Entries from the journals of Lenok Enloquicedo:

Day 7 (cont): After killing the giant king, we proceeded through the cave, and soon came upon an altar to Lamashtu. We ascertained that there were no hidden threats in the chamber, and Father Cain and Kendrak smashed the foul thing. This released a swarm of two-headed snakes, which swarmed over Janus and grievously poisoned him before they were dispersed by the combined efforts of the party. We found some diamonds hidden in the remains of the evil idol, but they did not themselves appear cursed in any way.

After that, we moved on, and found the hag coven we'd been searching for. We were able to kill them, somewhat easier than I'd been expecting, and we recovered the body of Lamadar, the former commander of the Black Arrows. He had been turned into a wight by the coven, but we had pledged to retrieve whatever remains we would find. Finally, we went down to the lower level of the cave where the weapons manufacturing operation was located. We destroyed all the ogre weaponsmiths and ruined all the blades they had crafted. Hopefully, this will impede the giants' invasion plans for a while.

Day 8: As we returned to the keep, we noticed that the rain had finally stopped.

Day 11: We returned to the keep, and returned Lamadar to his lover. As the fey are able to do, she returned him to life, albeit in a completely new body. He seemed comfortable, though it took him a long while to find his bearings after the spell had taken effect. This seemed to satisfy the nymph-spirit, and she returned to her demesne in the swamps.

After that, we had not even returned to the keep before Kendrak's (hopefully) loyal steward Egbert informed us that we had official visitors. We promptly joined Lord Kendrak in the main hall to receive them. The first was a trader from the Amicus consortium. I've worked with them before, and they are generally reliable partners. Kendrak listened to his request for permission to operate in the area, and to trade with the Renneck garrison, before directing Egbert to work out an agreement. The conversation was delightfully nostalgic; its been too long since all I had to worry about was line items in supply contracts.

That pleasant diversion was ended by our next visitor, a senior official from the Order. He took a moment to get to the point of his visit, and then demanded that we present him with Dorien. Apparently, Dorien had some connection with the soul of Kemmler, the sorcerer of the Chancellor we killed some time ago. Dorien did not deny the charge, which was a shock to us. Our esteemed visitor repeatedly demanded an explanation, and Dorien denied connection to the Chancellor or sorcery, but admitted a connection with the soul of Kemmler. This was difficult to believe, and seemed to upset the Questioner. He called upon The One Who Knows to provide guidance in his questions, and repeatedly proclaimed our companion was lying about his involvement in the evil activities of the Chancellor and his powerful servants.

Before the Questioner could get to the heart of the matter and uncover the connections between our colleague and the evils we must fight, Janus ordered the man to leave Dorien be, and showed him a letter signed by the Patriarch himself. The Questioner left, realizing he was not going to be able to uncover the trouble our party contained. The anger in his manner implied that, as Father Cain feared, the letter may have been the final step on the road to a civil war between the factions of the Order. If such were to come to pass, it would be a disaster. Who would protect us from the dwellers in the darkness then?

After the situation calmed down, Dorien related his story. He explained that the circus he grew up in was a nest of fiends and evil fey, and that he had inherited a contract for ten specific souls from the Ringmaster, the archfiend at the center of the circus. He had no desire to make good on the contract, though the fact he already had three of the souls makes me wonder a little about that. He also claimed that he had no knowledge of the Ringmaster's reasons for wanting the souls; again, the secrecy so far means I cannot be sure that is true.

One of the souls on the list he eventually shared is Father Cain. It is not surprising that an evil creature like the Ringmaster would want to destroy the Father, I suppose; he should be honored to attract such enemies. We must identify the others on the list; perhaps that will allow us to figure out the purpose of the contract, and whether it is connected to the Sahedrin.

Of more concern was Janus' proud admission that he is a sorcerer himself. I should have realized that he is not a legitimate mage; he never seemed to devote the proper time to his spellbooks, and he always had such a limited repertoire. How could I have missed that? I will have to become more observant if we are to avoid the manipulations the circus is doubtless capable of.

He denied any evil affiliations, and said that the forces in his blood did not automatically make him evil or untrustworthy. This is despite all the hard work the Order has done to educate people about the dangers posed by such individuals; it is not natural to possess such power without having to work for it in any way. There must be a price paid somewhere. He would not give a full answer as to how he came to be in possession of the letter either. He said that the Patriarch engaged him as a secret agent to contain the violence within the order. I find it hard to believe that such a senior member of the Order would willingly work with sorcerers, but then I use Quintle to achieve worthy ends, and I suppose that could appear almost as bad to some people.

Janus talked of the Quorum and the Circle of Eight, evil sorcerers whom we should be concerned about. However, he would not go into detail about those either, at least not with us. He talked with the good Father alone for a while; perhaps Cain can find a way to save his soul from whatever spirit possessed it. In the meantime, we have to decide if we can trust him. Kendrak says he is not evil, and The One grants him the ability to look into the souls of those he sees, so perhaps it is true. We shall have to see how long he can resist the call of wherever his power comes from.

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