As the Phoenix from the Ashes

Dear Journal,

Today marks the two-year anniversary of our victory over Captain Krogan. I still remember that final battle; it haunts me still to this day. After we escaped from that horrid prison on Buck’s pirate ship, we journeyed to the Island of the Crystals. There, we removed the curse of the Soulsword from Buck and Belarin was more than happy to take up the charge. Blade in hand, we set out to put a stop to the pending doom that we unknowingly brought to all of Ferramorrah, killing the four ghosts we released and filling the Soulsword. The last ghost was particularly gruesome, I recall, and we almost lost Peregrine in the fight, but we were victorious all the same. We had never felt so close, so connected. Buck, Peregrine, Belarin, Borris, and I, a group set out to change the world, we were invincible.

It wasn’t until we returned to our ship that we realized the apocalypse was still coming; the clouds of doom almost enveloped Lavanda. We had failed. The seas began to roar and churn, the wind howling through the ears of men, women, and children alike. Upon returning to Lavanda, we were surprised to find a fleet of ships, both Lavandan and Bishkan, awaiting our arrival. If we were to go down, we were to go down fighting. The joint fleet of Lavanda and Bishk, such an alliance not seen in neigh a millennia, assembled north of the Lavandan capital. And there we stood. On the edge of sanity and light, me, Buck, Peregrine, Borris, and Belarin, standing shoulder to shoulder, weapons drawn, a sense of doom creeping up our spines and that strange exhilaration battle brings. There we stood; well knowing this could be the end of us all. We needed not any words, for we all knew what was at stake.

Then, the battle began. Demon after demon, ghoul after ghoul, body after body, we fought our way into the heart of the storm. Time seemed to stand still as we worked our way through wave after wave of monstrosity, friend and foe falling at all sides. There, in the eye of the storm, as our ships entwined in the midst of a great whirlpool, we confronted none other than Krogan himself. We started this war, and we were going to end it, no matter the cost. It was a bitter battle, and in the midst of the fighting, we all watched in horror as Krogan struck down Borris. His body fell limp, lifeless in front of me, and I got one last chance to see the life fading from his eyes as his body fell into the raging waters. We didn’t even get a chance to give our friend and ally a proper burial. Filled with renewed vigor and a reawakened strength, we took our revenge on Krogan. Belarin struck him through his black heart with the Soulstealer, and with one last vengeful wail, Krogan’s soul and essence returned to the blade, and the Soulstealer shattered in Belarin’s hand.

The fighting was over, Krogan was defeated, Ferramorrah was saved, but at what cost?

After the battle, everyone seemed so numbed and so shaken, that the group slowly began to drift apart. First to leave was Buck, who decided to remain in Lavanda and continue his fallen comrade Jackson’s memory. I’ve tried keeping in touch with Buck, but I fear he’s becoming more distant and more withdrawn. He’s been writing less and less, and I fear the man who I once counted as my closest friend is lost forever.

When we returned to Gootham, we found that Mersh had vanished without a trace, leaving a note making it clear that he did not want to be found. I know not what transpired while we were across the sea, but whatever happened, it was enough to drive Mersh away as well. I have searched across the land for my old friend, but to no avail. For the time being, Mersh wants to remain missing, and I have no choice but to abide by his wishes.

Next to leave was Belarin, whom without his sovereign, Buck, to whom he swore fealty, left the group shortly after returning to Ashan. I’ve kept tabs on Belarin, and it seems he’s made some success as a sword-for-hire in northern Ashan. He seems more confident since we parted ways, and I hope he hasn’t become too invested in his mercenary business to ignore my call.

Finally, Peregrine was the last to leave my company. We traveled together for a few weeks. We were both still recovering from the aftermath of the battle, and Peregrine was more solemn than I ever care to see him again. He eventually left when we encountered Bonnie near Nailo Harbour. We still keep in touch, and I go down to visit him at his cottage home in western Ashan. He tells me his new home reminds him of the Shire, and he plans on settling down there with Bonnie. Last I checked he had a son with Bonnie, Baldor, who I have yet to meet, and is making a living growing copious amounts of longbottom leaf.

As for me, I’ve spent the last couple years wandering about Ashan, and I fear something evil is once again on the horizon. A shadow creeps across the southern borders, and I can’t help but ignore a feeling of dread creeping into the edge of my mind. The assassin that has long-since haunted my dreams is still on the lookout for me, and I fear that his employer is growing more and more restless. Until recently, I had been staying in Gootham, trying to unravel the mystery of his motives. One night, as I was returning from Artemis’s office, I was pursued by a group of dretch, degenerate demons who were clearly serving whim of some higher master. Fearing the worst, I retaliated, and went into hiding in the city sewers for fear of being exposed.

It wasn’t long after that night in Goothum that Artemis contacted me. He told me of a pub in Almernae where I could find sanctuary. He said in his letter that an old friend of mine was helping run the pub, and it turned out to be none other than Teresa.

It turns out Teresa is helping her new friend, Kiana Alan, run the pub after her father’s death at the hands of Alexis Machine. The moment I entered the pub, it all came back to me. Machine’s cruel sneer, his merciless eyes, and the lifeless body of her father bleeding out on the table… I can’t bring myself to tell her I know of her father’s death, not yet, not until Machine is dead and buried. Teresa and Kiana have sheltered me for the past 6 weeks, and only now do we finally have a lead on the whereabouts of Alexis Machine. It’s not much to go on, but Artemis was contacted by an anonymous informant who stays that he has information on the assassin. I feel that I have no other alternative but to call my old friends and reunite The Tiki Company. Together, we may have a chance to solve this puzzle.

“And, as the phoenixes of lore,
Rising from the ashes anew,
Their friendship shall be rekindled,
The Staunch Dragonborn,
The Stoneminded halfling,
The Silver-tongued maiden,
The Heirslayer,
And the Wandering Wizard,
They will rise once more
To defend this world from the evil that plagues it”
-Kluya, Seer of All, “Chronicles of the Blue Leaf Clan”

If you’re wondering why I’ve waited until now to start writing, it is because I can feel that my time is running out, and this may be my last chance to chronicle the adventures of what is left of The Tiki Company. I can only hope that my friends will hear my call and answer before it is too late…

—Tibles

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