Liberty Journal 15

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25 Flocktime, 595 CY

Dear Connie,

After dealing with Ilya’s doppelganger, we went back to the Sodden Hold, where Xan (the real Xan, this time) found a secret passage leading deeper into the lair. We found ourselves in a twisty maze full of pressure plates, dropping doors, and hostile doppelgangers that reminded me of the kenku maze under Dourstone Mine. Our experience in that hellhole seems to’ve helped us survive this one… I still find it strange that I’m getting good at this. I’ve come a long way from the bakery.

We came to some sort of throne room, where they kept the apparatus they’d used to steal Xan’s memories. It made my skin crawl, and my blood boil, to think of my friend strapped into that engine of pain. Which makes me think about what they did to Ilya, and Charles Quinn, and Tarquin. Which makes me wonder who else they’ve killed, how many lives they’ve destroyed, that we don’t even know about yet.

The more I see of this conspiracy, the more my resolve to unravel it grows.

I want to take all these documents to someone who can DO something about it, but the doppelgangers have certainly infiltrated the watch, and the courts, and gods know what else. I might try to get the attention of the Circle of Eight… I doubt even these creatures could trick someone like Mordenkainen. But this isn’t the time.

The boss doppelganger, Telakin, was in the throne room, wearing Allustan’s face – but I’d been through enough of their tricks, and knew the sage well enough, to know what they were up to this time.

And that made me really, really mad.

The battle was a hot mess, to say the least, thanks to Telakin’s confusion spell, but we won. We found documents in his hidden bedchamber which lent further proof to what we already knew – that this conspiracy is everywhere.

We also found a note from Telakin’s master requesting a meeting “at the sewer junction beneath the cold forge.” This master marked the message with a strange and unfamiliar symbol, the same one that marked Telakin’s forehead. If we can figure out where that meeting was, maybe we can track this master down and show him that our “troublesome small minds” aren’t that easy to “remove.”

Even leaving the Sodden Hold turned out to be vexing, when a group of gods-damned dark elves attacked us! I never thought I’d see a drow – certainly never thought I’d fight one – and now I’ve killed some. I felt sick to my stomach, when I realized that the most wicked creatures in all of creation are just as beautiful as surface elves. All kinds of wickedness went through my mind before I remembered that I have an elf of my own, now.

I just realized that I didn’t mention it at the top of the letter, but Ilya agreed to let me court her. I wish the timing were better – all my thoughts of her distract me from the task at hand, and the task at hand keeps me from feeling what I feel. Still, I’ve never felt like this before… and if you hadn’t encouraged me to talk to Tirra, who knows if I’d be where I am now?

Tomorrow we’ll start searching for this cold forge. We have a couple of leads; we’ll just have to see where they… lead.

Words are hard. I guess I need to sleep. Will write again soon.

All my love,

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Liberty Journal 15

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