From the letters and papers of Arialwen Faranae
I do not know when this will reach you, since war is coming to Gate Pass. The Ragesian army is almost upon us. They think to parlay first, hoping to send in the Inquisitors to exterminate or capture any practitioners of magic. The council is divided on this issue, but general opinion is that the Inquisitors will be let in. There must be bounties on the heads of spell casters already, since I’ve had to break up a few fights over the last few days. Well, attempted kidnappings, really. Those who use magic are currently free within this city, and I will defend them.
Perhaps because of this, I’ve been asked to meet with a select group of people this evening. Everyone has heard the rumors of a resistance to Ragesia, and there have been murmurs that people are organizing in Gate Pass as well. Gate Pass has not been my home long, but I will not submit to those forces that would overrun it. I will send this before the meeting.
Well, I supposed I should be addressing this as “Dear Journal,” but I’m so used to writing to you that I can’t seem to give up the habit, even if there is little chance that you will ever read these words.
I arrived at the meeting last night, knocking at the back door of a shuttered inn. Along with me were three other sentients: two human males and a mostly-human man. I later learned that the first man was Yadrian, a merchant; the second was Piotr, a wizard; and the third was Ejunn. We entered the inn and spoke to a human cleric of Gozreh. She was part of the local resistance, who had been expecting a valuable package from their spies in Ragesia. If we agreed to help, our task would be to find this package and find a way out of the city. In preparation for the coming attacks, Gate Pass has been locked down. No one can enter or exit.
We agreed to do this, and had just received some details when bounty hunters attacked. Unfortunately, they were not the only things to attack. From overhead, we heard the beating of gigantic wings, and bombs rained down on the city. Several struck the inn where we were fighting. At last, though, we defeated the rogues. The final one fled, and his leader decided that his men had enough of us for one night. They left.
The five of us ventured out into the night. Torrent, the human cleric and resistance leader, came with us. She is to help us obtain and escape with the intelligence. Our next step was to contact a gnome in the next district over. Along the way, we sought to aid as many as we could who were fleeing from fire and danger. Once we reached the gate between districts, a dark shadow passed overhead. The crowds panicked; stampeding and leaving many wounded. We eventually made it through the gate and found the rendezvous point. Which was hard to miss, really, since it was a secure tower where people and businesses can keep their items and money.
The meeting went…oddly. The gnome addressed us by the wrong name, and seemed to think that we were bringing him the chest. It didn’t take long to figure out that this person was not who he said he was. And once he knew that we knew, well, hostilities commenced. The gnome was not a gnome at all, but an elf. And, a Shahalesti elf of a house with some importance, since he had a lantern archon to aid in his defense. We eventually defeated him, and in exchange for being allowed to flee, he told us what he knew.
He was working with a group of Shahlesti spies who had been sent to intercept the chest, and was under the impression that it would self-destruct unless we gave them the secret to opening it. Their leader was a student at the local magic academy, and she had taken the chest and left the erstwhile “gnome” behind to find out the way to open it. The actual gnome was bound and gagged upstairs. The elven spy fled, and we hastened upstairs. Upon freeing the gnome and the remaining vault guards, the spy’s story was confirmed. He had indeed brought the chest from the Resistance’s contacts within the Ragesian court. The ringleader spy and her fellows had taken the chest from him, though he was able to convince them that ordinary means would not open it. Fortunately, our conversation with the spy had not disrupted this belief. He also had some ideas about how we might be able to leave Gate Pass, once we retrieved the chest.
We headed to a temple for safety, rest, and another resistance contact. Along the way, though, we saw a Ragesian wyvern rider crash into the city. Screams followed, and he ran off into the night. We followed him as best we could, and finally found him seeking shelter in a small home. We were too late to save most of the family. I confronted him within the house, and he took the last remaining person, a small boy, as a hostage. I promised him that he could leave the house if he let the boy go. He did indeed leave the house. Then we set upon him. The boy was unharmed, and the enemy soldier dead.
We finally were able to reach the temple with gnome and boy in tow. The main part of the temple was crowded with frightened people, and we did a little to try to ease their fears. The resistance cleric took in the child, then lead the rest of us to a secret room where we could rest and tend to our wounds. And that, my Mashka, has been a faithful recounting of my first eight hours as a resistance fighter. I’ll write again as I’m able.