Thoma Vidaggio, also known as Don Debeo, left this to aid us in our fight against the Undead. He was recently freed and returned to his living state, living happily married to Marina.
DIARY of Don Deb`eo, as copied by Sinai. All attempts have been made to keep this as accurate to the original as possible, including spelling mistakes. I have added my own notes where necessary for clarification. The original diary is a brown, leather-bound book with knot work designs on the cover.
We had been at sea for 3 weeks. The weather has made it seem much longer though. Despite the rough conditions, the crew has remained in good spirits. They are focused on the fortunes that we are owed for this delivery. Once the sale of these spices is complete we will be able to relax for a while.
Marina is not faring as well. She has spent much of the trip seasick. I have been trying to find the right moment to ask her, but I want it to be special and she always appears so miserable. Perhaps the weather will break soon and the seas will calm.
Captain Thoma Vidaggio
The sun broke through the clouds today. With the winds at our back we made up a lot of time today. I figure we should reach the bay in another day or two. A small scuffle broke out between two of the men. No one was badly injured and they soon went back to drinking together. Marina is starting to feel better. I have told the cook to prepare a special meal for us tomorrow evening. Whe the moment is right I will ask her.
Captain Thoma Vidaggio
We are making about six knots and should be able to see the coast soon. We spotted another merchant vessel a few hundred yards off, headed back east. A much larger ship than the Tempest, but certainly nowhere near as fast. They showed a flag of truce as did we, and went on without incident.
Marina is up and about. I have laid out a beautiful new dress for her to wear at dinner. The cook has said that dinner shall be exquisite. He has been saving a special ham, and I have a bottle of my very own Burning Berry Wine. I am excited and nervous at the same time. My hands have begun to sweat and I can hardly hold the quill. May I die a thousand deaths if she says no.
Captain Thoma Vidaggio
March 21 second entry
She said yes! Dinner went well and after a third glass of wine, I took the small box from my pocket. When I opened it, the ring seemed to glow as it sparkled under the candlelight in the cabin. She looked dazed, all wide-eyed and awed. As I took a knee, she clutched her chest. I said, “Marina, will you marry me?” Marina squealed as she lunged toward me. The force of her kisses knocked me off of my knee and both of us to the ground. She just kept saying yes as she kissed me. At that moment she shined brighter than the ring. The sound of my heart thudded through my chest.
After a while, I escorted her back to her cabin. I kissed her again and told her that nothing shall stand in the way of our love. Once this trip is over we can plan our wedding back home. I know that she will start planning tonight however. I wrote this down in case I woke up later thinking it all a dream.
Captain Thoma Vidaggio
The crew has already heard of my engagement to Marina. They make remarks like schoolgirls, but I allow them these quips at my expense. Nothing could spoil my mood. Land was sighted at first light, we are about 2 miles off the coast and should make the river mouth within another day. Marina is all a glow, despite a little queasiness she continues to dance and twirl around the ship’s deck. She sings little songs and continues to braid her hair. She smiles and giggles at me, occasionally flashing the ring to see.
Captain Thoma Vidaggio
We have reached the mouth of the river and dropped anchor. We will start up it at first light when the tide is higher. The river is fairly wide, with enough room for two ships to pass. It should take us three days to reach our destination. We will likely remain ashore for a days time, just to stretch our legs, but then we will return to sea to head home.
Captain Thoma Vidaggio
We have begun our journey up the river. The land around us seems to be strangely quiet and the air smells stale. The mood on the boat would have darkened had it not been for Marina. She continues to sing for the men, her voice echoing over the hills around us. Other than her echo, the land seems hushed and still. Fidel tried to fish from the stern in hopes of catching some trout. Either through skill or good fortune, Fidel usually manages to catch something, but not today.
Captain Thoma Vidaggio
The light of day could not have come soon enough. Shortly after yesterday’s entry, the sun began to set. The sun seemed to fall away from the sky. A cold breeze whistled through the trees as if heralding the coming of something foul. As full dark fell, we began to see men slowly moving towards the banks of the river. As they drew nearer we could see that they were no longer men, but corpses animated by dark magic. As the undead shambled towards the ship, the crew readied catapults, swords, bows, crossbows and any other weapons they could find. I locked Marina away in her cabin and barricaded the door. The first few undead who reached the river began wading towards the ship, but they were unable to keep their footing and the fast moving current washed them downstream. Some of the men began firing arrows into the mob with deadly accuracy, but the losses did not appear to diminish their numbers. Discerning that they could not reach us through the water, they simply lined the riverbank. For miles we sailed on, passing a continuous line of undead of various shapes and sizes. Several sets of glowing eyes floated through the horde. We had considered turning around, but once we determined that they could not reach us through the water, and reminded ourselves of the amount of money to be made from this sale, we continued north, up the river. Shortly before dawn the undead withdrew, so I freed Marina from her cabin. The men have broken out the oars and are doing everything possible to speed us along. I can only hope that our destination has not succumbed to this siege.
Captain Thoma Vidaggio
Note: All the entries in red were penned in blood of unknown origin. ~Sinai
Finally this day I can recap the sorrows that befell my crew, my beloved Marina and myself. As the sun began to fade we crept into our second night on the river. At this time the strange wind began to blow again. We looked to the shore to see the undead coming, but they did not appear. We rejoiced for a moment thinking we had sailed past them. Then a green fog rolled down the river. Just behind the fog was a tall ship on the water heading south. Shimmering in a faint and eerie glow, the skull and crossbones billowed from its mast. Again the men readied the weapons and prepared to repel pirate boarders. As the ship drew nearer we could see the ship just seem to glide on top of the water and pairs of glowing eyes canvassed its deck. My crew let loose the catapults and arrows. What should have been direct hits, harmlessly passed through the ship, landing in the river whit a splash. With the ship closing fast and nowhere to run, I spun the wheel towards the riverbanks, running the Tempest aground. We grabbed what gear we could and took to the land in hopes of outrunning them on foot.
Within seconds we found ourselves surrounded. A macabre assortment of creatures were crawling from the earth and shambling towards us. The crew pulled together and drew their swords. I held Marina close by my side. I told her, “This will not be our end, you and I have a destiny together. This shall not stand in the way of our love.” The undead continued to creep towards us.
I lifted my sword to the sky and said “Crew of the Tempest! Strong and True, Fight to the last!” With that, I let loose a battle cry which was echoed by the crew. We charged the wall of undead before us. Swords fell upon wave after wave of undead, but slowly the crew was falling. We continued to push ahead with Marina close on my heels. As my crew fell they rose again as slaves to the dark magic. There was a tremor in my hand as I ran through Fidel in his new form.
The din of battle began to slow and fade until my sword was the only one ringing out against the undead. I reached back to feel for Marina, but she was not there. I screamed for her, but heard no reply. I spun around and saw that I was still surrounded. Knowing that I would never make it through the horde of undead, I knelt, determined not to die by their hands. I lifted my sword to my heart, saying, “Marina, I have failed you, I’m sorry”. I took a final breath and tightened my grip on the sword, but a black hand seized my own.
“I have greater things planned for you” a voice said. He pulled the sword from my hand with ease. “Just kill me, do not turn me to one of your zombies,” I demanded. He smiled and said “As I said, I have greater things planned for you. You shall serve me far better than these petty beings.”
I stood. Raising my eyes to his shimmering crown and glowing eyes, I bellowed, “I am Captain Thoma Vidaggio and I serve no man or beast”. “You will serve me,” he said as he moved to show Marina tottering behind him. With a pale and woeful face she appeared to look through me. My heart sank. “Marina, forgive me”, I cried as a tear slid down my face.
I turned toward the creature. “Release her and set her right and I shall serve you,” I pleaded. “She cannot fight and will make for a poor minion”.
The creature appeared to ponder the offer momentarily. He nodded and said “you are right she will not fight well in battle, she will not lift a sword in my name”.
Assuming we had reached an agreement I again knelt. “You were impressive in the battle, I shall transform you into something more befitting your abilities” said the creature. With that he placed his twisted hand upon me and uttered some words which were unfamiliar to me. I felt nothing. I felt no pain as I saw the flesh slide away from my skull. I could hear my cheek and ear land upon my boot. I stood again and as I did I could feel tremendous power coursing through my body. He said, “You are now bound to me. I shall name you in the old language, Don Deb`eo”.
“I have kept my end, now release her!” I said. He laughed. “I said that she would not lift a sword in my name, I did not say that I would free her. Truly, did you think I needed your permission for what I have done?”
“I have heard her sing for you aboard your ship, now she will sing for me”. In the same manner as he had done to me, he put his hand upon her and recited a few words. At that moment Marina’s eyes focused. She too had been elevated above the zombie-like state. She looked at her hands, touched her face and then peered at me. Her eyes grew wide. “Thoma!?” and then she screamed. Her scream pierced the night air, echoing for miles. She continued to scream and wail as she was shuffled off by other minions.
The creature with the glowing crown looked at me and then commanded “I have taken that which you hold most dear, now you must do the same for me. Find my enemies and take that which they hold most dear. Go and prepare for them, they draw near”. He then pointed to the north and said, “return when you have something for me”. With that he began to fade away until he was gone. The green mist rolled over the land and seemed to sweep away the undead. Within minutes I found myself alone.
I returned to the wrecked Tempest. I brought one of the rolling carts down from the deck. I proceeded to load it with my lab, a few tools, the spices that were to be delivered and this journal. Despite the tremendous weight of everything, I moved them with relative ease. Rolling the cart along I made my way to the north until I found a cave to call home.
In the days that followed, I could not help but think of Marina. I spent my nights skulking through the woods, compelled to follow the command given to me by my Master. I would frequently come across his other lesser minions, who gave way and seemed to obey my commands unless they conflicted with my Master’s. I spent my days working with my lab. In addition to the recipes I was already familiar with I have been able to devise some new poisons. I have been experimenting with the spices I brought as well as the plants in the area. I have tested my new poisons on the few living creatures that I have found.
I have robbed some of the rat people of their food, and some barbarians of their trinkets and weapons. I dislike wronging these folk, but I am compelled to seek them out and take what they hold most dear. At one point I had encountered a rat-person woman. She said that of all the things she held her husband most dear. It pained me so, but I killed him in his sleep. I could only hope that his passing was painless. I hope that his spirit was strong enough to return to her. I hope that my spirit is strong enough to return to Marina.
Despite my talent with alchemy, one of my experiments backfired today. I was mixing some of the spices in with the few remaining curative elixirs I had on hand to see the result. One spice in particular is called Elegan Ivy. Elegan Ivy is a leafy vine that continues to slowly grow even after being cut. Elegan Ivy will attempt to re-root itself unless burned. The growth properties of the ivy, when mixed with the curative elixir and other reagents, had a stunning effect. When I combined them a cloud of gas flew from the vial and burned my skull. I quickly recovered, but after another very painful test I discovered that I had indeed found a concoction that would harm undead. I have decided that this must remain my secret for now.
I delivered the items I have stolen thus far to my Master. He summoned me to his keep where I saw ghastly creatures of all types. There were several variations of undead that served as lieutenants, scurrying about carrying out orders. I was shown the way to the armory, where I left the weapons. Along the way, I peered into a large room to see an enormous undead of great stature sitting upon a throne. It was not the creature that created me, for there was no glowing crown. He was clearly in command of the undead there, so perhaps my Master answers to him. I stayed hidden so that he would not see me for I feared that he too might hold sway over me.
One of the lieutenants directed me to the tower, where I found my Master, with his glowing crown. He told me that I had done well, but greater forces were upon us and that I would need to step up my efforts, for adventurers from the north were approaching. He said that he had already routed one scouting party, claiming several of the people for the forces of undead.
I asked his name and he said, “you may call me Ma…Master, you may call me simply Master”.
He escorted me throughout the keep, which had been heavily fortified. At one point we entered a sort of laboratory. He appeared to be working on creating new and horrible types of undead. On one shelf I saw a series of bottles. They were clearly marked, but they did not hold ingredients. I could not read them all, but I was able to distinctly make out a few, one in particular read “Don Deb`eo” another “Marina”. I tried to hide my anger. When he had changed us to these forms he had bottled our spirits. So long as he had the bottles we would never be freed.
After a few minutes more, he sent me on my way, admonishing me to be careful. He said that the adventurers that were coming would be more powerful than those I had seen so far. Before I turned to leave he said, “Your orders remain the same, take that which they hold most dear”. “You will create fear in their hearts, while my other undead drive them back or into submission”.
I returned to the cave and began to think.
I have been preparing for the adventurers. My cave is now heavily trapped, and I have been preparing a multitude of gasses for them. Against my better judgment, I have continued to carefully make more of the “Harm undead gas” in case I ever have a need for it. At one point I returned to the village of the rat people at night. I was despondent to see that the woman’s husband’s spirit had not been strong enough to return to her. I left a note of apology and a number of the harm undead gasses. The note instructed them to use the vials if more of my kind ever approached. I did not approach them for fear that the commands would overtake me and compel me to take even more from this poor woman.
I have continued to search for Marina at night, but to no avail. The days seem like weeks. I used to think I wanted to live forever with Marina, but now I know that forever is a long time. Now I should simply prefer that we grow old together. The days pass so slowly with no need of sleep or food or wine. I have managed to fill the time with alchemical experiments and my wine making. I hope that one day soon I shall again share a glass of burning Berry with sweet Marina.
The adventurers have arrived. They came by boat and overtook the post at keljin. My Master was furious. He sent wave after wave of undead to repel the invaders. Clearly he had underestimated their ability. That is unfortunate for the adventurers, for he will not make the same mistake again. Soon he will let loose many more undead far more wicked than those they have seen (me, for example). He has commanded that tonight I am to find them and begin my assault.
I shall do as commanded, but have another plan as well. Perhaps I can get a message to these adventurers. Although I must obey my orders, they may be able to help me find Marina.
I have prepared a note in my native writing. By chance they may be able to understand its meaning. I cannot cause harm to my master, but if Marina and I are to be free I will need their help. I hope that they will forgive me for my actions.
I watched as four of them moved to a cabin. I crept over and waited outside for them to leave. The door opened and one stepped out. I pelted him with vials of paralysis gas. Had he not be stricken with rigor his eyes might have looked as big as those of the other three. They reached for their comrade, but withdrew as vials flew in their direction. I began to carry off the petrified comrade. As I meandered off with him, the others began to pursue me. Since I did not desire to be followed all evening, I turned to address them. Two fo them held in their tracks but the third continued to move closer. His shield made for a nice target. After a quick skirmish and a few vials, he found himself rather agreeable. His friends called to him from off in the distance. They called him “Wolf”. I asked Wolf what it was that he held most dear, but he had never considered it in that fashion. I rephrased my question, asking what he would be the saddest to lose, and he indicated his sword. His friends continued to beckon to him and were drawing nearer. A few more vials and he was down. I grabbed the sword, and turned to leave. At that moment I remembered the note, I shoved the note in the back of his pants. I feared that the others might not find his body in the darkness and I did not want him to die, so I flung his body up the hill for them to find. I made my way into the woods.I was going to creep back to the cave when I saw that my Master’s glowing crown in the distance. He had cast a circle upon their field and bade me enter it. I presented him with Wolf’s sword. My Master was quite irate, as the undead officer that had been charged with guarding the outpost had failed not once, but twice. My master shattered his spirit bottle and commanded that he return to the battle once more. He fell again.
Despite my Master’s foul mood, I asked that he release me from my bond since I had already stolen many items for him. He said that my task was only just beginning, and that I would steal many more things. Unable to do otherwise, I bowed as he whisked me away to the Keep in a shroud of green mist.
The soldiers have continued to fortify Keljin. Wisely, they travel in large groups. While I am well aware of my abilities I do not prefer to attack groups of that size. I could quite possibly handle several of them through sheer force, but that is not my nature, and besides, my commands are to steal, not to slaughter.
I wonder if Wolf was able to make sense of my note. I still have not heard from or seen Marina. I hope that she is safe wherever she may be.
I had a brief moment of joy last night. There were four of them, all Dark Elves, foolish enough to follow me into the woods. My initial instinct was to make quick work of them, but they managed to stay my hand for a while as we chatted. It was so nice to just sit and talk. I hadn’t had a real conversation since that final night with Marina. We talked for a while until I could no longer hold my Master’s imperative at bay. A few vials and the one called Carak fell to the ground. I was disheartened to see that his friends fled so quickly. As I had been unable to discover what Carak would miss the most, I took his bow. I had seen the adventurers fight earlier in the evening and had witnessed his proficiency with it.
I had written a note, longer than the first, which I tucked under his belt. I hoped that they would be able to understand my request and hopes. Carak had spoken well and again, I did not want him to die. I threw his body back onto the field so that his friends might save him. He seemed like a good person…someone I might have called friend before my transformation. I hope that we can speak again.
I’m not certain whether they have made sense of my note, but I wonder if it matters. How can they free Marina if she is nowhere about? I search night after night to no avail. I dare not mention her to my master.
I continue to think about the shelf of bottles in my Master’s keep.
I’ve found it! After scouring the countryside, from wrecked barbarian villages to rat villages, and even some orc camps to the far east; I have found a bottle greatly resembling the red one that bears my name in the keep. I have not been able to find one in purple like Marina’s.
If given a proper diversion I might be able to steal the bottle bearing my name and replace it with this one. It will definitely take some planning before I try it.
I’m not sure what to do with it, as magics of that nature are beyond my comprehension. Perhaps the adventurers would know how I could be freed? If I could only get that bottle.
Invariably I will need the help of these adventurers. Despite my previous notes, they are not likely to trust me given my actions to date. I will need to extend an offering of great importance if I am to form an alliance, for despite my offering I will still be bound to the commands. How can they trust someone who continues to do them harm?
After much consideration I have decided to share the recipe for the Harm Undead Gas. I know that I take a terrible risk in giving them this knowledge, for they might choose to use it against me. Hopefully this show of faith will earn their trust. It is unlikely that they could make a tremendous amount of HUG since the Elegan Ivy does not grow well in this climate and is therefore hard to find. I shall give them the formula and a few leaves to test it with; I’m sure that they are resourceful enough to acquire more.
I have decided the best way to share the recipe is to share my story. As such I am leaving them this very diary.
To whoever finds this, please know that our alliance must be kept in the strictest of secrecy. Should my Master find out that I have betrayed him, he will destroy both Marina and myself. Please take this recipe as a gesture of good faith and, hopefully, mutual trust.
Harm Undead Gas
1 (strange symbols here) Note: In alchemy shorthand, this translates to “cure light elixir” ~Sinai
2 Crushed Elegan Ivy leaves
1 part water
Shake well to activate
I should ask that after you make use of this diary, that you find a way to return it to me for it contains some memories that I should not like to forget.
And above all else, find her and free her.
Wolf, I’m sorry about your sword. All I know of your sword is that the master found it very fascinating. I do not know what he has done with it.
Carak, I enjoyed talking with you. I’m sorry that I had to cause you harm, but after reading this; I hope you understand. Your bow was given to a Skeletal Champion who is quite skilled with it. I fear that you will see it again.