It has been difficult to maintain this journal since we arrived here. This city, which we do not yet have a name for, has a way of oppressing anything that lives within its walls. Out side of the walls is a dense jungle that oppresses in its own way. At least the undead do not travel outside of the walls, and we can make camp and get what rest we can without being attacked.
Each day we head back into the city only to have to retreat to the jungle after about half of the day. On the first day back in, we came across a pillar being protected by a few skeletons. It was difficult to subdue them, not because they were powerful, but the pillar emanated some power over the area. After we dealt with the skeletons, we were able to deactivate the power of the pillar. Almost instantly, everything became lighter. It was as if we were being suffocated and then suddenly we could breath freely again.
After a retreat back into the jungle, we began our search of the city. As we got further away from the pillar, the feeling of the city oppressing us returned. After a while, we came upon a massive pile of bones in a plaza of the city. We attempted to approach with care, but we were spotted by skeletons hiding in the shadows. One blew a horn and the pile of bone rose up against us. Once again, it was a difficult battle made worse by something in the surrounding area. Once we dispatched our foes, we noticed a strange and sickening magical aura emanating form the now still pile. Burring in it was a sphere. Like the pillar, we studied it and sought to disable its hold on this quarter of the city. Our attempts did not go well at first as our fumbling woke more fiends from the pile. We were able to eventually release its grip and once again, it was as if a weight had been lifted from our chests. Exhausted from the ordeal, we made camp in the jungle once again.
In the morning, Demyan noticed smoke coming from the quarter of the city were we found the pillar. We decided to investigate. The undead are not known for using fire. When we came upon the source, we found some of the undead performing a ritual. We believe that they were attempting to create something to replace the pillar we deactivated. This dark ritual focused on the death of 4 human and the attempted death of a 5th. We interrupted their ritual and saved the 5th’s life. This person’s name is Shell. She lived in the city and was there to aid in the ritual. She claims that she was not aware that she was to be sacrificed. We have learned much from her, most of which is very disturbing. Onundr and Renardo are both very displease with the Heket worshiping taking place in this fell city and wish to see it cleansed.
We took Shell with us out of the city and into the jungle for the night so that we could interrogate her further. We have learned that there are 2 other locations in the city which focus dark energies to help bring this place closer to the shadow plain. Additionally, there is a “master” in the central structure of the city. This master, who name she claims to no know, or refuses to speak, holds other humans in its service. these people live here with the undead and serve Heket. She explained that this master is no of the living. Which strikes me as very odd is that she does not speak the trade language and only speaks a form of High Elvin. it is rare to hear elven spoken in this way any longer, and when it is heard, it is usually in addressing some of the eldest of the elves, the few who are left from when they came from the moral plain and into the Feywild. It is unsettling to think that maybe this master might have once been eledrin or elf.
We have struck a bargain with Shell. She will lead us to the other two places where they still have devices to focus the dark energies into the world, in exchange we will help her leave this place. Unfortunately, Renardo’s impudent tongue have only manages to strain relations with Shell. I do not think she trusts us, and from what Renardo has said to her without any council from the group would give anyone pause to trust. I am not even sure he will honor our bargain with her when it comes time. Perhaps it is because humans live for such a short time that they do not have to live of the consequences of broken bargains that they so easily betray others. Atleast for now he will go along with the plan.