The Citadel

Slayer Graduation and The First Mission
First Report of Nový Poradie

I am always made nervous of the methods of Bojovnik and the others in training Slayers. I can’t help but feel that they breed unmerciful and cruel subjects…however, when my thoughts drift in this direction, I remember that this is the way of The Citadel, and I am saddened.

The Slayer class this month was very small, only six members, but there were a few standouts among them. Yenefer Renko and Cahton Acedon (strangely referred to as “L” and “R” in some bizarre hazing process by the other slayers) were the only two who showed no exceptional abilities. However, according to Bojovnik’s report, Alexander Nazarov, Ceredine Aedonnel, Halien, and Magnus Gladius all showed fantastic capability, and relatively few of the Slabí imitating dolls were “killed”. (This does not change the fact that one of them was reportedly shot with an arrow) In addition to all these fresh faces is a recent Scout graduate, Parolles Zeno. Parolles will supposedly be accompanying The Slayers on their missions, in an attempt to better join the aspects of our Scout and Slayer divisions.

As usual, the final Slayer test involved bringing the Slayers up to The Gardens and having them defend these dummies from attacks by a certain type of monster. The monster chosen this time was, apparently, a forest spider. However, Bojovnik, up to his usual tricks, only told the would-be Slayers about one spider, when in reality there were three. As per usual, the Spiders were not any danger to the trainees (other than an instance of Cahton being caught in a massive web), as they were much more occupied with the animal corpses tied to the dummies.

Having performed exceptionally, even managing to notice the other hisses of the spiders before they came, the apprentice Slayers were passed on by Bojovnik and allowed to graduate.

The next day, Slayer graduation was held in the seventh ring. This, I attended. The Prime Magister, Jevon Heird, gave his usual long-winded speech about knowing The Slayers when he hadn’t actually ever seen the majority of them. The entertaining part was when The Revered Maiden entered, and he broke his speech midway to kneel, along with the rest of the room. (Sometimes I wonder if that ever gets tiring for Her. Surely imagining Her being annoyed by constant breaks in conversation in Her presence is not blasphemous.) Jevon ended up tongue-tied in Her presence, and, as always, She was extremely courteous. The rest of the room was asked to stand and continue, and I believe that Jevon ended up skipping ahead in his speech by a few lines.

Each of The Slayers was brought forward, spoken about by Jevon, and given a gift. This time, he could not obscure that he didn’t know many of them. However, the words were very politely spoken, and he was courteous to them. Parolles was brought forward, too, and given a gift, in a rather humorous turn of events.

The Ceremony of Blood passed, and was as awe-inspiring as it always is. Nothing is in that fountain but water, Slayer blood, and magical preservatives. With every drop that is added, it seems to become increasingly redder. I wonder if the Slayers feel bonded in the same way that we see them bonded after this.

The Slayers were free for a few days, but they were eventually assigned to me. I believe that our first meeting was…awkward at best. This is, after all, my first time commanding Slayers, and I disagree with many of the orders that the other High Priests give. Going in, I was terrified that they would find me naive or overtly merciful, and I ended up stumbling over my words multiple times. In the end, however, I managed to get the orders across. They needed to go to a village where multiple attacks had been reported by monstrous creatures. Things that flew through the night killing and taking. Due to the close proximity of The Citadel to the village, and the relative weakness of the monsters, it had been judged that this would be a good mission for starting Slayers. I am pleased to announce that there were no casualties, a rarity for first missions as we all know.

The report given to me was that The Slayers, upon entering the village, interacted with the Slabí, threateningly at first, but strangely enough ended up being very kind to them by the end. In fact, Nazarov gave one of the Slabí families a day’s worth of rations, after hearing a terrible story of how another Slayer killed a husband and father in cold blood. (Merely because he stood in the way) A silver piece was given to a child in exchange for watching the Slayers’ horses (though apparently it would have been used to send him in front of the party into the cave they learned the monsters were occupying, if not for intervention on Ceredine’s part). The Slayers gathered much information here. They learned that swarms of bats attacked the village and tore creatures to shreds, and they also learned, through a rather disturbing hole in the wall of one of the huts, that there was a much larger monster they may have had to face. In another noteworthy kind act, Magnus chopped down a tree and used the wood to provide an improvised sealed-up wall.

The Slayers moved onward, and reached the cave. It is reported that, as this point, a large rock was thrown in, and swarms of bats emerged. Ceredine used the necklace of fireballs, given to her as a gift to engulf both of the swarms in flame. The group was then unsure about how to proceed, since they believed there to be more enemies inside.

Somehow, a bizarre idea came about involving holding one end of a tree, and lighting the other end on fire with a torch. Due to the recent rain, it took a fairly long time for the fire to spread along the tree, and the slayers could hold it fairly safely. It was pushed into the cave, and used as a bizarre makeshift torch, as well as a weapon if any enemy should come.

And supposedly, an enemy did come. To be precise, a giant bat, mutated by The Spirits. It put up a fairly decent fight, managing to injure Ceredine, but The Slayers through superior numbers and tactics killed it fairly easily.

In the cave, bodies of Slabí who had tried to kill the beast themselves were found, and a sizable number of copper pieces were found on them. The bat, strangely enough, was hoisted up and placed on Magnus’s back. As they walked back through the village, a small girl saw him, and hugged his leg, thanking him.

All in all, it seems that these Slayers are good at what they are primarily going to be doing: killing. And I am pleased with the relative lack of Slabí harassment…though I know that other high priests wouldn’t care. I look forward to working with these Slayers in the future, and hope I make a better impression on them in future missions.

-High Priest, Nový Poradie

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Second Mission
The Allip in Pond's Water

The new group of Slayers seems as stable as ever, and performed (for the most part) very well during their second mission.

On the morning on August 3rd, I brought the group into my office. In the past, there had been some disturbances in the (relatively) successful Slabí settlement of Pond’s Water. A scout, Shayden Greeves, had been investigating in the area when he had been attacked by seemingly rabid villagers. He had described them as foaming at the mouth, with eyes rolled up in their skulls. There had supposedly been massive numbers of them, chasing him with an insane fury.

When this report had been delivered, it was decided that the best option would be to send a group of Slayers to continue the investigation.

Ceredine Aedonnel, Halien, Alexander Nazarov, and Magnus Gladius were chosen, and were joined by Friedrich Ateista, a young man from a previous class of slayers, whose group had died in an accident; the details of which have never been reported to me. The rest of the group did not seem particularly partial to Friedrich, however, hopefully they will come to be fonder of him in time.

After I reported the details of the mission to the Slayers, they supposedly met a man in the crafter circle who wanted an herb (which he called a shab-herb) that they would find on their way to Pond’s Water. Supposedly, this herb had great magical power, and could be found somewhere in the middle of the forest. With this new information, The Slayers took the riskier forest route in search of the herbs.

While they were gone, I became worried. With the knowledge that the mission would require some espionage, and that they were only Slayers, I sent Parolles Zeno after them, to accompany them.

Meanwhile, The Slayers found the area where the shab-herbs were on their journey through the forest, it was apparently a clearing with a gigantic tree, filled with the glowing herbs which grew along its root. They were attacked here by a creature they described as a woman made out of wood, which we can easily classify as a Dryad. Thankfully, it was defeated fairly easily, and the group claimed the shab-herbs as their own. After the fight, Parolles finally showed up and joined them, explaining that The Citadel had sent him to help.

Moving on, they faced fairly dangerous weather, but camped under a makeshift shelter of trees and managed to wait it out. Not so long after they continued on from here, however, they reached a place where the trees grew thicker, and knowing that they were close to Pond’s Water and it was late, camped out for the night. In the morning, they moved on, and the forest grew deeper. It came to the point where they could only follow a few specific routes. Here, they realized that the Slabí had laid out traps. Due to Halian’s expertise, and a little bit more knocking over of trees, the area was successfully passed through.

However, that did not prevent them from having problems when they reached the gates of the village. Apparently, the last thing the citizens of Pond’s Water wanted was for anyone from The Citadel to come in. Negotiations were carried out, and from a series of threats from Halian and forceful diplomacy from Friedrich, the townspeople were finally prepared to allow everyone in, even the elves. However, just as they were about to make it within the walls of the village, Ceredine lost her temper, and apparently a small bolt of demonic power hit the chieftain.

The result was, unfortunately, how you would expect. Thankfully, a few other members of the group managed to leave the village and close the gate, saving Ceredine’s life in the process, but placing a buffer between themselves and the mission’s completion. At this point, Nazarov got the idea to offer a gold piece to the guards who were still in the gate. At the time, this was the only way to get into the village, however, the long-term implications of it trouble me. Nazarov managed to negotiate the entry of himself, and Friedrich. They made friends with two guards, and were given clothes that would make them look like Slabi. From here, they spoke to the guards and learned the story of a girl who had been driven mad and drowned herself after a scout from The Citadel came and tortured her, believing that he was exorcising her of a mind demon. They then learned of the identity of a powerful Spirit Shamaness of the village, and went to meet her.

Speaking to the Spirit Shamaness, Friedrich and Nazarov learned of the girl’s death, and how it had created a ghost known as an Allip. The Allip, apparently, was a ghost of a person who had been driven mad by someone, and was possessed by only an unholy rage. The Spirit Shamaness, knowing that they were of The Citadel, informed them that there were only two ways to get rid of the creature: one by having a person of divine power allow it to possess him, and apologizing to it sincerely (a risky option, and one that Nazarov refused) and the other by having the person who wronged the creature suffer by its hand. Friedrich and Nazarov were both disappointed by this, knowing that the person that had tortured the Allip was in The Citadel. However, the Spirit Shamaness informed them that this was not the case. The Scout had only paid someone else to exorcise the girl: a former student of hers. The people of the village, with their need to blame The Citadel, had ignored her attempts to tell this to them.

Before they saw her student, they went to the gate and reported to the others what was happening. There will be more on what they were doing later.

Friedrich and Nazarov now went to the house of the person in question, and with the help of mind-effecting magic, he was very warm and inviting to them. However, this did not stop him from lying, which Nazarov clearly noticed. Despite this, however, the two decided that they would deal with him later, after they had investigated the pond. They left to do so.

Meanwhile, the other four members of the group were trapped outside of the gate. By the time they had meet with Friedrich and Nazarov, they had created a very basic giant wooden horse with two gold pieces in its nose. (I am not making this up) However, when the Slabí did not let them in, they decided to abandon their creation and walk around the wall to see where it ended. After a fairly long walk, they reached the river flowing out from the pond. Unable to continue the wall through the deep river, the villagers had stopped here. The group took turns going around the wall, and headed to the pond.

They reached the pond sooner than Friedrich or Nazarov, and when they did, a few villagers were drinking from it. They were paid a silver piece to leave (more money being pumped in the Slabí economy, troublesome) and did so. As they investigated the pond, Ceredine decided to go swimming in it. This was a bad idea for many reasons, but one of the key ones was the fact that the pond was, in a sense, haunted. Her body was taken from her, and controlled by the Allip, which spoke to the group, and demanded that they leave. For some reason, it did not attack, however, and it let go of Ceredine, telling the group to leave. Friedrich and Nazarov reached the pond at this point, and Friedrich demanded to speak to the creature. He was dissuaded, however, by his companions, who told him that it no longer desired to talk, and they must leave it.

After sharing information, they learned that the pupil of the Spirit Shamaness was responsible, and that there was only one thing they could do.

They broke into the man’s house, carried him out toward the pond, and forced him beneath the water’s surface. He begged and pleaded the whole time, but to no avail. Once he was there, the creature took him, and erased his soul from existence with its tremendous rage. From there, the spirit was finally free to go, and it passed on to the next life.

The Slabí, however, did not see it this way. They saw a man being dragged into a pond by Slayers, and then those same Slayers walking back without him. The villagers were horrified by these events, and showed immense rage at their actual saviors. They were given a keg of oil to help them, but were not fully appeased by it. Saying, apparently, “Leave, because we are not strong enough to stop you.”

All in all, the mission had many rough edges, but went a lot better than it could have. Is it wrong to feel sick saying that? In the end, however, Zverák is a harsh land. What makes me particularly saddened, however, of the whole series of events, is the fact that I told some of the more good-natured Slayers that the scout who paid the man to torture the girl would be found and punished. I did not have the heart to tell them that this would not happen. The Citadel would view The Scout’s behavior as perhaps a little bit reckless, and, if identified, he will be given a slap on the wrist.

That is the way that we operate.

-High Priest, Nový Poradie

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Third Mission
The Doppelganger

On August 15th, I sent The Slayers (a group made up of Magnus, Nazarov, Parolles, and Halian) to the Slabi settlement of Hillfoot. Their mission was to help a Scout known by the name of Darven Skerrel to identify and eliminate a Doppelganger. Over the course of their journey, they fought a group of Spirit-mutated wolves (in which Halian almost lost his horse), faced against a storm, and crossed the plains. I received reports of two near threats. At first, there was a point where the Slayers’ vision was completely blocked out, and they heard strange murmuring. Another was when the ground began to rumble strangely, and The Slayers prepared for combat thinking that something was beneath them, but nothing emerged. These signs are troubling. Summer must be coming near its end. It seems shorter every year.

They came to the village at approximately the 17th, arriving at the door of a couple of Slabí farmers. Halian, Parolles, and Nazarov demanded food, while Magnus wandered into the village. The farmers were hesitant, but then realized they were dealing with Slayers, and provided. After the meal, Nazarov strangely gave the farmers some of his rations, and two gold.

Meanwhile, Magnus met up with Darven, the Scout, in the village. Darven was apparently paranoid, and in a rush to speak to Magnus, but Magnus, ever the quiet type, demanded that he not speak to him, but instead the other Slayers. They went to where he had last seen the others, and met them coming back from the farm. Darven informed them that the Doppelganger had been killing Slabi every few nights. The villagers had been smart at first, and had sent someone to watch, but the entire night watch had ended up dead, and ever since then they had been terrified to attempt it again. At the time, there were three main suspects the villagers spoke a about: “Weird-Eye” Mosht, Senna Arven, and Berret Kren. The Slayers decided that their best method of investigation would be to take each of these characters, tie them up, and interrogate them. (Not that bad in comparison to most Slayer methods, I hate to admit) This went very well for the most part, and the Slayers found information about their suspects, particularly that Senna was only hated by the other villagers because she could not support a healthy child. Unfortunately, these suspects were only down to two. Berret Kren was missing, and could not be found.

The plan was suggested that they wait out the night, watching for the doppelganger. If anyone died, it was not either of the suspects. Halian and Nazarov patrolled the village while Magnus and Parolles slept in the house with Darven. Unfortunately, at sometime during the night, Darven was apparently killed, and found on the doorstep of the house. Magnus and Parolles did not seem to notice anything…other than Parolles having a strange dream and suddenly waking from his sleep. Strangely enough, the Slayers looted Darven’s body and (for reasons I cannot quite grasp) chopped his head off.

In the morning, Ceredine (who had previously been ill) arrived, having been sent from the Citadel, the first thing greeting her the headless body of a scout. She met up with the group just as they were continuing to interrogate their suspects. After a series of grueling interrogation methods, it was revealed that Mosht was not the doppelganger, but had in fact killed (and eaten) several members of the village. The Slayers chose not to do anything about this, but did not release Senna or Mosht, as they had heard rumors that doppelgangers could teleport through walls and ropes.

For a while after this, The Slayers were stuck on exactly what to do. They rounded up the villagers, and had them each come to a meeting every day, where they would check to see if any of them were missing. They waited by night to see if anyone died, and when this didn’t happen they eventually released Senna and Mosht. Strangely, most of these plans were thought up by Magnus, who was usually quiet.

Meanwhile, Ceredine wandered out into the forest and found a locket, one that she learned from Senna had previously belonged to the missing Berret. Alone, Ceredine wandered out into the forest to find out where it had come from. She was not attacked, miraculously, but did not find anything.

Several days passed, and no one was killed. It looked like the Slayers’ trail had run dry. Another village was east of them, and they suspected that the Doppelganger had gone there. Magnus decided that they had already lost they mission, and went to The Citadel to give up. Halian, in some kind of hopeless protest, proceeded to go into the scout’s house and meditate. The other three left for the village.

On the way there, however, they ran into a small den. Not fully knowing what they had run into, they decided to investigate. It was a bizarre area obscured by fallen and hunched over trees, and rocks. Going down into it, they discovered that there was a door. Strangely enough, it opened fairly easily. However, as soon as it was opened, they heard a loud thumping sound. They were cautious, and not willing to enter at first. However, when they finally did, they found Magnus and Berret Kren, tied up and gagged. The thumping had been Magnus beating his foot against the wall.

For the past few days, Magnus had been a doppelganger. And it was going to The Citadel, looking exactly like a Slayer.

The Slayers quickly released Magnus and Berret and left, speeding off through the forest and the village, picking up Halian on the way. Thankfully, the Doppelganger had overworked its horse, and they caught up to it fairly easily. Beating it down, they captured it alive, and brought it into The Citadel’s gates.

The Slayers were given extra gold for delivering the monster alive, but were warned severely. If the creature had gotten within our walls, there is no telling what it could have done. It is likely that the blood of Citadel dwellers would have been on their hands. I can only be thankful that they realized their mistake soon enough to catch the creature.

I do not believe that The Slayers are worthy of a rank upgrade yet, however, I would like to request an end to espionage missions for now. They have succeeded at their last two missions, but with a lot of brute force and mistakes. For their next mission, I will request something with a clearer and more easily determinable goal. Clearly, they need experience with the dumber monsters before they move on to intelligent ones.

-High Priest, Nový Poradie

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Fourth Mission
The Abandoned Sewer

On the fourth of September, the Slayers were again called before me. This time, I was nervous of the repercussions of sending them on their mission. I was a high priest, I knew my duty, and these Slayers had faced very little true combat. They were overdue. However, knowing what I knew, it was only common sense that not all of them would survive this mission.

I informed them of a creature occupying the village of Settel, a Slabí settlement built amongst the rocks of the eastern plains. Our intelligence indicated that it was probably a Vivisector, which somehow emerged from the village’s own well in the middle of the night to gather human organs. For those uninitiated, the creature is even more ghastly than it sounds, as those organs in turn go on to form the flesh of its body. With its intelligence, and its amazingly sharp blades, it is not a being to be trifled with. The only chance The Slayers had was through sheer manpower, and when numbers alone are used to defeat an enemy, casualties can be expected.

Knowing their duty, The Slayers set out, following the cliff’s edge. When they came to the rocks, they knew to turn North. Apparently, somewhere here, shortly after camping for the night, they met two Ogres at a camp-site. Via a successful ambush, they killed them both easily, and looted their belongings.

They reached Settel, and were accosted by aggressive village children before they met the most respected member of the village: Jerrod Kretel, who warded away the attackers (more to the benefit of themselves than of The Slayers) and invited the group to his house to eat Dinner. As he introduced them to his family, Jerrod informed them that he believed that the Slabí should actually be kinder to people from The Citadel, those they thought were oppressing them. In reality, The Citadel protected them, and was perhaps the reason they were still alive. I would have liked to talk to this man, he sounds like someone who, if born into The Citadel, would have easily succeeded at becoming a High Priest or Slayer.

After meeting Jerrod’s family, The Slayers spent the night at his house, blocking off the well beforehand to see if the creature would emerge through it. It was proven that this defense worked, as the creature did not appear. However, Jerrod seemed nervous about keeping the well blocked off, stating that it was their only source of water, and that though the creature had killed many of them, they would all die much sooner from thirst.

With no other choice, the group entered the well, using a 100 foot rope to climb down into it.

What they found was that a tunnel had been roughly carved from the well to an abandoned Maják sewer system (though they did not know this at the time) and that the creature was using this as its lair.

They waded in two foot deep water between two walkways. Magnus gave Ceredine a boost to one on their left. She found that the door was locked, opened it forcefully with her magic, and heard a strange chirping sound which caused her to flee across the walkway. The group asked Ceredine to come back down to them, but she would not cooperate. Meanwhile, while the rest of the group stood in two-foot deep water without moving, a gigantic leech grabbed onto Friedrich’s leg and sucked a large amount of blood from him.

Finally, the group climbed onto the stone walkway, and entered the door that Ceredine seemed so afraid of. There, they encountered two giant undead rats, that were fairly easy to slay in combat. In the next room, they found a stairway down going past two gargoyles, which they made sure were not some sort of monster. In the next room, they used the pipes to climb up along another walkway, going along a vat.

This was where they were attacked by the Vivisector for the first time. It came from behind and stabbed Parolles with its claws. Apparently, it had the ability to turn invisible, and the only person who could attack it was Friedrich. Its attempted hit-and-run attack failed as it was shot by magic while it flew away.

The group moved on and were about to enter a door before Parolles learned that opening it would just bring them into the same room they had been in before. Instead, they entered the next door they came across, and went into another room with a vat. Here, they were attacked from the front, and the monster stabbed Ceredine. Ceredine, with nothing to do, dove into the water below. The monster got up and flew away, but not before taking heavy damage from arrows and spells. Magnus, meanwhile, brought Ceredine up from the water by tying twine around his sword and pulling on it.

The next room they entered was covered in bones, which stirred, but thankfully were not powerful enough to form into skeletons. There was a chest at the end of the room, containing a magical ring and four hundred gold, which Magnus and Halian squabbled over. Friedrich used read magic to read the magical writing on the ring, and revealed that it helped the wearer’s swimming ability. Somewhere in the confusion, Ceredine got the ring, and believed that Magnus had proposed marriage to her.

When the group finally moved on, they opened another door where Magnus was hit by a poisonous dart. Thankfully, the poison dealt no severe damage, but I’ll recommend the group to be more careful in the future. In the next room, they found the monster’s lair. Here, they saw it eating human organs, and fired more projectiles on it. It turned invisible, charged, and ravaged Nazarov, tearing his flesh from his body. They begun to fight the creature, and as they did, Nazarov continued to bleed. Thankfully, they killed it, in the end, and Nazarov was supposedly healed, but due to being severely wounded in a sewer system, infection set in, and he died.

We must all do our duties without thinking twice. That is our role in The Citadel.

Nazarov’s body was handed back to me. And I took it. I was forced to witness a strange hallucination in which Friedrich believed that one of the dead bodies found in the creature’s den was a “friend” of his, “Stevie”. I do not know how to comment on this, other than he still seems able to perform his duties. In addition, Magnus, Parolles, and Halian supposedly negotiated with the doppelganger, and told it it could assume Nazarov’s identity, in exchange for it being more willing to teach them the secrets of the Doppelganger.

Nazarov’s funeral will be held shortly. I hope to honor his commitment to The Citadel, as well as this group of Slayers. We have lost a good man.

-High Priest, Nový Poradie

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Fifth Mission
The Spirit of The Hunt

Prior to the beginning of this mission, the group had had some hiccups. Nazarov had been killed, and Ceredine had been removed and sent back to training in an attempt to eliminate some of her bad habits. For this reason, the group was two Slayers down, and I knew I needed a full six-person group for the assignment they were going to be given: The Slaying of the White Leopard, Czar.

For this reason, I sent Kaja, a Barbarian originally from the Slabí tribes, and Priscus Primoris, a mage who had originally been a crafter, on the mission.

After spending their wages on a lot of magical equipment, the group left The Citadel venturing south, following the Pitie river. There were a few notable run-ins in their travels. On the first night, they were attacked by Hellhounds, which [Halien, Magnus, and Parolles dispatched, though they endured injuries in the process, some of which could have been avoided by waking other members of the party up. Some time that night, Friedrich’s “friend”, “Stevie” ended up disappearing, (and I simply have no idea why…).

In the morning, Parolles looked around for healing herbs to help the group with their wounds and found a plant that he diagnosed as capable of magical healing. He showed it to Kaja, and she agreed as well. They decided to hang onto it use it at a better time.

Continuing south, they ran into a Rusalka, which chose Magnus as its mate. He was almost pulled under the water by it’s spell, but it was destroyed by two magic missiles. Friedrich fished its skeletal remains out of the river, and declared that it would be his new corpse. The group felt no need to argue.

Before the group went to sleep that night, they ate the meat that several members had caught hunting. Unbeknownst to Magnus, Parolles and Kaja decided that he was the most injured, and mixed the “healing herb” into his food. This report goes out to all the herbalism trainers in The Citadel: please train your students more competently. The plant was later diagnosed as “lifedrain”. I will give you all one guess as to why it earned its name. Thankfully, Magnus resisted it due to a high tolerance.

In the middle of the night, the group was attacked again by an unknown creature. Kaja was on watch, and instead of waking anyone up, she charged at it. The creature supposedly caused severe panic in her, magically, and we can only be grateful that her screams woke the rest of the party up. Halien chased her down on his horse, ran alongside her, and physically knocked sense into her, then rode her back into camp.

The next day, the group came closer to the lake. Friedrich informed the rest of the group that, from his studies in The Spirits, he had learned that the water was inhabited by a being that would trade meat for potions. Many members of the group knew what he was talking about, and tried to dissuade him from trading with Spirits. He shrugged them off, however, saying that it wasn’t a big deal.

When they reached the lake, they discussed the trading, and decided that they would split up and hunt, as well as search for the Leopard.

Their hunting went on, and Priscus and Friedrich returned to camp with large and fair amounts of food, respectively. Kaja and Parolles, meanwhile, who had been hunting together, spotted Czar in a tree, and were attacked. Kaja held her ground against the leopard, while Parolles went back to get help. Thankfully, the rest of the group heard Kaja’s battlecry, and was already on their way to where it had come from. As Kaja fought the Leopard, Priscus and Friedrich showed up, and bombarded the creature with magic. Outnumbered and severely injured, the Leopard fled. Parolles tried to track it down, but lost it in the trees. Kaja, meanwhile, almost collapsed due to the extent of her injuries.

Halien was not fazed by the Leopard’s escape, however, and set several traps near where it had been seen before, using the meat that the group had found while hunting as bait. They then watched, and waited. As it came close to night, however, the Leopard had yet to step into the trap. The rest of the group persuaded Halien to come back to the camp and revisit the traps in the morning. It was just as well. As while waiting, Halien had been bitten by a frost-fly.

The next morning, Halien was sick with windchill, but upon searching the traps they found that the Leopard had been caught. With a realization of how much money they would receive by taking the Leopard alive, Halien and Magnus tied it up and left with it. Kaja was noticeably perturbed by this, as she wanted it to be killed.

However, as the living Leopard was carried away, it kept slipping back into consciousness, and the trees, ground, and lake began to quiver. Friedrich and Priscus went to offer their meat to The Spirit, but learned through a strange conveyance of emotions that The Spirit would only accept Czar dead or free, never imprisoned. The two realized that it was dangerous to start a war with a Spirit, and offered to help it by killing Czar. When they made this offer, The Spirit gave them magical powers beyond their comprehension, and teleported them to where the rest of the group was.

Meanwhile, Kaja was trying to get to Magnus and Halien so she could kill the Leopard, however, they were avoiding her, and blocking it from her. Just then, Friedrich and Priscus teleported to the area, and stood between Kaja and the rest of the group, radiating with spiritual energy.

Kaja ignored this, and still tried to move in and kill the Leopard. However, Friedrich paralyzed her with his newfound magic power.

Meanwhile, Priscus refused Magnus’s offer via his new, powerful magic. With the Spirit energizing him, he stopped time, killed the Leopard, and then, for his own resources, created a massive amount of iron.

With the leopard dead, there was nothing else for the group to do. They had no choice other than to leave. With no way to carry the massive amount of iron, they left it there, and later reported it to me. We in my honest opinion, we should try to allocate our resources to it, but I understand if that is not possible at this point.

When the Slayers returned, I was caught in the middle of a debate between Priscus and Halien. Halien argued that Priscus and Friedrich should not have fraternized with The Spirits, wheras Priscus argued that they had done it out of fear for what the being was capable of. At first, neither side seemed to be a defensible position. However, I soon found that they had all acted in the best interest of The Citadel. Despite this, however, I sided with Halien, who seemed more level-headed, as opposed to Priscus, who had literally taken a spirit’s power into himself. I will submit this report, and in time appropriate penalties will be decided on for the Slayers. For now, we will have them return to their missions as normal. The group is very much in need of magic specialists.

-High Priest, Nový Poradie

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Sixth Mission
The Love of Beasts

On October 13th, The Slayers came before me again. Their mission, even to me, seemed standard: Go to the village of Riverwood, and kill the wolves that had been attacking. It seems that it ended up being far more complicated than I had anticipated. Kaja had been removed this mission, and was replaced by two new Slayers: Astartes, an elf, and Ulfgar, a Dwarf. The addition of these members makes the group a strange amalgam of races, but hopefully it will not obstruct any attempts at diplomacy. The travel was easy enough. It involved the Slayers returning to Hillfoot, a place they had been before, and going beyond into the forest. The first complication arose when a storm broke overnight. The following day, the Slayers ran into a traveling group of Slabí from a village that had been destroyed by giants. It was decided that the Slabí would be led to Hillfoot, where they would be dropped off. This went well, until the next day, when the group was attacked by great birds. Several Slabí were killed, and Astartes was almost killed, but thankfully survived, albeit with a large facial scar. The villagers were led to Hillfoot, where they were set to stay. The group also chose to stay in the village overnight. There, they had a run-in with Berret Kren, one of the doppelganger suspects of their third mission. Berret eventually managed to get gold from the Slayers, and tried to use that gold for the purpose of womanizing. However, Halien stalked him, and interrupted him and his would-be lover in the middle of their tryst. There was a skirmish and confusion as Ulfgar was convinced that the man had raped the girl. He beat him to unconsciousness, and left him lying half-naked in the center of the village. In the middle of the night, something slit Berret’s throat. The whole community was left in a panic, and the Slayers slipped away. They traveled through the forest until they reached Riverwood, a very small village, even by Slabí standards. It was made up of only around six families. The group first ran into two children: Kvetina and Zhont. Both of the children seemed nervous around the Slayers, especially Zhont, who was outright angry at them. The group was persistent in trying to negotiate, but in the end they only ended up getting the name of the most respected member of the village. This was Dôm, the man who had built the bridge going over the river. They questioned him repetitively, and found a few things: namely that the bridge was a choke-point, that the wolves had a chance of coming every night, and that there was a large number of them, in addition to a larger, much more menacing wolf leading the pack. The group proceeded to set traps along the bridge, giving the villagers who lived on the wolves’ side of the river temporary settlements on the other side. As they did, they searched throughout the destroyed houses, and Priscus Primoris identified the fact that one of the houses had been destroyed from the inside, instead of from the outside. Furthermore, this was the house that Kvetina had previously lived in. Furthermore, the group had noticed that Zhont and Kvetina had been acting suspiciously this whole time. They took Kvetina aside and interrogated her, much against the will of Zhont, who fought them. As Kvetina was interrogated, she grew increasingly emotional. Zhont, who was being held by Ulfgar, demanded that he let him go, as if he didn’t it meant danger for them all. Ulfgar dropped Zhont harshly onto the ground. Kvetina transformed, becoming a humongous wolf, and attempted to run away, but was riddled with arrows and spells, in addition to a critical blow dealt by Magnus. Astartes finished her, stabbing her in the heart. A group of wolves attacked next in vain attempt to save or avenge their master. They were defeated easily by a combination of traps and magic. The next day, the villagers were horrified by what had happened to Kvetina…but understood that she had been a werewolf, and that it had been necessary…at least…most of them did. Zhont, in blind anger, grabbed a metal bar and charged at Halien with it. Halien shot two arrows without hesitation, and killed the boy instantly. The villagers were horrified, but there was nothing they could do. The slayers dug graves for the children, out of respect, and buried them together. Next, the Slayers convinced the people to leave Riverwood, and go to live in Hillfoot. This was, perhaps, a good idea. With the Slabí consolidated, it will be easier to defend them from Orcs. The group led the villagers to the town themselves, and spent an extra day helping them build a quick and functional wall. The death of the children was regrettable, especially Zhont, but I cannot expect to criticize or change the actions of the Slayer who made the choice. After all, The Citadel would disagree.

-High Priest, Nový Poradie

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Seventh Mission
Svätyne and the Orcs

In the novice Slayers’ last mission, it was reported that there was a village that had been attacked by giants, and had forced the surviving inhabitants to flee. I passed this on, of course, and a group of more experienced Slayers were sent to take care of it.

Unfortunately, after the giant threat had been eliminated, the group faced a large number of orcs coming down from the mountains. Wounded and having suffered casualties, they could not fight them, and instead fled.

Thankfully, the orcs were on foot, and the news reached The Citadel fairly quickly. As soon as it did, we acted in the way we were always told to: sizable groups of Slayers sent to every Slabým village that was a likely attack spot for them. I decided it was a good mission for my group of Slayers to get their feet wet with orc-fighting, and sent them to Hillfoot, a town they were familiar with, and the one most likely to endure minimal attack.

I turned out to be wrong.

When the group left The Citadel, it made haste. Snowfall, as well as snow on the ground, slowed them down. But they still reached their destination in good time. However, when they finally arrived, they were surprised to see Svätyne banners on the sides of the wall that they, themselves, had helped build. Confused, the Slayers went to one of the farms outside of the main town, and asked the inhabitants what had happened. The answer they received was surprising: the Svätyne guard had come, and annexed Hillfoot via forceful declaration that it belonged to them. When the farmer was informed of the orcs, he panicked, and brought his family with him toward the gate. The slayers were offered to come as well.

When the slayers reached the gate, it apparently took quite a while for the guard to open for them. Even after that, they asked repetitive questions of the Slayers before they had their leader open the gate. Being close-minded, as they typically are, they would not listen to The Slayers concerning the orcs, and had trouble even believing them. Still, they fortified their defenses, and their scouts later returned and revealed that we were, in fact, right. And not only so. According to the scouts, around twenty-five orcs were headed for the village. With no choice, and mutual survival as the motivator, the Slayers formed and alliance with the Svätyne guard, and the two groups agreed to hold the line together.

While this was going on, the Slayers observed the town. Some of the Slabí were extremely stressed, and showed signs of being subjugated. Others, on the other hand, believed that they would become citizens of Svätyne, and would be much safer. It is unclear, even to me, what the town’s future will hold, but I will write on that topic further down.

In a well thought out strategy, the group decided to make a bonfire in the center of a field, and hold the orcs off there. Scouts climbed on top of buildings to serve as archers, and a group of Soldiers and Clerics stood around the fire, drawing the orcs toward it to take advantage of their contempt for light.

When the orcs showed up, hopelessness was apparently the first reaction. The group’s number was almost doubled, and the enemy soldiers were hulking, roaring white masses covered in red body-paint. The leader pointed forward, and the battle began.

Despite all odds, and with minimal casualties, the Slayers emerged victorious. Injuries were endured, but due to the Svätyne clerics, few of them were fatal, and none of them were fatal to Slayers. In the conflict, a Slabí farmhouse was destroyed with fire magic, but the damage was minimal in comparison to what the orcs would have done.

The Svätyne guard thanked the Slayers, but were cold as usual. When the group returned to me, Ulfgar suggested that this could be the beginning of an alliance between the two powers. Clearly, with all respect to him, he has not spent long talking to the guard. They are cowardly, and callous to the needs of others, taking only the actions that keep them safe. They would allow the Slabí to entirely die out if it involved them not lifting a finger.

I am unsure, and uneasy, about the fate of Hillfoot. My first guess it that most of the original villagers will become serfs or slaves, and that the settlement will expand to become a larger power. I cannot assume, however. It has been long since we spoke to the leaders of Svätyne, and it is possible things have changed. (if they are expanding outward, things have changed quite a bit) I would request a scout to have a permanent residence within the Hillfoot area, and to report what he sees happening every few weeks. This could be advantageous or disadvantageous to us, and we must be aware of its full effects.

-High Priest, Nový Poradie

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Eighth Mission
The Black Labs of Majak

When The Slayers came to my office on November 16th, they were surprised to find that it was not Orcs they would be facing. Rather, a series of disappearances had been taking place in Settel again. Most of them groaned, and it was suggested that the citizens should move to a different area, instead of the Slayers continuing to need to protect them. Do not fear, for I did as I should and warned them that such words would lead to strict or consequences.

All we knew from our scouts was that creatures had been coming into the village, possibly undead ones, and taking slabí dead or alive. We did not know the reason, or what was truly going on. That was what the Slayers had to learn.

Sensing a difficult mission, we sent a group of seven Slayers out, the usual group (without Friedrich, who is now considered worrisome for his fraternization with Sprits) in addition to Astartes, and new group member, a half-even Warmage named Veren. Unfortunately, on the way to the village, a white dragon attacked, and Astartes died before even reaching Settel. Priscus was severely injured, but he was healed.

The group reached the village and quickly learned that most of the disappearances had been blamed Antonin, a sorcerer, by the villagers, who was the first to disappear. Furthermore, he had wandered into the forest himself, which only increased suspicion. The group decided to go to the man’s house, where they found his wife. She was at first reluctant to speak to them, but they forced themselves in, and Halien interrogated her. He learned that in the forest, there was an abandoned Majak lab that her husband had found, and lately he had not come back from it. Meanwhile, Parolles and Priscus searched the house. They found a ring, which Priscus discovered was magical, and helped one in searching. The woman demanded the ring back, telling them that her husband had made it for her. However, she was ignored, and Halien told her that it was advance payment for finding her husband.

The next morning, the group left for the building. Even with the woman’s vague directions, they discovered it fairly easily. Halien found a magical trap near the entrance, and with some trouble they managed to enter.

In the first room of the lab, there were two doors. The one to the left had been opened, and the lock was discarded by it. The one to the right was still locked. At first, the group chose the unlocked one. They wandered into a room filled with long tables and discarded alchemical supplies. Outside of their light, creatures moved in the shadows. After searching for potions that were still functional, they moved on to the next room.

Here, Magnus threw his sword, lit with magic, to the end of the hallway. However, halfway through its trajectory, it stopped, turned around, and came flying back at him. From there, Parolles and Veren were grabbed by a malevolent force and flung across the room, outside of the light. The shadows that had demanded their souls before came to Veren and drained him of his strength, while Parolles was able to run away. Priscus lit up the room with a fire spell, and the group fought off the shadow creatures. However, Veren was drained. They determined it best to leave the area and come back when he was recovered.

Five days later, they returned to the complex and found that the trap had been reset. After disabling it, they took the other door, and walked into another room filled with abandoned alchemical supplies. Other than two eye-spaced holes, nothing was a threat here. However, in the next room they discovered a Haunting Trap that made them become extremely depressed and hopeless. Here, a giant skeleton-like creature, identified as a Boneclaw, emerged and attempted to kill them. Thankfully, it was fought off fairly easily, and the group moved on to the next room.

It is worth noting that they discovered something of interest in this place. In a room roughly in the center of the complex, holding tanks containing enormous numbers of perfectly preserved dead bodies were still maintained. We do not know what kind of technology Majakians had. However, it is disturbing how they used it.

Finally, the group moved on to the final room, where they faced the sorcerer who had left the village. However, they also witnessed something surprising: near the end of the room was a disturbing golden idol. The sorcerer, who was deteriorated mentally and physically, seemed to hold some kind of fascination for it.

After trying to talk him down, and making him drop his guard, Halien fired two arrows. He was injured, and the battle began. The sorcerer started by summoning an undead abomination, and made it distract the group while he defended himself. His fatal error, however, was that his shield could not defend against the magic weapons of the Slayers, and he was defeated. After a discussion over whether he would be spared, Magnus killed him.

The group then discussed what should be done with the idol. At first, Magnus beat it with a small tree he had carried into the building. However, it showed no sign of damage. Somehow, it was established that the best idea was to tie a rope around it (without touching it) and pull it off of the ledge it was perched on. However, after falling twenty three feet, it showed no signs of damage. The Slayers dragged it back to The Citadel on a rope, and presented it to a High Priest, who told them that their best option was to place it in the research division and leave it there for now.

Recently, I have seen it, and the very image of it haunts me. Perhaps I am not in any position to recommend actions taken, but I believe that we are dealing with things best left alone here. Given what the idol did to that sorcerer, and its indestructible nature, I believe that it should be locked up and abandoned, never allowed to see the light of day.

Though I doubt anyone will listen.

-High Priest, Novy Poradie.

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Ninth Mission
The Slayer Rebellion

On December 10th I brought The Slayers to my office for what I thought would be a simple mission. In the orc attack a month and a half prior, the group of Slayers from Coldrock had not returned. Naturally, the conclusion the Citadel drew was that the Slayers and the town had been killed. It was agreed that I would send a group of Slayers to Coldrock to recover The Slayers (or their bodies) and discover what, exactly, had befallen the town.

Of course, it is rarely so simple.

The first opposition was the weather. In a series of fierce snowstorms, twenty feet of snow had piled up on the ground. Rivers were frozen over and covered. The taiga forest surrounding The Citadel had turned into an elevated plane of ice. The snow had been shoveled out of the way of the gate, thankfully. However, the Slayers had to endure trudging across the ice. Thankfully, the snow was packed enough by this point that it was passable. However, it turned what would normally be a day trip into an almost two-day one. Overnight, it snowed heavily, and the group was attacked by Ghasts. In the scuffle, their tents were destroyed, and several of them were almost killed.

Thankfully, they reached Coldrock with no other problems, though once they did, late the next day, they saw a man dressed in armor too well-made to be a Slabí. When the group entered the town, they were shocked to find that the group of Slayers they were searching for was still alive and well. Not only that, but they had chosen to stay here. Jacobin, the leader, had ruled that it was more important for the group to stay at Coldrock and defend the villagers from any further threats, against the Citadel’s orders. The motivation seemed to be a desire to protect the Slabí, rather than kill the monsters.

I am often demeaned for being an idealist, and even I will admit that this is foolish. The group’s heart may have been in the right place, but their tactical methodology was foolish at best. How are we ever supposed to control groups of Slayers who are spread out across dozens of villages with no real home base? How are we even supposed to know whether they succeed or fail? Our control over Slayers is already loose, but we cannot have it that loose.

This is where argument broke out. Through force of persuasion, my group of Slayers tried to negotiate with the other group. They were shrewd and aggressive, and forced Jacobin to agree that he would come back with them. Though there was always something evasive in him. Edreck, another member of the group, seemed to understand that they needed to return, while the wizard Minata greatly opposed it, perhaps due to her Slabí heritage, greatly opposed it. In negotiations, It was mentioned that the group did not know how Dragan, the Cleric (who was not present) would take it. He was supposedly their most extreme member when it came to protecting the Slabí.

However, when it was brought up that they should leave now, the other group of Slayers pointed out that there was a Cave Troll nearby that they could not fight off.

This is another example of their flawed method. A regular-sized group of novice Slayers cannot handle a Cave Troll. If my group had not shown up, there would have been nothing they could have done.

It was agreed that they would attempt to kill the Troll in the morning, with double the number of Slayers, it would be possible.

Supposedly, in the night, Zherro, the warlock, conveyed that he was not on the side of Jacobin’s treacherous group, and that he had feigned loyalty to them so as not to put himself in danger.

The next morning, the group entered the Cave Troll’s lair. They faced off against the monster, and defeated it with only one casualty. It was, of course, extremely powerful. However, through sheer numbers, they managed to defeat it while only suffering one casualty, the half-orc barbarian Grob.

After the cave Troll was slain, its cave was searched and treasure was found. This treasure, however, was not shared between the two groups of Slayers. My group hogged it all to themselves. Of course I am not proud of this, but I hold no allusions about the nobility of Slayers.

From here, the group chose to return. Dragan, apparently, disappeared in the night. His group spent a solid amount of time searching for him, but from there they gave up and decided to come back to The Citadel.

As I am writing this now, the trial for the actions of the Slayers has passed. Jacobin has had his Slayer status removed, Zherro and Edreck have been suspended from duty for six months, and Minata has been sentenced to death for seducing her leader in order to compromise his judgement.

Sometimes, I am not sure if The Citadel is right or wrong. However, in issues like this I tend to side with it more than one would think. It is unfortunate that it had to end this way. Executing Slayers is never an event to be cherished, and always tempts one to ask the question of whether we are wasting especially precious human resources. However, it is to make an example, and to promote better behavior on all fronts.

Minata and Jacobin’s relationship also brings forth another question: What should be done with the Slayer in love? Short term, love and sexuality are things that The Citadel scoffs at. They are distractions that break discipline, and are dangerous to our structure. However, sexuality, at least, is necessary for reproduction. Relationships in The Citadel usually result in quick marriages, and almost immediate pregnancy. However, Slayers are taught to stay away from anything that would distract them too much from their duties. Long-term, reproduction is, of course, necessary. So I cannot help but wonder concerning this: how are we to treat it?

Perhaps that is a question to be answered later. For now, I applaud the flexibility of my group, and while there will be some adjustments to it due to Parolles returning to the scouts, and Priscus to the crafters, I hope that it continues to remain as solid and formidable as it was.

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First Mission (10)
The Curse of Magic

Perhaps I should start my log by recalling the unsettling events several weeks ago.

On December 15th, an elven slayer attempted to assassinate the High Priest, Novy Poradie. Novy was severely injured, but was saved just in time. Meanwhile, the slayer was brutally stabbed to death. His name has been posthumously removed from the list of slayers, and I am not allowed to write it here. He will be forgotten as he should, and all who know of him will remember him only by his dishonor.

In light of the majority of the members of Novy’s former group either being dead or no longer among the slayers, it was disbanded. I have been assigned two of its remnants, Ulfgar the dwarf and the gigantic Magnus. Ulfgar was not required for this mission, but I will deploy him when he is needed.

In addition to Magnus and Ulfgar, our new Slayers were [[Julius]], a stealth specialist who I have not noticed amongst the Slayers until now, Cosette, an elven wizard…with the strange lack of empathy that we have found to befit elves, [[Jorge]], a half-elven Cleric of Žart, and Kridon, an agile fighter.

Naturally, the number of nonhumans in the group concerns me, but as for now it has not led to any direct harm.

The group’s mission was to travel to Waterbreak, a settlement of Slabí on the edge of the southern lake. Apparently their journey was long, and mostly dull. Other than running into a stray snowdancing fey who made them temporarily lose their way, they moved briskly along. Perhaps slower than I would have liked, but they reached the area in time nonetheless.

Once they reached the village, they spoke to the man in charge. He did not know of the orc attacks, and was horrified by the Slayers’ message that they would be coming. The Slayers made a defense plan, setting up a wooden fiery brazier near the end of the village, and attempting to dig a tunnel in the snow for the women and children to hide in. The first plan worked, the second plan was limited by the packed nature of the snow.

Meanwhile, Julius asked the village leader if he had known anyone who had magic in the village. The leader informed him that he did not, and he was glad he did not. When he had been a child, a relative of his had been killed by the village, who hated and feared her, when it was discovered that she had magic.

That night, the orcs attacked. They used a spell of darkness to help them invade, but were ultimately, and fairly easily, undone by the Slayers. In the midst of the conflict, however, the village leader’s daughter came out from her hut, and shot an extremely powerful spell at one of the orcs, killing it instantly. Now physically exhausted, she passed out.

The group brought the unconscious girl to her father, and after a debate amongst themselves decided that they would take her back to The Citadel. Every Slayer except for Kridon agreed that this was the right course of action.

The girl’s father, naturally, did not approve. He got into a heated argument with the Slayers, but there was nothing he could do, and they used the evidence that he himself had given them: the last mage in this village had been killed. It was only a matter of time until the villagers discovered and killed the girl. The father reluctantly said goodbye…and spoke some strange words to his daughter. Jorge went back inside and questioned the father on what those words may have been. He tried to negotiate, and even barter, but the man would not give him the information. Eventually, he just let it go, and the group left, returning to The Citadel.

Kridon, it seems, formed some kind of friendship with the girl on his way back to The Citadel. I have heard that he was greatly troubled by her recent, unfortunate disappearance. In closing, I can only say that we needed more mages, and I cannot help but wonder what happened to that girl.

High Priest, Czislo Amerie

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