Zaen Koba Journal Entries #1-5
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Date - 35th of Velori, Fiaday. 9th Year of Our Lords

Location: The Outskirts of Tempeste

1st Day of the Expedition

[The paper this page is written on seems to be made of a different material than the others in its book. Its coarse, tough, and has a light blue hue.]

For the generations yet to come, I am writing this journal in hopes of cataloging our most grand exploration.

I am Zaen Koba, apprentice to my father whom is the Head Researcher for Tempeste Magical Academy, Jareth Koba. Her majesty, High Empress Aelisia, has finally given us permission to enter a dungeon that recently appeared in the province of Hasha. From what I've gleamed the common folk have begun to call this dungeon "The Palace of Dreams." While I am already eager to start the expedition, this knowledge has only stoked the fires of my ambition. Should this adventure be successful, I'll obtain the prestige needed to graduate from apprentice to Researcher. It looks like our caravan is moving once again. I'll continue this entry when we reach our destination.

We've arrived at the entrance to the dungeon and I can see why the commoners call it "The Palace of Dreams." Whilst the dungeons father and I've studied thus far have been underground and rather decrepit, this one is a magnificent palace that seems to stretch into the skies. This is not the first time an above-ground dungeon has appeared, but it is the first of this sort of splendor to my knowledge. We're currently camped out just outside its front gates, using a rocky outcropping for cover from the rain. Some of the other soldiers accompanying us seem rather troubled. I heard a few of the older ones mumbling about shapes moving in the courtyard and seeing eyes peering at them from the windows. They're just sleep-deprived, there's no way there's enemies on the lower floors. As soon as the sun rises we'll be heading into the palace. I'll try to get some sleep, but the excitement may keep me up all night.

[The next passage is written in sloppy and brisk handwriting.]

Something came out of the dungeon. It killed most of the soldiers. I couldn't see it in the rain, but I know it was tall. There was nowhere else to run, I had to go inside the dungeon. I'm hiding in a closet, with two stable-hands, Mikhail and Derrick. We can't leave yet, there's footsteps in the dark. Mikhail says he hears his mother calling him, but we told him it was just the stress. I hope the others are okay. I hope father is okay.

Date - 1st of Ovenar, Silday. 9th Year of Our Lords

Location: The Palace of Dreams

2nd Day of the Expedition

We can't get out, the door is gone. We left the closet when we thought it was safe, and it should have been right there but it's not. Derrick suggested we try to leave through the windows, but there's iron bars over them. We tried calling for help to the outside but nobody responded. It's as if we've been cutoff from the entire world. Would have stayed in the closet if not for the Palace Guards. They patrol the hallways, and only enter rooms briefly to check for intruders. Can't see their faces under the helmets, it's just darkness. The stench they leave behind is foul, reminiscent of damp grave soil. Mikhail says he thinks they might be [illegible]. If he's right, we don't stand a chance against even one. We're currently hiding out in a mess hall on the second floor. Like the rest of the palace, the room is spotless. Who's going around cleaning? Footsteps coming, time to hide.

A guard entered the mess hall. He stared at the closet we were in for too long. Mikhail thinks he left to get more guards and that we need to leave. He thinks Derrick and I don't hear him whispering to his mother, but we do. The dungeon has already got to him. If it gets bad enough, we'll have to leave him. That, or [illegible]. Let's hope it doesn't come to that. We've propped one of the tables against the door. Hopefully that'll stop any more guards trying to inspect the room. If not…

No, it's better not to think about that.

I counted all the supplies we have on hand. If my calculations are correct, there's enough for about three days. We're going to spend the night here then try to look for a way out again in the morning. Gods help us.

Date - 2nd of Ovenar, Mesday. 9th Year of Our Lords

Location: The Palace of Dreams

3rd Day of the Expedition

This place doesn't make sense. None of this makes any sense! We camped out on the second floor, I swear we did! I REMEMBER climbing those steps. So why is there no first floor now?! Where did it go?! It has to be the dungeon, it's toying with us. Mikhail is gone, he disappeared sometime in the middle of the night. Derrick says he probably wandered off but I think something took him. This place doesn't want us to leave, it wants us to keep going up. We argued over whether or not we should keep ascending. Derrick is of the opinion that we should camp out in the mess hall and wait for help. I know better though, the only way out is up. If we stay here we'll end up like Mikhail. We've split our supplies and I've decided to go on alone. I'll update this entry when i reach somewhere safe.

I managed to slip past the few Palace Guards I came across. I thought one looked at me, but I guess he just missed me. So far, I've determined that this palace has some sort of reality-altering magical effects. Some staircases lead to nowhere one moment, then to a room the next. The same can be said for many doorways and even cupboards. I'm currently resting in what seems to be the palace chapel. However, I don't recognize any of the statues. They seem similar to our pantheon in many respects yet also…different. No guards have come this way yet, thankfully. Seems like this may not be their jurisdiction. I'm doing alright on food, but my water is dwindling. I'll try to find somewhere to get more tomorrow. For tonight, holy water will have to do.

Date - 3rd of Ovenar, Rusday. 9th Year of Our Lords

Location: The Palace of Dreams

4th Day of the Expedition

I was lucky enough to find three canteens full of water in the servant's quarters. That should be enough for quite awhile. After that, I don't know. I think I'm somewhere on the fifth floor now, but things are only getting stranger as I go higher. Sometimes it feels like there's something watching me, just barely out of sight. When I woke up I could have sworn I saw a shadow pass underneath the door to the chapel. I need to get out of here, soon. The palace is starting to get to me, working its way inside my head. There's always a way out of places like this, though. Father always said that no dungeon is unconquerable. I'll continue this entry the next time I have a chance to rest.

I saw Mikhail today. He was at the top of the staircase, this wistful smile on his face. It looked like he was talking to someone, but there was nobody there. I chased him up the stairs and when I got to the top, he was gone. Was he ever really there? Were him and Derrick ever really there? No, that thinking's no good. I'm starting to slip. I have to keep moving. I found some sort of armory on this floor and the people responsible for cleaning the palace. I don't know how better to describe them than shadows taking the form of maids. They didn't even seem to register my presence, instead just going along their way cleaning everything in sight. I managed to jam the door shut. I'll stay the night here, equip myself with some armor and weapons, then continue. I think I'm reaching the top. I have to be. There's people outside waiting for me like Father and Mother and…and…. I can't remember who else.

Date - 3rd of Ovenar, Liaday. 9th Year of Our Lords

Location: The Palace of Dreams

5th Day of the Expedition

My rations are all gone. I woke up this morning and the last bit I had in my pack had disappeared, along with the water I found yesterday. It's this dungeon, it's toying with me. I can feel its smug gaze, watching me go higher and higher. I grabbed a sword from the armory and some leather armor. Anything else would only weigh me down. I've given up hope of escaping. Instead, I'm coming after the Overlord of the dungeon. If I kill him I can go home. I'm nearly there anyway.

It's easy, right? All I have to do is kill him and I get to go home to-

Head is hurting, I shouldn't be thinking of things like that.

What was that?

I heard something down the hall. Whispers in the dark, laughter. It's the dungeon, laughing at me. I'll kill it. I'll kill it. I'll kill it.

[Just underneath the next portion of this journal entry are faint fingerprints, seemingly made with blood.]

I killed Derrick. I stabbed him, right through the chest. Was it Derrick though? It could be another illusion. The body hasn't moved yet. He said he wanted to tell me something before I stabbed him. What was he trying to tell me?

It was Derrick.

It wasn't Derrick.

I killed him

I didn't kill him.

I'm slipping. I want to go home. I want to go home. I can feel myself slipping. I want to go home. I want to go home.

Who am I?

Date - Sometime

Location: ??????

The End

In a dead god's palace it watches.

I can hear its ebbing heartbeat.

In a dead god's palace it watches.

I can smell its dying breath.

In a dead god's palace it watches.

I can see its baleful gaze.

In a dead god's palace it watches.

I can taste its rotting flesh.

What is undone can never be done.
What is made can never be unmade.
The end is the beginning, and the beginning is the end.

The Palace must never be opened.
The Palace must remain shut.
Trap the dead god within his slumber.
Or all will be for naught.

I stared into a dead god's soul and in it I saw nothing.1

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