headed out to the site of the sinkhole. There was a tunnel at the bottom, which they followed. In the tunnel, they heard a voice whispering “Far enough.” Disregarding it, they soldiered on. They eventually came to a small, strange little man (surmised to be a gnome or a copper dragon) who admitted that he had caused the sinkhole because it amused him, and because he was angry with Targrathian forces because of their sack of the temples of Ollatowan. The Talons asked what could be done to make sure that the Anathelian forces did not suffer the same fate. “Don’t be penis heads” was the answer, which the guild assumed to mean, “don’t disrespect the gods.” They left, and the man disappeared—he had been a simulacrum.

As there was not much else urgent on the war front, the guild decided to take some time for personal business. Damien had received a tome that would benefit him greatly, but he needed 12 days to study it. As he also wished to learn new spells, it was determined that the guild would work on various projects for a week or so. Damien settled in to learn. Telios and Araceli decided that they’d like to do research on where the remaining pieces of Lantern Bearer armor might be. Cedric had a personal visit to make. So, Telios, Araceli, Quentin, Mirimmae, Cedric and Jonar traveled to Iris, a city in Karadon. Cedric met up with his sister and her new husband. Jonar hit the taverns. Telios and Araceli went to the university, where they discovered the possible location of several pieces of the armor. The belt was in Velos.

As they had some time to kill, the group left Cedric in Iris and decided to head to Velos to see if they could find out more about the belt. After unwisely engaging in a drinking game in a Viakan tavern, the guild arose the next morning and figured out who had the belt. It belonged to an elite Viakan warrior, who wouldn’t part with it for money. Quentin suggested combat.

The warrior agreed, and Quentin, Telios and Mirimmae agreed to fight. Joran found (or started) a betting pool. The odds were 3:1 in favor of the Viakan. A member of the Black Council of Siride bet on the Broken Talons, saying merely that he had come to expect strange things when this guild was involved. To the dismay of the bettors, Araceli refused to let Mirimmae fight and took her place. (Odds: 1.5:1 against the Talons) Spells, swords and black magic filled the ring. The trio won, and received the belt. The Viakan warrior, shamed by his loss, agreed to sacrifice himself to the Oblivion Sphere.

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Sa'Areladarin

Over the course of several days the guild members of the Broken Talons have pooled resources to find out information about their next mission. The takedown of a red dragon that has been plaguing the shipping routes and has been helping to hold the seas for the allied forces of Targrath, Labrylla and several of the Panmornian clan mercenaries.

They were pull together several key pieces of information, including the name of the fortress where the dragon Keristrazix was holed up. The fortress of Sa’Arlearden was historically the seat of the noble dragonborn clans. Before their time during the wars between the dwarves and elves it was built as an elven fortress. Fortuious for the group as there was a dwarven tunnel that led into the fortress from the sea floor that was still accessible.

The group was then preparing for how to arrive at the island as covertly as possible and get in. After teleporting onto one of the beaches the group was able to wind walk towards the sea. This was not before Zarik, was able to latch onto something most foul. He smelt what he was best able to tell was burning flesh. He was able to sneak inland and saw a group of Darastrii, nobles with a group of wingless darastrii that were doing the burning and ordering the nobles around. The bodies being burned were that of Wujen that appeared to be clerics or at the least worshipers of Halik.

The group then wind walked to the sea, flying high over the island to avoid detection. With the aid of a water elemental they were then moved down to the entrance of the tunnels. The tunnels entered the group spent the night to recover lost spells. The tunnels some 10 miles out to sea were in remarkably excellent condition considering the amount of time they had been present. The group reached the end of the tunnels to find a series of rooms that were tunneled into the basement of the fortress.

We then encountered a earth elemental that with the way it presented asked us if we were dwarves and was supposed to keep the dwarves out of the fortress. After tricking the elemental we continued on. Amongst the oddness of the basement was a pair of Fire elementals with brushes, what could only be interpreted as some sort of red dragon spa. We then found a room that was some form of hatchery for some oddities that the red dragon was experimenting with, which we termed as dragon chickens.

We then continued up a series of stairs to the fortress itself and caught a large number of normal darastrii in the mess hall. These darastrii were made short work of by Araceli and a couple of neatly placed spells. We continued on to examine the kitchen and quarters areas to find nothing of note outside of a scared cook. There were some discussions about whether to wake and scare of a pair of sleeping darastrii or just remove them. We then encountered what appeared to be a hallway setup to be a massive trap and death zone. However that seemed to be the front of the fortress so we left it alone.

We then continued to the second floor where we encountered a group of the wingless darastrii. Arcane casters of some power all it was a close fight at several points. We continued on found a small armory of mundane items. Then we came up on what appeared to be a throne room. Inside were several darastrii in livery, pages and the like with what appeared to be a pair of oni playing stones.

After the pages left we exchanged some idle banter to find that the oni were actually the twin children of Keristrazix which we knew were going to be in residence. A fight ensued where the female was dropped, whether she was killed or not is not sure. They escaped though when the male teleported out when it was apparent that the fight was not going to go their way. At this point we camped down for the night using some rope tricks in a barricaded armory.

The next day, upon leaving our area where we holed up we encountered a pair of the wingless darastrii with a pair of iron golems. The Wingless darastrii teleporting out of danger seemed to be the token of the day as they left. The third and fourth floors were almost entirely ruble. Though on the fourth floor we encountered another group of the darastrii, they let off a volley of disintegrates but were unsuccessful and left. They had a line of blast disks sitting in front of them as a trap which we managed to avoid.

We got up to the fifth floor and were presented with an odd sight. Six noble red darastrii lined up on the way to a portal. The darastrii did not touch us as we continued through the portal. On the other side we found a tunnel that ended in lava. Damien was able to get the group past a lava trap through the use of an arcane eye and dimension door.

Then came the moment that the group had been both looking forward to and dreading for some time. While only one minute in length spells flew, lava rolled, fire was breathed and swords and hammers swung. Keristrazix sat out on a small island surrounded by a moat of lava. Zarik was instrumental in allowing many of the party to be able to fly out to get to the island. Keristrazix was large and in charge and thanks to a pair of crucial misses the fight was as short as it was to allow Quentin and Telios to get in close to support Cedric. While Damien, and Aracelli rained spells from afar, Mirimae and Saak closed. Zarik after his flying effects cast closed the doors to the chamber to prevent more lava from coming up on us from behind. He then performed what can only be described as a mildly suicidal invisible drop from the ceiling shortly before Keristrazix’s life was ended. With that end Keristrazix exploded leaving items strewn about the room. We were also able to find a large collection of coinage in an adjoining chamber.

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October 10
Post-Adventure Clean Up

Once in Oganis Ford, the guild did their best to heal the celestial being, who remained asleep. They attended to their separate businesses around town. The town had grown, and had more land to grant and protect, while the exiled mages were constructing a tower. A scout group brought in the corpose of a Oni scout. Zarik and Araceli went to Risothyr to give the scout group’s report to the head of the military. Zarik decided to try to find whoever was supplying the Oni with information, and he was perhaps more successful than he had thought he’d be.

The next day, the erelim awoke. He was confused that he could no longer contact his deity, and was not happy at the explanation. After reclaiming his equipment, he let the guild take the rest from the portable hole. He decided to call himself Jamlamin Pegason, or Jim for short, and disguised himself as a youth of about eighteen or so. He then wished to be taken to one of the temples and left to meditate.

Telios, Damien and Araceli took the loot to the temple of Ollatowan, with whom they have a standing agreement regarding the identification of magical items. It did not take the temple very long to identify the items, although the guild will likely have to renegotiate its contract. A message was left for Zarik, informing him that the elerim had awoken.

The ritual of loot division, redistribution of current items and selling items that were no longer needed began.

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Oct. 3 & 10
Dungeon Time!

In the third room were four spectral figures, each standing and chanting over a bowl. Black, smoky blood flowed from their wrists into the bowls, and from the bowls into grooves in the floor. The channels led to an abyss, with the blood ever-flowing into it. Suspended above the abyss was a box with a tile on it. Zarik cast a spell that summoned a hand to remove the tile, and then remove the 28 quartz pieces from the box.

A celestial being was in the fourth room, along with spectral petitioners. None of them seemed to notice us. Telios approached it, at which point it exploded into putrid goo and then reassembled itself. The fight against the angel of decay was tedious, as the sludge on the floor drained health from our heroes and gave it to the undead creature. It was defeated at last. Another tile and 28 more quartz were collected. The guild decided to rest, although the casters were plagued with bad dreams.

The next “day,” the Broken Talons advanced to the fifth room. From a portal emerged a bizarre creature—the shell of a snail with tentacles emerging from it, each tentacle with a void at the tip. A magical barrier snapped into place behind our heroes—retreat was not an option. The fight was fierce but relatively quick. The shell of the creature was apparently made of dwarven steel, which the guild took. Tile and quartz pieces were taken, and the guild moved forward.

The sixth room was filled with spectral figures waiting in line. At the front of the room was a large statue of a dragon’s front. Resting on one claw was an orb of annihilation, into which the spirits were walking. The other claw held humanoid statues, attached to which was another tile. To either side of the carving were bas reliefs. One side depicted a city and creatures. The other showed destruction. Telios collected the tile; more quartz pieces were found. The group moved to the next room.

Four shadows and two nightshades awaited in the seventh room. They were defeated; tile and quartz gathered. Wounds and other damage were healed. After a little debate, the Talons decided to advance.

Down a long hallway they went, with the walls looking more like bone than stone. At the end of the hall was a portal. Through the portal was a room with seven altars, each with a large, tarnished chalice with writing and a slot. These altars were arranged in a circle around a dais, which was veiled by shadows. Eventually, the Broken Talons figured out the key to the riddle. They placed the tile into the slot with the matching inscription, and placed in each chalice a multiple of seven quartzes—seven for the first altar, fourteen for the second, etc. In front of each altar a shadowy figure emerged, reminiscent of the contents of the corresponding room. The guild spoke the name inscribed on the tiles, and the shadowy figures vanished, as did the veil around the dais.

After some experimentation and thought, it was decided to have Damien cast the first scroll of freedom, using the name pieced together from the tiles. A figure appeared on the dais. It appeared to be an angel of Philenon, the dead god of good. It was unresponsive, and seemed to be in great pain. On its belt was a portable hole full of various treasures. Determining that the creature was under a spell of eternal torment, the guild had Damien cast the second scroll of freedom on it. Though it seemed to relax, it did not wake up. The guild worked their way back through the dungeon, and teleported back to Oganis Ford.

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September 26

When last we left our intrepid heroes, they were awaiting the return of Damien from his sudden “business”—inferred by all to be some sort of confrontation with his father. While waiting, the group discovered that getting to the “prison” wasn’t as easy as just touching the large stone—someone had to cast plane shift. As Telios had not memorized that spell for the day, they would have to wait. Further discussion brought to light the fact that in Velos, children, even adult children, are technically considered the property of their parents. This meant that when Damien went charging off to resolve (or exacerbate) his familial issues, Grimskull could harm or kill him with impunity from Velos’s laws and swift justice. Most of the guild took off to find him. Cedric and Sak stayed behind, in case Damien returned.

Damien was found, and by dint of greater invisibility and wings, was able to elude his father’s minions. Debate at the main Viakan temple ended with the determination not to spend the night and allow Grimskull more time to seek out Damien. Araceli, Zarik, Cedric Sak purchased the appropriate scroll, and also discovered that a Black Minister had a hold placed on an ancient Elven scroll.

The guild finally made it through the portal, where they were met by a spectral image of a Araun Gem Knight and walls with carvings in something like ancient Darastrii with the usual warnings to turn back and beware. The Gem Knight demanded that we state our business. They complied, and she faded away.

They walked down a long hallway. Also in the hallway were spectral beings, murmuring a chant and moving slowly forwards. At the end of the hallway was a room with and altar and four spectral guards. The door that lead onwards was locked. Telios stepped forward to investigate the altar, and the wraiths took this as a sign to attack. The wraiths were defeated, although not before they had grievously injured Zarek. When the last of them had faded to normal specters, 28 quartz stones dropped to the floor. The altar now contained small plaque that had what seemed to be a name and a syllable from a language related to Celetial. The plaque opened the door to the next room.

In the room were two skeletons made of dragon bone, reinforced with steel. They could not be damaged by spells, so the party had to damage them the old fashioned way. Fortunately, Cedric and Sak were actually trained for this sort of thing, so the dragon bone golems were defeated before they did much harm. After the second dropped, 28 more quartz stones fell to the floor. Two identical plaques, one of which was removable, appeared on one of the walls. This, too, contained part of a name and a syllable in not-quite-Celetial. The guild is catching its breath for a moment before seeing what lies in the next room.

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Stember 19th

Previously on X-me……Broken Talons

After receiving a fairly cryptic vision, Telios mentioned that before continuing our adventures, we will need to acquire two scrolls of ‘Freedom’. Being a high level spell, it would be difficult to simply get one of these scrolls, let alone two. The question was where to get them.

Our discussions ran us to a couple of different places, but in the end, it was decided that we would visit the White Robes to the north.

With the aid of Telios’ wind walk, we made it there in hours what would have taken days.

The White Robes had what we were seeking and asked simply to arrange a resupply of arrows to help them in their cause. This, and some favors, was a more than reasonable request so the two scrolls were ours. Now the actual leg of our quest could begin.

With that, we made our way back to Organis Ford long enough to ensure we were all ready. With that, Damien teleported us to his home of Moroe Manor. We stayed there the night, going into town briefly to take in where we were only to teleport twice more that night to finally find ourselves in Velos, for good or bad that was to be determined.

We began in Velos searching for our contact that could lead us to the Dragon Steel weapons. Though it was tough to see the horrible things that were common place in this area, we pressed on. The idea that any harm or stealing was wrought with a quick death also helped us keep our tongues and weapons sheathed.

Our contact had sadly sold the weapons around a month ago to the high priest at the main temple. What was this temple, we did not know for sure, the symbol of a black orb gave some an idea.

Making our way there, we happened upon another figure, Damien’s Father. Covered in all black and wearing a mask of bone, you’d think the man was scary. The four skeletal trolls around him didn’t hurt either.

Oddly enough, we left him alone, hoping he wouldn’t noticed and continued to the temple.

Once inside, many of our thoughts and fears were confirmed, it was an orb of annihilation they were worshiping. We even saw an old man go to his own death by touching it.

Finally we met with the head priest, a man with no eyes or tongue. He said he had them, but we had to go get him for he was ‘told’ that we would come for them. He was also told that, for us to get them, we must go to the ‘dungeon’ or ‘prison’ to get them. He led us to a large gem and said all we had to do was touch it to get in.

We were about to go in but we had to wait for our newest member. Damien said he would wait out front for him to show him where to go.

When our new friend the oni got back, he told us that Damien had left to go do ‘something’. We can only hope that it goes well enough for him to get back…

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