Cheliax, Empire of Devils

He Thinks Too Much
Diary of Dr. Grigori Strand

Ivan, Ivan, Ivan… this man is going to be the death of me. I foresee it. Where do I start?

I had to return to the city for a few days. I still, after all, have another job to attend to. Patients began piling up and it is good to get away for a few days anyway. I instantly dispatched Bradford to investigate any and all inferences of the Necronomicon. In addition to learning that the Mage’s Guild knows a little something about it, he also learned of a Banquet to be hosted for Ivan as the Guest of Honor. Invitations haven’t even been sent out yet, so this is still in its infancy. Nonetheless, Ivan should know so he can prepare. Knowing him as I do, admittedly is still little, he isn’t at the top of the social function ways of society.

Ivan, bless his little heart, actually approached me on needing advice on what to do about this dinner party. I gave him the ins and outs of social functions. I asked him to smile. After almost throwing up in the back of my mouth for witnessing the most forced and fake looking smile I have ever seen, I simply told him to raise his eyebrows and nod. I told him this as a means of acknowledgement. I warned him about the constant assault from the aristocracy prying for information that could and would be used against him.

Letting other people do the talking and simply being a good listener will trick most people into thinking you are a good social being. Most people love to talk and most of those love to talk about themselves. I told Ivan to simply let them. Then he stopped me in my tracks with what he told me next. He told me that I have a natural cunning and means of survival. That son of a bitch, he is observing me. He is trying to figure me out. Gods be damned. I have let my guard down. He is a predator, like me, and his instinct to spot a competitor has kicked in.

I have let Ivan have a glimpse of my world, and how I hunt. I can’t allow him to shed more light into my world. He will ruin everything. Fuck! How long has he been watching me? My self-inflicted wounds… Holy shit! That’s it! He is a professional soldier. He knows what battle wounds look like. He could have obviously been able to know the difference. Son of a bitch, I knew I shouldn’t have murdered that stupid fucking whore within the walls of Ft. Wilderness. What the hell am I going to do? How can I get out of this situation? What all does he know? If I start probing him for information about what he knows, certainly he will catch on to what I am doing. This asshole is more clever than I first believed. He thinks too much.

I am going to have to keep my eyes open. I will need to find out as much as I can about Sir Ivan. I need to know what secrets he has. I may need it as leverage against him for when I need it. Fucking Ivan, why do you want to do this against me? I could have been good for you. Now, you are trying to box me into a corner. From one predator to another, I can assure you Ivan, I am prepared chew off my own arm to get out of a trap. What are you prepared to do? jack_ripper.jpg

Local Arrests
Journal of Avery Orion

Two moons ago I arrested a dirty Orc, after i walked into the Doctors quarters and found an orc that had just murdered a poor servant girl that our adventure party had just saved. This horrible disgusting orc was found with a knife in his hand after stabbing the the poor doc and the servant girl.


Thankfully I got there just in time to save the doc, but sadly the girl did not survive. Immediately i arrested the Orc and after a few well deserved kicks, and at Sir Ivan’s order I arrested every Orc in the Fort. which i did with much glee! These beasts can’t even be kept as slaves due to their feral nature, i tried to warn the others. Bust sadly for the young servant girl , no one heeded my warning. These “Orcs” they lack less manors than a Bear(and i grew up around bears).

All the orcs were than ordered to be used as a lesson to any servants that decide to act out of line. Any and all orcs will be killed on site. A chore i set about while whisling a soft tune. These are the days i live for as a Sheriff of Ft. Wilderness.

I will sleep better tonight knowing that these horrible things will not be in the fort, and the others while under my watchful eye will be safer tonight.

Ramblings of a Madman
Diary of Dr. Grigori Strand

In my studies, I have come to the conclusion that chaos is the natural order of things. We humans, with our pattern seeking behavior, strive to make order out of that chaos. We even to try to establish laws within that nature in order to better rationalize it. We inherently seek law and order in the effort to control our own destiny – something that isn’t natural. The only way to survive a mad world, is to embrace the madness.

It is true, there are certain abject aspects that could be interpreted as law. For example, what goes up must come down, what was born must die, and the like. The chaos aspect is, that death is undeterminable. We could kill ourselves, we could break our neck falling off a horse, we could catch a horrific disease and succumb to illness, or a brick falling off a rooftop could land on our head. Where is the law in that?

There are surprises and unforeseen circumstances that happen throughout our daily lives. We develop routines inherently, because we are a pattern seeking creature. We like to wake up at a certain time, eat at a certain time, and sleep at a certain time. We do these things so we have some sense of control over ourselves. We do these things so we limit the chaos that is out there waiting for us. But chaos always finds a way to throw a tinder twig into the hay pile.

If good and evil is a balance, then so should law and chaos, right? There are exceptions to every rule. That is my point. We are constantly coming up with these ideas. Who are we in this vast world to say what is good or evil? How arrogant are we to impose our philosophies onto everything, as if it is ours to manipulate. Our arrogance will be our undoing.

A tribe that believes in ritual human sacrifice in order to appease a higher power is doing that out of evil? Certainly they know within themselves that they are doing a good thing for the sake of their people. But that ritual in and of itself is just another part of our own rationalization of laws. We are confining ourselves to this behavior in order to make sense of things. We are able to put ourselves above other creatures, simply because we believe in something. To me, that is the real madness; that we are actually in control of things.

I have no idea what I am going on and on about. I should have studied Psychology instead of medicine and toxicology. But would that have been me trying to control the chaos that is going through my mind and soul as well? We are all fucked. We just don’t know it yet.

The Perfect Killer
Diary of Dr. Grigori Strand

When I was in schooling, I was fascinated, not just by alchemy, but specifically venom and poison. It was amazing to watch it work. More importantly, it became a method. The application of poison was even more intriguing to me. The study of the area, the set up of delivery, the method of delivery, watching it work, and anticipation of the end result. It was and still is, an absolutely amazing process.

I loved watching the snake stalk its prey. They are extremely efficient hunters. Smelling the air and movement vibrations with their tongue. Moving with absolute silence, and with a sudden strike – delivery. The snake waits for its toxins to take effect. It watches its prey. Notices the lack of movement, and then feeds. Such a methodical creature. So beautiful. Sneaky. Cunning. Quick. Efficient. Calculating… the perfect killer.

I loved watching the spider waiting for its prey. They are extremely patient and diligent. Sensing movement vibrations with the hairs on their body, seeing in almost all directions with their many eyes, and the delicacy of their web that is strong, flexible… the perfect trap. The spider stalks its struggling prey while trying to escape the entanglement of the web, wraps its victim until it can no longer fight back, and then delivers its bite. It injects its venom and begins to feed after it takes effect. Such a tenacious creature. So beautiful. Sneaky. Cunning. Quick. Efficient. Calculating… the perfect killer.

I began to wonder, could I be as good a killer, as they? I began working on my own toxin. I wanted mine to attack the central nervous system. I wanted mine to lead to paralysis. I wanted to watch it work. There are several people out there that cause pain to others. There are several people out there that cause pain to me. They ruined my childhood. They tainted my father. They ruined my mother.

During one of the lectures I had to sit through on the way to earn my higher degree, there was specific mention about people that poison other people.

I’ve come to believe that poisoners are the coldest of killers. They plan ahead, they plot out their poison and delivery methods in advance, they entice their victims to consume the poison, and they often stay to watch the poison do its work. So, what do we know about poisoners? Most of them believe that careful planning will allow them to escape detection. We also know — or think we do — that “poison is a woman’s weapon.” They are calculating, manipulative, and most often men.
Why are there more male poisoners overall? Because there are more male killers overall. If you take a deeper look at the numbers, the basic murder comparison is 89.5% male and 10.5% female. Bladed homicides stand at 92.1% male, 7.9% female. It’s in that context that poison can seem a kind of woman’s weapon, a choice, perhaps, over the bloody combativeness of clubs, knives or other weapons of that ilk.
But I think that fixating on the gender question leads us, somehow, to be dismissive, to miss the more interesting — and more dangerous — issue. Unlike murders by blade, poisoning murders are always premeditated. There’s no sudden impulse, flash of anger or fear, in ordering cyanide so that you can mix it into a glass of win. And poisoners believe that their calculated plans, their cleverness, will allow them to kill and walk away.

Poison is not a woman’s weapon, nor a man’s. It’s just an evil one.

Those whores will never know what is wrong with them until it is too late. I work in a clinic that specializes in toxicology. I have my weapon at my finger tips, and actually get paid to touch it. This is perfect. I developed some roguish skills with my friend. He knows how to sneak around and get the cutting edge for a story. Most importantly, I know what the news is, before it is news.

I can stalk my prey. I can plan their demise. I can hide in the shadows. I can blend in with my surroundings. I can deliver my toxin with a quick strike. I can watch my toxin take effect. I can wait for it to overcome my prey. I can then go in for the kill without harm to myself. I can walk away without fear of reprisal. I can even entice them to poison themselves if I have to. The perfect killer.jack_ripper.jpg

There Can Be No Law Without Chaos
Diary of Dr. Grigori Strand

I don’t know when the dreams began. It was a woman at first. Displaying herself in front of me, trying to convince me that they aren’t all bad. My curiosity kept me asleep, wanting to learn more about the dream. I always woke up before full revelation. I remember the shadows of her fingers caressing my face. Telling me that everything is going to be alright. She told me that man’s bestial desire is a cloaked in a world of chaos. Spontaneity and not knowing what happens next is next is the excitement that causes people to explore, to try to new things, to live… to love.

The shadows felt so good. So warm. So caring. So gentle. If only my mother was as warm, gentle and caring, I might not have become a monster. The woman began to caress herself. Showing me how to touch a woman without a knife. It seemed so trivial, yet her fingers had purpose. She began to breathe slower and deeper. The hair on her arm standing straight up – goose bumps. Medically, I would say this is arousal. Her fingers went lower, and lower, finally revealing her most delicate areas. She removed her laced panties and began to touch…

Wriggling and wreathing, with no pattern. No sense of order, yet a symphony for the trained eye. So much gracefulness, and fluidity, from the deep. What is the connection? I don’t understand it. I have been taught to live by the rules of a society. Logic, law, order – essential for the masses. Without it there is no purpose – only vices. Why this creature? What are my dreams trying to tell me? Why the tentacle symbolism? So many fucking questions and absolutely no answers. Why are my dreams haunting me in such a fashion? Even a question is answered with a question… this is madness.

The tentacles are such a delicate delight thought. Such a pure flesh; strong flesh. Purpose in design. Suction cups for superior grip. No bones for superior flexibility. A valuable asset to have, no doubt about it. And creatures of the deep have eight or so of them. Fascinating. What is the symbolism for me? More fucking questions. I keep having the same dreams over and over. I keep getting the same questions with no answers over and over. I can’t withstand this torture… this is insanity.

As long as I remember, I had these dreams. On my free time, I would study the creatures of the sea; creatures from the deep. I found no answers there. I knew that Cheliax was a very pious society. I studied religion, in particular, diablerie. I found no answers there. Such order and hierarchy. Their answers to chaos is to stamp it out with an iron fist. This has to have some meaning to me. Then I came across one book in a library. Seemingly by random. For no reason at all, the book leapt out at me as if it found me, rather than me finding it.

It was a language I had never seen before. The librarian didn’t even know this book was in the collection. I have seen this symbol before. These tendrils… could also be tentacles. That face, a creature of the deep… I asked the librarian if I could take it home. He said that I could have it. He said that it isn’t in any of his catalogues and would only cause grief if found to be… out of order.

A knock came on my door one day. A simple robed man. It was really weird, it was as if no matter where he was, his cloak shadowed out his face. No matter. I remember asking this man if he would like some tea. He didn’t speak one word. He only sat down and sipped his tea. This man was trying my patience. I typically only kill whores. But I could make an exception every once in a while. The book, however, caught his attention too. He looked upon me, and said the word, “Aklo.” I begged his pardon. “Aklo,” he repeated.

That’s it… I walked into my kitchen area and grabbed a meat carving knife. “Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn.” What?!? I have heard that before. Those whispers…

I ran over to this man and pointed the knife into his face. I demanded that he tell me where he heard this. How does he know what is whispered to me in my dreams? Who the fuck is he? Why is this happening to me? Gods be damned, more and more questions. So much fucking unknown… this is driving me crazy.

He removed his hood… I wished he hadn’t.

I awoke after meeting him. Did I meet him? Was this real? By the Gods, more questions without answers. My world began swirling before me. I fell down with vertigo. Feeling nauseous, I crawled to my bed. I pulled my way onto it and tried to lay down, but I could only move my limbs and not my body. I was flailing about as if my limbs were… tentacles.

I passed out. I don’t know how long. I was stuck in the dream with the woman caressing, her… self. The whispers then snapped me out of it. They began translating everything. It was if these voices were teaching me? I paid attention. I took sedatives to remain asleep. I needed to learn. I needed to figure this out. I needed to know. I need! Gods be damned I need to know! I can’t take this anymore. I want to kill myself. These fucking dreams I have, these fucking whispers I hear, these fucking urges I have, the pain I endure, the childhood I had, the life I live, what is the meaning of all of this!?!?

Knocking on my door woke me up. It was people from my clinic. They said I hadn’t been to work for 3 days. THREE DAYS!?! Had I been sleeping for three days? They were relieved I was alive. They noticed the book from the library on a table in my study. They saw that it was opened. Did I open it? I can’t remember. I am so unsure of everything now. They looked at the words as if it were chicken scratch. They jokingly said, “You can understand such nonsense?” I looked at a page and said, “Oh yeah, it says here ‘there can be no law without chaos,’ which is…” I paused. What did I just say? I looked at the page again… I understood it. I could read it! I was speechless. I was confused. I looked up at my coworkers…

“Well, we know you are all right at least. There has been a virus going about. Take it easy Grigori. Come back to work when you feel better.” They left. I sat down. It was with a thump. I didn’t even try to catch myself. I flopped onto the chair, with a blank stare at my wall. I remembered the tentacle man. I remember the tentacle woman. I remember my descent into madness. Swirled by chaos, tickled by insanity, caressed with madness… and I learned “Aklo.”

I received a letter from a messenger boy saying my practice needed my help. A very large man needed detoxification. Guess it is time to go back to work. Maybe the truth will reveal itself one day.jack_ripper.jpg

Because of Whores
Diary of Dr. Grigori Strand

I hate my mother. She is a strong woman, and devoted to her family. She is a great worker and cares a great deal for her clientele. She is a very knowledgeable person and believes that education is the greatest of foundations for children. My father brought out the worst in her. No one ever saw the worst of her, except me.

I am not as physically strong as my brothers. I wasn’t as athletic. I wasn’t outdoors as much. I liked to read and use my imagination a little more than they did. I was smarter than my brothers and sisters, and a lot more quiet. Why would any of that be important? My mother took out her frustrations with my father, out on me. She knew I couldn’t fight back, and since I was so quiet, I probably wouldn’t talk about it. She was too busy being perfect around my sisters as to taint her perfect example of how to be “a lady,” than to show them what I saw – and felt.

My father was a great man. Very highly respected member of society. He was funny. He was charming. And all the women knew it. Most of all, so did my mother. She would see him talking or socializing with so many different women, she would often storm off to the house. She would look for someone to vent her rage to, and there would be no one to console her. Only me… alone in my room, studying, minding my own business… She said that I reminded her of her father. And she wouldn’t spare the rod. I couldn’t admit it to my father, or she would beat me worse. I was a prisoner in my own home. Beaten for no reason. She called them all whores. I was beaten constantly… because of whores.

When I got older, I couldn’t wait to get out of there. I worked so hard in my studies so that I could be noticed by some institution as a reason to leave. I was lucky for the Cheliax Medical Academy to become aware of me. My father was so proud of me. He never wanted for me to join some military and kill or be killed. I told him what my mother had done to me for years, because of him. Out of guilt, he fully paid for my education, travel and living expenses. He made me promise to never mention anything to my mother, and he would do the same. He said that she has anger issues and wouldn’t understand. Anger issues… he doesn’t say…

I do not know if I loved my mother. I don’t hate women. Not all of them. While growing up, though, some sort of stress builds up inside of me. It becomes overwhelming, the anxiety. The pressure. It’s as if my whole world begins to circle around me. I can’t get away from it. There is no end to it, until I release it. I don’t know why, but I have to kill. I have to punish those that made my life unbearable. If it weren’t for the trash of society ruining my society, then I wouldn’t be like this.

After I kill, a sense of gratification, relief, and euphoria come over me. I can only describe it like a drug. Although I disdain the use of drugs. Losing control of yourself is not logical. But this, this isn’t my fault. I have to do this, otherwise I can’t work. I don’t like violence, really. I find that a good conversation is more effective than a good sword thrust. But these whores; the money hungry, attention seeking, bottom feeders.

You see them at brothels, at hotels, on street corners. Swooning decent men into spending their life savings for a few minutes of pleasure between their legs. They are predators. They feed on men’s weakness. They destroy families. They spread disease. They bring bastards into the world. I am getting stressed just thinking about it.jack_ripper.jpg

...of Dreams
Journal of Sir Ivan

I have never been a dreamer. At night my body rests, and my mind does the same. These dreams of hell that started with my initiation into the order drive me to restlessness. The eyes of that bearded devil peering back as he fell seemed to smile.

I am now fully in the service of hell. I’m privileged and obligated to serve as best as I can. Death holds no fear now. I will merely serve in a new army when I shrug the chains of mortality. These dreams are pleasant. The others are not. I see my father when I was a child. We practice in the courtyard. Military drill, basic weapon training, specifically.

I ask him why he carries a sword, and not the mace. Isn’t the ceremonial weapon of the Empire a mace? His reply, coy as it was; “does the sword not protect just as well?” Now I know. He was weak. And never strong enough for the mace. Here I am, a knight of the order of the nail. I still carry a mace.

By Asmodeus, these evenings are even less quiet than the days. Even as I write this, there are strange sounds. Some say I am lucky to be in this position, I say lucky is a relative term. I suppose I should investigate. I wonder what I am paying some of these idiots for?

Journal of Sir Ivan

I was asked a question today, concerning the honorific the unbreakable. I gave the official story about our empress’ cousin being among the civilian group we protected from the Bandits in that backwater town. How it was just me and a few knights of the order of the nail left when reinforcements got there. And how it made it back to higher ups, and because of the nature of my knighthood, I am referred to as such. The truth is that it was just a name until I fought that devil. He was testing me for Asmodeus, as surely as the order was. I know that now I have to live up to it.

I steel myself for the coming storm, as I know that the tests will only become more difficult from here onward. My companions are an odd lot. The gunslinger is possibly insane, and also quite dangerous. Her chaotic nature is hard to predict, and I will have to keep an eye on her. For now she has proven loyal and useful. The doctor… where do I begin? Something is not as it seems. His demeanor is cordial, and he has the proper gentleman’s façade. He also has the “nerve”, for lack of better terms. I have it, too. If my father had it, perhaps he would not have been erased. But nevertheless, he is a skilled surgeon, and a fine battlefield medic. Even though he feign softness, the “nerve” shines through. I wonder if the others, particularly my new sheriff, have a clue?

On the subject of my new sheriff: she has the right poise, but I believe that she lacks the “nerve”. No matter, she is a skilled warrior and trapper. Her bear is a thing of beauty. A true natural war machine. Also her loyalty and dedication to duty are very apparent. Despite her gentle nature, I stand by my choice, as she gave me some useful animals to display to keep the people reminded of the law. The doctor was suspiciously hurt by the orc. I have seen many battle wounds. These are weirdly deep and in oddly ineffective places. Whether or not the new sheriff’s racism had anything to do with the hasty investigation matters not. I personally put the orcs up on crucifixion posts for all to see. Now the neighbors will be reminded that there is now law and order present. Sometimes I love my duties.

Thoughts of a gun slinger
A past that I don't talk about

As I watch these new people come in to Fort Wilderness, it reminds me of a time before all of this. A name best long forgotten that belonged to a life, that for my health best forgotten.

Oh but what joys I had at sea, I loved the hand to hand combat of invading other’s ships, and the skin to skin of Dominic the gruesome. We had so much fun plundering ships, the endless loot, the thrills of black market trading. The long nights of rough touches and soft moans.

It was a shame it had ended so quickly after a measly two years. But what can I say? When tempers spark so does the fuses of a bomb… in a armory of the haul of a ship.

I definitely left a mark, both on the Captin and Ship. I’d say it was a mistake, but that would be a lie. You see, I don’t like it when people double cross me. And that night was a night unlike the others. Dominic had decided I knew too much, so after a night together. He had decided to stab me in the back.. literally. I chosen to retaliate, with a gun to his knee.

As I made my escape I chose a well placed bomb as a deversion. And out I slide out, like a eel in a cage, I made my escape to the Inland and to a small inn. Where a i met a man by the name Ivan the unbrakeable.

And the rest is a history soon to be it’s own document.


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