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My new "apprenticeship"
Lujay's Journal, Chapter 1

A glorious day of New Things! While working to clear the lot of the Goodberrys' once and future pub, we received visitors! A small, fascinating dinosaur-like person from distant lands was having a tense encounter with an entirely too serious cloaked human. I attempted to defuse the situation, and she consented to answer some of my impertinent questions. (I'm sometimes told that ALL of my questions are impertinent, but that's not true!) She even agreed to meet me later for a drink after I could handle some other business. And the other business, dear diary?! A wealthy, eccentric human wanted to invest 200 gold in the family business! 

His name is Tripp, and he makes traps, and he has a yak. The serious-face human is his friend Silva, and there's this grungy guy with no tongue called Talker. I went to get Eberk to help write up a business contract then ran off to meet the dinosaur person. Glin's got a different way of thinking. It's easy to believe she knows nothing about Gnomes and Dwarves because she's from so far away. We talked for hours. The new business partners happened to come into The Bits and Chips, and I bought them each a pint of The Gold, which was particularly fine that night.

Eventually I helped a stumbly Glin leave the inn. As we set off to collect her pony, I glanced down the alley and saw an actual murder happening! Two cloaked dwarves stabbed a third and left him bleeding. I yelled and ran to his side. "Who was it?" "…the…cuhb…" I called for help to get him to a healer, and Glin stepped up to help. She magically healed the victim, giving off a green aura that some people in these parts mistrust. Once he was stable, our new friends carried him off to the healer. After making sure they were headed the right way, I turned back to Glin just in time to catch one of the murderers trying to take advantage of her tipsy condition and steer her away from safety. 

Murder in the streets!? Waylaying of kind strangers?! What is my fair city coming to?!? When Silva reveals that he is out to collect bounty on Cabal members, I know that it's time for my showy swordplay to fulfill its grim purpose. 

Lujay

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Friends in low places
Lujay's Journal, Chapter 2

We headed down to Low Pick and found my friend Dirk Darkstone at the Miners Rest.  I described the murderous, scar-faced dwarf.  Of course, we had to speak in riddles of boulders falling, instead of real blood spilled by cruelty and steel, but he gets the picture.  As it turns out, the scar-faced dwarf Haggard is sitting on the other side of the pub with some of his Cabal buddies. Dirk helped me get out of the pub without being seen. We quietly finished exchanging information and parted ways. Tripp, Silva, Glin, and I waited hours until the cabal members emerged. I was shocked to see my own cousin Ben Bestendige walking back to our part of town but ignored him for the moment. Haggard stumbled deeper into Low Pick. We followed him at a careful distance until he came to a place where there were a number of cots gathered together within a low wall. Most of the cots contained sleeping dwarves. After Haggard lay down, Glin snuck in and decided to slit his throat. Dramatic! Blood everywhere with a hideous gurgling, and the sleepers awoke. Many of them attacked, and many others ran away. Glin was cut down very quickly. I popped off a few crossbow bolts before I was seen, then switched to my sword. Tripp and Silva handled the heavy fighting, then they were down. I danced around the last one standing, and he eventually got frustrated with my evasive style. He threatened to kill the unconscious Tripp if I didn't stop avoiding him. I disarmed him, but he still murdered Tripp with his bare hands. I managed to knock him out in the end, not kill him, because I knew we needed information. And was that ever lucky! One of the dwarves that got away when the fighting started came running up with some of the town guard. Well, I was easily able to spin my side of the story given that I hadn't even killed the last guy, and one of them recognized Silva from discussing the bounty on Cabal members. They bound both me and the Cabal snitch in manacles and marched us back for questioning while Silva and Glin were revived.

After lots of questions all around, we claim our bounty and go to retrieve our friends at the temple. I send a message to my family, and the answer is devastating. The priest comes back with the body of my precious mother  Dumia, murdered in cold blood by the stinking Cabal in retribution for my actions. Terrified for the rest of my family, I wrote to my dad in dramatic terms how I understand he needs to disown me. In answer, he comes to me himself, claiming me as a true Bestendige, dearly loved and needed in this time of hardship. Feeling ten times the man I was moments ago, I get the party together to take out the rest of the Cabal. Dakar Bestendige collects cousins Bron Bestendige and Ben Bestendige to avenge Mom. We were descending a dark tunnel out of Low Pick before it hit me that Ben was with us. Ben, who had conspired with the Cabal. We had it out in the tunnel, Dad violently expressing his distaste for Ben's choice of company. Ben said that he was only doing minor errands for them. His cowardice was dishonorable, but I intervened to keep him alive, believing his exposure would force him to choose the correct side in this conflict. We continued on and were required to rappel down a small cliff. At the bottom, we encountered a group of Cabal members and an explosion and a beach, then everything happened very quickly. I encouraged a prisoner in a cage to join our fight, and Ben released him.  Eventually Ben even struck a blow against the Cabal, being repaid instantly in kind. We struck down many before the leader emerged, clad in shiny armor and wielding terrible weapons. Eventually we defeated him and all of his lackeys on the beach, but a pirate ship sailed away, The Dread Waves

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Deepwise to calamity
Lujay's Journal, Chapter 3

Reeling from the fight with the Cabal and their pirate friends, we take a breather and examine all the stuff left here on the secret beach. There are weapons, food, and silver that clearly need good homes! I work with Dad, Bron, and the grudgingly re-accepted Ben to rig a pulley and lift the goods up to where we can push, pull, and drag them back to Low Pick. I send for Dirk Darkstone, and he helps with the move from there. Then I waste some time doing inventory of the boring stuff and selling it off.

The prisoner in a cage that Ben had set free is a human called Hun. He retrieves his camel and weapons and is glad to join us. I've got to find out more about his story later! But we find out this part: he has no pecker. Silva keeps calling him "Dickless". And he gave it up willingly, as some kind of initiation rite? The idea startles and horrifies me, and it's as if I'm wilting in sympathy. No! I must feel alive and virile! Immediately I run off to The Bits and Chips. Mimi can tell l'm distraught, and it so happens that she's able to slip away…

As I stroll down the stairs hours later, my manhood vigorously reaffirmed, tremors suddenly rock the building. When's the last time Silver Mountain had an earthquake?!? I hustle outside and observe people running surfacewise. I stop a particularly panicked one from spreading his nonsense and get him to lead others to safety. Mimi is already locking up. With my new friends Silva, Glin, and Hun, I run depthwise to find the trouble, and wow, is there trouble. 

We find bodies everywhere, killed by falling rocks or collapsing structures, for real this time. Ultimately by running against the direction of the crowd, we find the source of panic. It looks like an aboleth, but it's flying through air and rock, not water. It has a cloud around it that makes breathing difficult. And thinking. But I run to the general store and find that it doesn't follow me. First I collect a breathing mask for me plus as many more as I can carry. Then I test the slime that the creature left at the door. Does it react to acid? Lye? Fire? Then I need more acid to take it out! With breathing masks and as many vials of acid as I can find, I run out to rejoin the fight. The vials I manage to land on the aberration seem to be doing some damage. Hun has fashioned a crude bomb and attaches some acid before hurling it, to great effect. It dissolves into slime, then nothingness, but Hun collects some vials of slime for future use. We both have been slimed, and our arms are turning into goo. Contact with water helps, and we wrap the affected areas in dripping wet towels before running to the temple. Luckily,a priest had a potion that restores us to normal. 

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Death files for a restraining order
Lujay's Journal, Chapter 4

Today…I felt old, for the first time in my life. First, I headed home from the temple. Dad, Ben Bestendige, and Bron Bestendige were discussing what to do in the wake of the destruction. There are opportunities for the family to make great money, but Bron said it's too dangerous to stay. I assured them that I'd investigate the source of the strange attacker and that we should stay and take advantage of the business. Then two guards come to collect me for the Council of Chieftains — Dad seemed really proud! I nervously stood before the council and accepted their mission: bring a treaty offer to the human kingdom of Torbel, and return home with supplies. Before going home, I went to check on Mimi, who turned out to be in the infirmary, in great pain from completely crushed legs. I comforted her until she slept then followed a rumor of rain inside the mountain. Hun and I found Silva at the site of the downpour. He explained that he'd caused the rain with new abilities born of his pent up rage. 

I got home to find Dad and Bron in a fistfight. Bron stormed upstairs. Dad said that Bron said unfair things about what Mom would have wanted us to do. I told him about what the Council wanted me to do, and I persuaded Bron to join me instead of leaving in dishonor. With Bron, Silva, and Hun, I went to investigate the monster attack. We got sidetracked by Peckelsheim's posing as part of our group. I couldn't help but burst the little con artist's bubble by destroying his credibility. That was good enough for me, but Hun was deeply offended and swore to end him. Back on the trail of the aboleth, we found Davik digging through the rubble, tossing aside huge rocks like pillows. When confronted, his eyes blazed red, and he went back to his normal strength. We found a giant hole that made me dizzy and caused my heart to seize up just from slithering to the edge to look in. Then, in the passage down to where we ended the Cabal, we saw Peckelsheim. We ran after him until I noticed that he was running as if he could see in the dark, which isn't normal for gnomes. Hun and Silva wanted to go after him anyway, but that seemed like a bad idea, so Bron and I went to investigate at the Spiral Tower. Thrake was not well informed about the aboleth attack, so he was willing to trade information. He's supposed to research and give us an answer tomorrow. As we turned to leave, I heard a painful yell in Davik's voice! I ran to him, but the mages held me back, saying it was just a corpse. Apparently its soul had been ripped out? Or it never had one? But what or who did we see back in Low Pick? Thrake wanted to go see.

We rode down in his cab and found Silva emerging from the dark corridor with a barely alive Hun in tow. They had been under some kind of mind control or illusion but managed to defeat the horrible cloaker that attacked them. Silva was barely prevented from killing himself in despair for what he did and failed to do under mental control. So back to the infirmary…why don't these guys listen to me…and another terrible shock. Mimi has developed the bleach. I demand that the priest heal her up enough for me to take her away. She will never walk or dance again…but that can't be the end of her life!

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Mimi's challenge
Lujay writes a letter

Lujay Bestendige realizes that it's not a good idea to bring Mimi along on the expedition, but he can't just leave her to fade away. She's a talented individual — surely the bards' college or the Spiral Tower would take her in as a student and keep her mind active. 

m,

Do you think that your song will be lost in the chorus of sorrows surrounding you now? Do you disdain this new and interesting life you’ve been given? Perhaps you fear that your friends will avoid you, or worse, that they will pity you? Never! I challenge you! What you have lost in flesh, you will gain a hundred times over in spirit! 

Your pain is a seed that will grow your greatness. You've always had  power in you, so claim it! Claim every drop of pain that hits you, like a drop of water that over time builds a stalagmite, towering above the floor from which it grows. Grasp your despair, own your struggle, purify your loss into incredible beauty. 

We both stand on the verge of great change. Loss and gain, bliss and despair, they all blend together when viewed from this height. Fate is in flux, and not all choices are ours to make. Let go. We will not fade! We will fly. 

l

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Praised

Today was a wonderful time, however I never got to catch that petersheckal or putercheck. Whatever his name is, but in due time I shall get justice on him. While searching for this dishonorable piece of shit, me and silva came across a really strange ritual. Silva became effected by something that made him go crazy, his eyes became all crazy like. I fought until the bitter in, i remember killing some creature and then blacking out. I came too on the back of Silva and dazed in and out before a ring healed me.

I met up with that weird Dino dude who healed me more, but as it healed me, i could hear all my ancestors speaking to me, i knew they were my family, they never gave a word of praise. I have never been praised for anything in my life, from my normal family or even my Du Mon Sect, never once a praise. However when hearing all those negatives family members, i just tune them out but the very in, i heard something.

Four little words

"I like your style"

Those words from no a family member but something different. I knew it wasn't a family person because my family doesn't praise me, but i must find who this person was who praised me. I have a new quest besides my idea of becoming strong for my revenge.

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Lujay's Journal, Chapter 5
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Death of Gullander "Shadow" Peckelsheim

I had finally gotten my revenge on the dishonest and no good Gullander Peckelsheim aka Shadow.

Here is how it went down.

Glin, Silva and Myself just got done talking with Thoric and the cleric while the creature was still trapped in the barrier, We tried to talk the to the creature but he just told us to go "Suck It." So we talked to Vic and got Vic to give us stuff for the alive creature and he disappeared.

We went to the tavern now and saw Peckelsheim and i offered 100 gold to capture him as he fled. Silva caught him rather fast and we tied him up as guards started to come. I walked him to the prison and they shackled him up to the wall. I paid the guard to turn his back as i poured Abolith Slime on his pecker and chest and gagged him as i left. His body started to turn to mush. 

Later that night i retrieved his skull, got all the meat off it and carved "Traitor" into it. I still have his skull.

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Draft
Lujay's Journal, Chapter 6

After Mom’s funeral, I helped Mimi get settled back in her rooms at the tavern. I went home and was just finishing my packing when I heard a roar like that of a large wild animal. Ben Bestendige came running to tell me my friends were fighting about a stone that was killing Glin. There was a trail of red and green blood leaving the stables. As I tried to determine where it led, a guard came up and told me that he’d seen Hun with an unconscious Silva moving at top camel speed towards the temple. I hastily mounted my pony and followed them.

At the temple, Silva was awake, but his eyes stared unseeing from a somber face, a small pile of papers ignored on his lap. “What the hell happened?” “Fight.” I nodded and asked after the other two. No one has seen Glin…I realized she must be dead and her body transported to Vic. Not good. Hun had left Silva here and then rode surfacewise, so I followed. I caught sight of him near the gate. He glanced back and saw me, startled, and started moving faster, causing a small skull dangling from a chain to bounce into view. Oh that settles it, he definitely murdered my curious Glin! “Make way!” I yelled, trying to get through the press of the crowd. Hun took off, trampling several dwarves in his haste to escape. “Look out! Watch out for the murderer!” Suddenly a chain flew out to wrap his camel’s legs, but the camel didn’t trip or slow, and a fully black [[Dyno’kin]] was then dragging along behind. I popped off a couple of crossbow bolts that accomplish nothing, then Hun attempted to cut the chain with his sword. He lost his balance, fell, and hit his head.

I jumped down, and finding him unconscious, I started tying him up. Then a ghost emerged from the skull, cheering on Hun’s downfall. “…Peckelsheim? What the hell happened to you?” His story horrified me. Hun had given him an agonizing death and bound his spirit to his own skull, and he had spent years tortured in the nine hells. He begged for release. “We’ve never been friends, but I’ll do that for you, when I find out how.” He looked so traumatized from his experience that I could hardly even try to shut him up as he prattled on and on.

I thanked Raz the Dyno’kin for his help and found out he was trying to collect a bounty on Hun. “I’ve got no problem with you taking his head, but I might need to talk to him first. Cut me in, and I’ll make sure you get yours.” He joined me and a contingent of guards in delivering the demon man to prison. The guards locked Hun in a hole. I took his evil magical sword and shield to the temple, where all they could do was bury them deep in the crypts under piles of rubble. Ernak was able to release Peckelsheim, though. The skull, which had been carved with the word “TRAITOR”, disintegrated, and the spirit’s expression relaxed as if waking from a bad dream as it rose and faded away.

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