After Hours

A Letter from Diero

Ena,

Against my better judgment, I have embarked on an increasingly perilous journey with a collection of drifters: two elves who are mysterious in everything except that they are lodestones for trouble; a cleric of Pelor who seems to know even less than we do, though he was sent along by “special order” of the Pelorian priestess; and finally that bumbling halfling Finder. If it weren’t for him, I wouldn’t even be in this mess, but Kael insisted that Cirrus is the one who will help us, so I am forced to suffer his penchant for ridiculous escapades in order to find what was taken from us.

Our camp was passed in the night by a group of soulless villagers, shells of human beings, and no sooner had the halfling pronounced them “harmlessly unfortunate” than we took off in the direction that these Inflicted had come from. JD ruefully intoned that we appeared to be heading into the danger rather than away, but Cirrus was singly-focused. Luckily, none of the Inflicted we encountered before the town seemed to be aware of our presence, let alone harmful. Perhaps JD is right, though, as he suffered a debilitating headache on the road.

Lumi has earned some of my regard, as her sense of her surroundings is keen and in-tune with the unnatural. Huge rocks appear to have fallen from somewhere and destroyed this town; the center of the village has erupted debris everywhere, and whatever the cause, it does not appear to be friendly. The poor villagers closest to the explosion appear to have changed, Ena. Their physical bodies are stretched, and their minds are demoralized. One Inflicted sat in the open, gnawing on a human arm.

When we finally reached the temple, it was in terrible shape and Shael will be disappointed to learn that her priest friend has been murdered. Perhaps his death will be of use to us, though, as we may be able to determine what has happened here. He appears to have been murdered for his knowledge of something called “Black Dawn”, which he wrote about in his journal just before he died.

Ena, you will not believe it: there is talk of a secret society. I hoped briefly that this would lead me to her, but the priest’s notes talk of demonic powers and forgotten lore. I am not afraid to battle dark powers to punish that woman, but what would become of our treasure if exposed to that? I shudder to think.

We are seeking out the local tanner, as the priest seemed to believe he was connected with this affair. If this reaches you, stand firm in the knowledge that I will retrieve what we have lost. I will rest at nothing.

Yours,
Diero

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