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Journals of Ayoi: Part 3, The Hunter

Mordun 24: 12887

Finally after much preparation the day came today to attempt to purge Al-Rathis of his evil. We built a magical cabin out in the woods for this purpose and began our work as soon as Al was inside.
    I spent yesterday down in the bowels of the Temple of Bone by myself searching for artifacts of the demon-spirit Aoran. The exorcist had earlier informed me that items belonging to the spirit in life would be helpful in making the ritual successful. And thus on the day previously past I retrieved the body of Aoran and several of his belongings. In addition to these I came across two books. The first seems to be his personal biography and I will read this later. The contents of the second are unknown for when I attempted to open it some sort of effect was released and I was forced to flee the room without it.
    When Al entered the hut he seemed on edge. Though not particularly bright, his instincts were good. Only quick action kept the plan together. First Elena cast a force cage around him, trapping him inside. While the exorcist and priest were being summoned I finally communicated with Minaret, Al's resident fairy, and told her to escape at her earliest convenience. I was glad to finally be within communication range of her as I would hate to see something bad happen to her because of the predicament of Al. We have had many good talks and I enjoy her company as it reminds me of my time in her lands.
    Al drank a potion of invisibility in some vain attempt to protect himself but Minaret then did us a good turn and lit him up like a fire. A magic circle against evil focused inward was drawn around the force cage and a dimensional anchor was placed upon it. Protection from evil was given to everyone involved.
    Dean Praedariot then began the exorcism with the help of my helm to allow him to communicate through the force cage. Multiple chants and effects now active, and everyone simply readied for the demon spirit to be gone, the ritual went on. After several minutes it finally finished with what can only be described as the demon being pulled or ripped from Al.
    Finally the two were separated. In the next instant everyone jumped into action. The cage came down, allowing access to Al. Sasha, now some sort of vine, attempted to grab him, but failed. Al instantly rushed forward to grab Elena. He continued to knock her around while half the party shifted focus to work on banishing the demon.
    Finally proclaiming, "I banish you, fiend, and send you back to the hells from which you came!" the exorcist finished his work and sent the demon away. Our biggest challenge down, we then did our best to convince Al-Rathis of the truth of the last few days. Unconvinced, he wandered off into the woods to think as best as Al-Rathis ever could.
    About an hour later Al-Rathis returned, having decided to trust his friends. We talked long into the night and decided to attempt to seal the temple as best we could. Destroying the pillars of bone which were calling people from all around with their unholy fire was not possible. When hacked down they simply grew back. Instead we decided to bury the entire hill under mounds of dirt, stone, and wood. The lyre of building, which we had found in some previous adventure, provided a way to perform this act. Within a single day, I was able to cover the entire clearing with the exception of the bone columns under perhaps four feet of earth. The rest of the party seemed less than enthusiastic about this and saw fit to leave to pursue their own works. I estimate that it will take me another complete day to finish the job and bury (and reinforce) the bone structures.

Ilyun 1: 12887

The events surrounding Ilyun the first as time here is kept, left me quite fatigued and thus I am writing this journal some time later. The previous night as I recall one of the minions of Titalus came in an attempt to excavate the ruins of the Temple of Bone. He was convinced to leave prematurely, however he would of course, be back. And so on the day of the first we journeyed to the Temple of Bone one last time.
    Our purpose this time was to be to observe this creature when he came and see if indeed it was his intention of raise the sleeping demon that lay there. We had but positioned ourselves a short time however, when the skeletons of long dead humans, which we had broken to pieces time and again in that place came marching up from their resting place to dig out the temple from the inside. This filled me with a sense of grief that I still carry with me. If these creatures could not be destroyed they would dig this temple out no matter how many times we buried it. This left us with little choice but to raise the evil that slept in the temple and attempt to slay it ourselves. I only hope that the Goddess can forgive my part in that act.
    My memory is a bit unclear of what transpired next but as I recall the creature whom had been scared off the previous night returned about that time. We returned to the surface out at his last known location to find that he had brought friends. Instead of fighting one of these creatures we now faced at least four and in addition a rather sizable devil had been summoned at the spot.
    With little time to decide upon appropriate action we simply moved as best as our instincts allowed us and quickly fighting ensued. It did not go badly as memory serves but it did drain our strength none the less. The devil was slain and all but our original target met their end. Feeling less able than was appropriate to fight Abarat at that time, we left the spot and returned to town.
    The next day then we ventured back out in grim fashion, knowing that we had hard work ahead. Elena and Sasha went underground, with Sasha carrying the objects of power. The rest of us stayed above the surface in the place we expected the demon to appear, ready to fight. Seconds turned to minutes, and minutes continued on as we waited. Finally after the sun had moved a noticeable amount in the sky it began.
    I seem to recall that the bones which marked the resting place of the demon began to shake and glow brightly. Cawanan lost his footing as great cracks appeared in the ground and the earth shook. After several moments of this finally a burst of dark energies issued forth from the ring of bone and Abarat was once again free.
    The more physical members of our group had several days before received potions from the dwarves courtesy of the possessed Al-Rathis. These potions would temporarily coat weapons with a substance that mimicked the effects of cold iron. It is sad when I reflect upon it that liquid such as this was manufactured for the purpose of slaying fey and driving them from the lands in this area so long ago. At least these though would see good use.
    Almost immediately Abarat issued forth a potent battle cry. This rang out like a wave, affecting everyone even to a considerable distance away. I was immediately struck dumb by this blast myself and was unable to regain my composure and senses for quite some time.
    When I finally regained my senses the fight had been going for Goddess knows how long. Sasha and Elena had appeared and so had Sasha's giant scorpion. This poor creature however had been speared through by Abarat and was little more than a mound now. For reasons I don't understand it had Al-Rathis in its claw and he was now in the process of freeing himself from it.
    The party did not look well. Only Sasha with the usual unholy glint in her eye seemed to continue to be thrilled by the fight. Wasting little time I began to chant an ancient and holy hymn I learned back at home, hoping to keep Abarat from affecting those around me. Then at least those who needed respite from this fighting could have a haven to heal their wounds.
    It was about at that time that I noticed that the little creature in Abarat's hands was in actuality Tellzan. With a single motion the great demon thrust Tellzan into his mouth and snapped his jaws shut around him. Rushing forward Elena began to speak ancient and powerful words of her own, sacrificing a part of her being in the process. Instantly Tellzan appeared not fifteen feet from me looking rather haggard and abused. I slowly moved closer to his position.
    Al-Rathis had freed himself from the grip of the great beast meanwhile and had charged Abarat. The creature, powerful as it was though, simply beat him back. Sasha, her pet slain, transformed herself into a great dragon and began an attempt to grab at our demon foe. Though battered thoroughly Tellzan began to move forward once again and out of range of my help. Cawanan and Elena I did not see.
    Pressing forward again and again, the party slowly wore through the defenses of The Hunter. Finally in one last attempt to slay us, the beast let forth once again his howl. Tellzan this time was struck by it and was knocked back into one of the pillars of bone. This timely event may have actually saved his life, for it gave me time to get close enough to shield him from what then came.
    Al-Rathis, who had been pushed back again and again, and had spent most of the fight simply attempting to catch the demon, finally got close enough to plant his feet with the help of Sasha, who had managed to keep The Hunter occupied. With mighty blows to the legs of the demon he finished the great creature off. In a final act of vengeance Abarat exploded in a vapor of dark power which blew out in every direction. The earth once again shook, and one of the mighty pillars that seemed indestructible, cracked and fell to the ground, wounding all those who stood nearby with fragments of bone. All these bounced off my shield of holy power, and protected Tellzan, who looked about ready to die once again.
    The clouds above us swirled at the design of unknown forces, and as if in prophecy a mighty fortress appeared in the sky. A substance not unlike blood showered down upon us and the party quickly took refuge inside the protection I was continuing to provide. Cawanan was still missing though, and Elena quipped that she had seen him take off during the fight.
    Though I did not quite understand the explanations of those around me at the time, worst of all was that it seemed that the excess of negative energy in the region, which was blasting out from the site and destroying everything around us, had blocked the granted powers of Tellzan and Sasha. It seemed though that those in effect still worked however, as my shield continued to do its work.
    All the eye could see by the time the rain had stopped and the castle vanished was a red liquid and the ruins of vegetation. Most of us thought we should immediately head to the town of Twin Shores to check upon the people there, for we could quite imagine that the forces that had destroyed this region could cause great destruction and suffering there as well. Sasha, selfish and full of greed as ever, wished to immediately search for treasure that Abarat may have buried however. She quickly ran off, full of gold lust, leaving the rest to return to the town.
    As it turns out, the destruction waned and finally ceased just short of Twin Shores but for the fact that the people there too had lost contact with their deity. We then teleported to the city of Great Tir... at least I believe that is where we were... and found that there all was normal, the priests of Illustree there still channeled our gods powers. Finally we made our way to the city of Blue Water and to the temple of Illustree there and finally found that city in a state of normal activity.
    Eventually we were able to all meet up once again. What Sasha had feared was a permanent problem since she is too young to remember this ever having happened before, turned out to simply be a temporary issue. The powers of the people in this area returned the next day. Speaking of Sasha, she came back with great treasure, and we made another trip to finish the robbing of that place. Unfortunately nothing of great interest was inside. Cawanan had quite literally lost his mind and wandered into Twin Shores several days later. (His state was of course returned to him.) Tellzan was in the coming days able to repair his armor, which had taken so much damage in the fight with Abarat as to become almost useless. He continues to complain however that he could not preserve it in that state so that others might see his "glory."
    And I... well I am glad that after that afternoon we have spent many a day without the need for bloodshed and destruction. I have spent them at the temple of Illustree learning how the Great Goddess is worshiped here in this form and at the home of my host, the noble Lord Agarabel, explaining how it was that I ventured out four months ago a girl, and recently returned a woman. In the coming days I will seek out my former followers in this town and reestablish ties with them. Mostly they are not a bad bunch for half-breeds and humans. I believe I owe them something for their troubles and service, though I am relying on Cawanan to so much as tell me their names.