Though he seems reluctant to write, Owl has done us great service in
agreeing to keep this journal so that we may learn from his experiences. As
a Scout, his impressions of our world are highly accurate and detailed, giving
us an unequaled view of our land. Many will learn from this account.
The Scholars here at the Library say it's important for us to keep records of some kind. I guess they feel that the songs the Troubadours sing are not enough. Dwarves always take everything far to seriously. I am known to my friends as Owl, and to others as "that Dinganni over there" I prefer what my friends call me. I chose the name Owl for several reasons. Owls see everything, and are silent. There are others, but they are personal.
I am currently on a mission of justice, seeking to bring the Code to a renegade and thief. It began when my chieftain told me to journey to the village of S'Kretha near Lake Vors. He gave me a message for Sa'Histar the Archer. During the journey I met an Obsidiman, another Human and a T'skrang. We traveled together for safety and reached S'Kretha with little difficulty. Sa'Histar received the message and asked us and his student, K'harra, to track the thief.
While on the trail of the thief a pair of horsemen threw Sa'Histar's talon at me and rode off before I could respond. I must assume that he is dead and that the thief now has yet another crime to answer for. We later encountered some of the thief's minions and imprisoned them in their own tent. (so they could not warn their master) The T'skrang Tristam proved his worth as a warrior on that day.
The next day we found the abandoned fortress where the thief was hiding. He has fallen far, to willingly seek walls to hide behind and a roof to sleep under. His minions were able to slow us, and hurt many of us, but, with the aid of an escaped prisoner, we defeated them. Unfortunately not before the thief revealed his true cowardice by abandoning his men to be killed.
The spoils of war included fifteen horses, three for each of us since Auryxos, the Obsidiman, cannot ride. I worry about him sometimes, our foes see him as a threat and so attack him first. While he is a mighty warrior, Tristam is a better fighter and I fear this will cause his death. I do not wish to see friends die.
We lost the thief's trail and eventually had to return to S'Kretha. Our party had grown to include a little boy abandoned by some villagers. They claimed that great evil would fall on us, but the Elf, a Wizard who calls himself Sasquatch, can detect no hint of corruption about the child. We arrived at the town only to spot the thief entering the place, but we could not follow him.
The next day K'harra and I set out to try to find him. Auryxos we left in the camp to watch over the child. The other human, named Forge, was looking for a smith to work with and so Tristam and Sasquatch became our bait, although I did not tell them that. Those two, it seems, cannot help but draw attention to themselves and so we hoped they would get a reaction from the thief. The mercenaries who worked for the thief found them instead, and Tristam could not ignore their taunts. When T'skrang of house Ishkarat arrived to stop the fight Sasquatch attacked them with his magic. K'harra and I thought they would be killed or imprisoned, but they escaped. K'harra ran back to Auryxos and helped them to escape while I watched for pursuit. Fortunately it was too little too late.
K'harra and I returned to town and took a room in an Inn, I must remember to do something appropriately unpleasant to those two for making such a thing necessary, and began to investigate those things Sasquatch learned from the thief's journal.
We eventually met a merchant who occasionally deals in rare books and an Ork who saw the thief. Armed with new information we determined to go to Throal as the thief was on his way to the Dwarves' great library. The Ork seems remarkably calm and stable compared to those who live on the plains between Kratas and the Mist Swamps, and we have asked him to join us.
I had told Auryxos of certain subtle signs he could leave for me and so we found the remainder of our group in the woods west of the lake. With them were two Windlings. One speaks almost constantly (so now Tristam has someone to talk to) and the other never speaks at all. I wondered about this one, she can write and her name apparently is Ruis. There is something wrong with her, unlike other Windlings her flesh is black as soot, (most of them are more colorful than that, I think.) I still wonder what happened to her. The other Windling proved his worth several days later.
We sold our horses to a merchant and took passage on a small T'skrang riverboat bound for Throal. We didn't get that far. The captain of the boat was a skilled liar and also a slaver. He drugged our food then captured us and several of the newer members of his crew. We awoke in the hold of a larger riverboat and began looking for a way out.
We did not escape until we received aid from one of the captive crewmen. He
never told me his name, but he is an Ork who follows the Liberator
discipline. He was able to remove our chains after dark, and we staged a
break-out. K'harra and I blocked the door to the below-decks cabins at the
rear of the boat while the Liberator, Forge and Auryxos lead the captives in
a break-out attempt. Sasquatch, Tristam and Ra'ak (our Ork Swordmaster)
delayed some of the reinforcements. The other Windling (he calls himself
Ridley Lightwing and his discipline Windmaster) attacked the captain on the
top of the pilot building at the rear of the boat and killed him. We all
escaped after Ruis and K'harra managed to gather our small group's possessions.
On shore K'harra and I hunted for food and Ruis found edible plants to keep
us alive for the rest of the night. We discovered a village the next day and
then began the overland trek to Throal. The slavers definitely owe us for
the money they stole from us (over 800 silver pennies) and need to be
removed from the world for everyone's good.
At Throal we were well received, and eventually found work with a caravan on
it's way to Kratas. K'harra had learned that the amulet came from a fallen
Kaer in the Servos Jungle near that city and we have decided to investigate.
The caravan was quite large and the journey uneventful. Fortunately my
people have set up a trading post within a few days walk of Kratas and so I
was able to return Sa'Histar's talon to the tribe. K'harra and I also
received training in our disciplines here. The child will be sent to my parents
where he will be well cared for.
Tristam and Sasquatch are idiots. While standing watch on our camp (As we
traveled into the Jungle) they were attacked by 3 lions. They drove the
lions off and then actually chased them into the jungle to kill them.
We found our first Horror-creature yesterday, or perhaps it found us. The thing let me pass while I
was scouting our route and attacked the main party from the trees. It nearly
killed Auryxos and K'harra, but we managed to escape. It started to come
after us through the treetops and Auryxos recognized it. Because of this we
knew that it would be vulnerable to fire and Sasquatch quickly killed it
with fire-magic. The local tribesmen are very impressed by our ability to
destroy a "gitta" without loosing anyone and have invited us to rest in
their village. I wonder if they realize how much of it was luck?
We've found the entrance to the Kaer. It's thirty yards up a cliff and we
will climb it tomorrow. The town itself is nothing but low stone
foundations, but it is the clearest area in the Jungle that we have seen, so
we camp here. Everyone has recovered from their battle with the horror
construct and Ruis looks particularly upset about something. It's hard to
tell why without her talking, but K'harra learned that the Horror which
destroyed this Kaer had the power to steal abilities, as her voice was
stolen. I'll be sure to keep an eye on her, she is a good companion and I
don't want her to get hurt.
I was wrong. The others decided to climb the cliff that evening. We have Entered the Kaer, and my concern over Ruis grows greater. She is clearly disturbed by all of this, and I wonder if she will survive our journey (emotionally). Last night she returned to our camp near dawn, and was quite tired. I think she had been out dancing in the trees for much of the night. I know that tends to calm her down, but it is still quite dangerous, and a sign that her good sense and humor are being overwhelmed by her experiences.
The upper levels of the Kaer were empty, save for the remains of the defenders, long since dead. Perhaps the most disturbing thing we found was what I assume to have been the families of some of the defenders. They were locked in a room and did not die from violence, I suspect they starved rather than face the Horror.
The main part of the Kaer was below, reached by a cunning ramp concealed in the floor of the main chamber. The ramp opened onto a short hall which lead into the main living area of the Kaer. Searching what appeared to be the main administration building of the Kaer turned up little save the scattered bones of the Kaer's former inhabitants. Ruis did find an Ivory scroll case which contained a complete map of the Kaer. The main living chamber is the chamber of Garlen. Other chambers are dedicated to Thystonius on the upper level, with Astendar, Garlen, Jaspree and Mynbruje on this one. Tristam and Forge decided to search the houses and found some silver, as well as two hungry Lightning Lizards. Forge apparently suffering a bit more from the attentions of the creatures than Tristam.
The chambers of Astendar were many small rooms rather than one large one, with each room dedicated to different activities: Love, Conversation and Music were the most common. The chambers of Mynbruje seemed to be meeting rooms (perhaps for the settling of disputes?). Last we went to the chambers of Jaspree and found life rather than death. The gardens of the Kaer are still living, and here we found fresh fruits and clean water. We will camp here for the night as the light crystals are dimming, leaving only the light of the glowing moss on the ceiling.
We are out again. There was a brief encounter with some Ogres in the Chamber of Jaspree, but we all survived. Sasquatch needs to learn when and how to relax, he certainly doesn't respond well to thrown fruit.
The remainder of our days exploration involved searching the storage caves of this Kaer for signs of what happened, We found most of the stores empty or filled with rotted foodstuffs. In one chamber we found the wine cellar of the Kaer and in another the bodies of the heroes whose abilities the Horror stole. K'harra found a record in Throal suggesting that these adepts killed themselves to place a blood curse on the horror. I do not know if the curse worked or not, or even what it was supposed to do, but we found no Horror. The thing's powers sound remarkably like those of the Horror Ruis encountered when she lost her voice, so I suspect that the curse was somehow broken.
We burned the bodies and left the Kaer, Ruis carried with her the Ashes of the 2 dead Windlings we found and is performing some kind of Windling rite at this time. (I assume it is a funeral rite) I know that Ruis is young, (for a Windling) but I think she may turn out to be one of the strongest of us.
Well, we are off again. Sasquatch, Ra'ak and Tristam are somewhere else now, and the rest of us are going to attempt to find information on the medallion Ruis carries. The wine and other things we found in the Kaer have allowed us to purchase some horses and other needed supplies such as ropes and tents.
We know that the people of Damlon traded with the T'skrang of House K'tenshin, so we are headed there to try to find information. We will be joined by a T'skrang thief, she promises to behave herself.
I don't like this. Our journey has apparently been profitable. K'harra and Ruis have found some information which may lead us to learning the name of the medallion, but that is not the problem. On the trip here we were attacked by about 20 bog-gobs. Forge and I watched the horses for two days while the rest went into the T'skrang city to search their library. The evening of their return we were attacked by six individuals, apparently non-adept idiots. We were able to stop them without killing all of them, and the three survivors claimed to not know what was happening, and denied attacking us.
I suspect this has something to do with the shadow I have seen lately. It may be forcing people and creatures to do these things. We were also attacked in the Jungle (we were traveling to the Cthan village near the ruins of Damlon) by a group of Ice Flyers. We only had to kill one, and knocked out two before I was able to drive the leader and the rest away. Ruis saw some kind of shadowy thing in the Astral behind the leader. I think our nemesis is back, and it is beginning to annoy me.
The Cthan are a friendly enough people (perhaps because this tribe believes we are especially powerful against the Horrors) but did not know anything that could help us.
We have journeyed deeper into the Jungles that before and have found what I suppose could be called success. If one happens to be the suicidal Hero type.
What we found was an ancient building resembling a temple, and within an undead magician. While several of us faced the magician (and just getting to him was dangerous) ghouls overwhelmed Tristam while he was guarding our rear at the entrance of the building. We were extremely fortunate, we kept the thing that magician had become upstairs and destroyed it, and none of those of us who fought the Ghouls died. The "investment" some of us made in Auryxos's living Crystal armor was certainly worth it.
I am in favor of burning this accursed place to the ground before we move on. Sasquatch wants to check out a supposedly abandoned Kaer or Citadel between here and Bartertown, something about the Armor he found in Damlon Kaer. I have a bad feeling about this.
I am not a happy person. We were wakened by Auryxos. He was injured (and did not know why) and K'harra, Ruis and our thief are missing. All of their things except their horses and what they usually leave on their horses are also gone. I was actually beginning to like that thief. We will rest here for a few days until Auryxos heals and hope that our friends return.
We've found K'harra and she is all right. It seems that Auryxos's injury and the disappearance of my friends was not F'thaka's fault (she is the T'skrang thief). K'harra can't explain what happened or where Ruis is, but she assures me they are all right.
We met another Windling as we journeyed here, possibly the cousin of Ruis. She is a Windscout, another uniquely Windling discipline. We got along quite well, but she is now hurrying home to see if Ruis is there. I hope so, it will mean she can finally discover just who she is.
She also brought Ridley with her.
Well we have found the citadel where we think Sasquatches armor came from. I almost wish we hadn't.
The place is difficult to find, seeing or even approaching is almost impossible, I presume because the magic used to defend the place still works. Sasquatch refuses to offer ideas on it and he's the Wizard!
It is also infested with things. Sasquatch, Tristam and Forge decided to go exploring before many of the rest of us could even see the place, and their recklessness nearly got us all killed, and seriously injured my Silvermane. I don't know what those things were, but there were a lot of them and K'harra was the only one uninjured when the fight was done.
We spent several days healing outside the city, and I have made a passable map so we can return somewhat easier than how we arrived (most of us can no longer see it, but we do remember the fight). I am surprised that nothing came out of the city. Those walking mouth things surely cannot be the only dangerous creatures within a city two miles on a side. Perhaps the cities magic keeps them in and so protects the rest of Barsaive from whatever destroyed it.
We have reached Throal. Our journey here was interrupted by the Broken-Fang Orcs. Fortunately they were not out looking for a fight and we passed an energetic evening in their camp. Forge reacted better to them than he has to Orcs in the past and Tristam tried to out drink their best Orc. He, of course, failed but he did help us make a good impression.
Tristam certainly knows how to get into trouble. He seems to have insulted a Swordmaster last week and is going to fight him tonight in Throal's auditorium. The matches rarely end in death they say, so I am not too worried about it.
Betting on Tristam is certainly profitable. Apparently the Swordmaster was expected to win, and so I turned 100 Silvers into 130 thanks to the Royal Guild of Bookmakers. An Orc archivist named Ela Pono has approached Auryxos about a job here in Throal. We met with the "important person" involved tomorrow. I guess that is a good thing as many of my companions are out of funds again.
I really do not like this, but I guess I can live with it. We have been hired through one of the apprentice archivists at the Great Library. Our employer is an Orcish woman named Ela Pono and she is acting as guide and translator for our journey. Apparently a copy if at least part o Captain Westhall's map of the underground route from the Coil river to Throal has been discovered and we are needed to help verify it's accuracy and to bring it up to date. We have sworn a Blood oath to keep this all a secret for a year and a day, so I suppose these entries in my Journal cannot be given to the Great Library for some time.
We are Traveling by raft and have two of the T'skrang known as Pale ones for guides. The Raft itself is interesting, being twelve feet wide and twenty feet long it is large enough for all ten of us and our supplies. The raft is made of a bone framework covered with tough hides and is filled with some sort of inflated Bladder, making the raft amazingly lightweight for it's size and extremely buoyant.
I do not like this. We became lost near the edges of Braza's Kingdom and were attacked by Cadaver men and some sort of Fungus-beast or construct. They were accompanied by a large Troll-girl who apparently was an Elementalist. We won the fight but if this is what traveling near the fringe of the old Dwarf Kingdom I am almost afraid to wonder what might dwell further into that place. Fortunately we will not find out as we plan on avoiding it entirely if possible.
We have finally left the borders of Braza's Kingdom for the supposedly safer tunnels and caverns. Before we left we apparently camped within the lair of a pair of Jehuthra. We did all right, though they did nearly kill Auryxos, fortunately Sasquatch's luck held and we chose the right passage (within the webs these creatures seem to be able to create at will) and found him before the second beast killed him.
I've been reading over this and realizing that I've been repeating myself. But I still don't like this at all. We have reached the end of our map, in a vast underground lake called the Great Dome of Yestrivah. Being past the dangers of Braza's kingdom had me feeling much better but what we have found disturbs me even more than things associated with Horrors. We have seen evidence of the Evil Name-Givers can perform on their fellow beings here.
We have discovered the remains of a Pale-one Village. It has been attacked by Dwarves, Throalic ones by their clothing and at least one Orc was part of the raiding party. Other Dead were pale ones, but the young were missing as were the old, and we do not know what happened.
We have learned who had destroyed the 3 ruined villages we have found thus far. K'harra said it best, I think: "Tail-less, slaving K'tenshin bastards." Apparently the T'skrang House of Nine Diamonds have been able to get at least this far up under the mountains with at least one of their ships, and have used their firepower to aid another tribe of Pale-Ones in the enslavement of the locals. Why we do not know, but we are extremely upset, and interested at the same time, for they must know the way out, and may have the other half of the map showing Captain Westhall's route.
Believe it or not, I am worried about Tristam. He has been spending a lot of time speaking to one of our guides (A female who's name I did not catch) and she was killed in the fighting. I suspect it was Ridleys quick intervention that kept them from doing even more damage to her than they already had, and somehow Tristam acquired a Last-chance salve, so she lives. Tristam's reaction to her is rather intense (as is everything he does) and I have to wonder about his concentration in any future fight we may have with the K'tenshin and their allies.
The leader of the village (I think K'harra called her Shivilahala) certainly surprised some of the group by asking K'harra if she is a Questor of Mynbruje. When she said yes, I had to wonder if they were blind. I did not know she was a Questor, but something certainly happened to her while she, Ruis and F'thaka were gone, and the medallion she had made in Throal has Mynbruje's Balance engraved on it.. So It was obvious something was happening. K'harra was asked to sit in judgment on the raiders we captured and they all were sentenced to death for murder and slaving.
It is wonderful to e able to see the sky again. When we return to Throal I am going to camp outside of Bartertown near where the caravan's form up. It will not only be more comfortable than those caves, but will be less expensive, as my tent is paid for and those inns definitely aren't.
Through Good fortune and with help we were able to defeat the slavers and the Dwarf's who were working with them. We have captured the Riverboat and, in exchange for the Dwarves (of a renegade and outlaw house apparently) and the silver they had mined we are on our way back to Throal with the full map of Captain Westhall's route.
Well, I can certainly say that Tristam and Sasquatch are brave. Dumb at times, but Brave.
They decided to challenge all comers to a duel in the Arena at Throal. (the Dwarfs call it The Great Auditorium or something like that.) Their opponents were a pair of experienced Swordmasters and even then those two idiots nearly won. I will leave it to Tristam or Sasquatch to tell the tale of their defeat.
We have been in Throal for several weeks now, K'harra has moved out of that big hole in the mountain to a Tent next to mine, but the others seem to like living under all of that rock. Tristam says we may have a job offer. Something about meeting a merchant in Bartertown, I meet Tristam at the Gates of Throal at noon tomorrow.
Well the job seems simple enough, or it did until today. Getting here, however, had just a few complications.
We are working for a Dwarf merchant named Charboya (or something like that) and he wants us to deliver some messages and letters to his home town of Hanto. Apparently Forge is from the same village, and we agreed to carry the letters and return with replies for a total of 1000 silvers. The journey was easy enough, we carried plenty of food with us so I was not spending nearly as much time hunting as I usually do. After several days of travel we encountered an Orcish man. He is the headman of a small mixed-race village along our route named Cherry Pit. He was amazingly friendly as were all of the villagers, as it turns out the whole village is proof that living within walls rot's the brain.
During the night villagers from the neighboring village of Yellow Spring attacked Cherry Pit. We had been placed so that we would be closer to the attackers than anyone else during our sleep and we quickly drove the attackers off, killing one and capturing all of their horses.
K'harra and I went to Yellow Spring to determine what we had stumbled into, as the local headman was too busy gloating over his victory to explain. The headwoman of this village was just as bad, I returned her beasts and dead before we left. Their unwillingness to even consider reason and scoffing of K'harra's position as a Questor was all deeply disturbing. Both villages are the same, filed with the spirit of Vestrial and Raggok, rather than with those of more healthy passions. I was sorely tempted to use the money gained from our last expedition to rid the world of this blight, but thought better of it. Instead I will tell every Troubadour and Questor I meet of the fools in Cherry Pit and Yellow Spring. If they wish to kill and die over open grassland more than big enough for both villages then their foolishness should stand as a lesson to the rest of Barsaive on how not to behave. Unless, of course, a person wishes to b! e known as an ass.
It was the next night (last night) that we received more disturbing news. We had camped for the night as usual and set our watches. K'harra and I had the last watch when we both heard the sound of a blade being drawn. I quickly sought cover while K'harra began waking the others. We were attacked by archers who first fired some sort of arrow/oil pot device at our fire, lighting up the area we were in quite well, but not revealing out attackers. A female voice called out for us to surrender and so, of course Tristam and Sasquatch, (followed by Forge and Myself) charged.
There were only 3 of them: A Human girl with a sword, a Human boy with a bow and a young Orc with a bow. The human archer was stopped by Sasquatch, Tristam engaged the Orc and Forged tried to tackle the girl. (nearly succeeding but landing rather gracelessly in the trench the were concealing themselves in) It was the girl who demanded our surrender and with K'harra and myself standing on the lip of the trench ready to shoot, Forge engaging her one effective companion and Sasquatch preparing to cast another spell, the girl decided to accept my request that they surrender.
Her name is Aetheela and she is a Wizard. Once we managed to get them into the light I could see how badly hurt they all were. Aetheela promised not to try to escape and I untied her. (she is my prisoner, not any of the others, although they untied the Orc while K'harra saw to the boy) As I was saying they are all hurt, rather badly really and they have almost no equipment. They d have the same kind of Bronze medallion that Charboya gave us to Identify us to the villagers. They are apparently the remains of the first messenger group. what we learned form them I extremely bad:
We will rest here for a day. In truth we do not need to, but I think that Aetheela can be trusted. she did not turn to banditry because she wanted to, but to have a chance at survival. I can forgive her the banditry, the truth is that I kind of like her. I really want to give her, her brother and their companion a chance to heal up a bit before we leave them. I want Aetheela to take my spare horse and both mules back to Throal with a message for Charboya about the Legion. I also want her to wait here for another two to three days before leaving so we can add messages to Charboya about what is happening and what we are doing. I hope she accepts, I fear we may need help.
I really don't like the Grim Legion. These supposed horror fighters have cadaver men as guards! They have the entire village under quarantine and I think my anger at those, I hesitate them to call them people, is affecting my judgment.
I went and did something stupid. After letting them think we had left we circled around to the woods and set a concealed camp. Late last night I snuck into the village with the help of Sasquatch and looked around. The problem is that spell he calls "leaps and bounds" wore off before I could get out again. While trying to create a distraction (by causing their horses to make noise and run loose) I was spotted and only barely managed to evade pursuit. (I definitely must improve that sprint talent I just learned) Unfortunately that stupidity of mine did not even gain us any real information, and I am unsure about what our next action should be.
K'harra and Forge have gone into the village. We know that under the quarantine they cannot come out until these horror loving hypocrites decide that their quarantine is over. Fortunately Ridley is back from giving Aetheela my message (I was right, she stayed and kept her word) and so Aetheela and company are on their way to Bartertown. I know that Charboya will bring reinforcements, but I fear it may not be soon enough. Ridley allows us to quietly get messages in and out of the village and what K'harra has learned is not good.
It is fortunate that K'harra left her Questors medallion with me when she entered the village, I doubt our foes would respect her status. Their leader is an Obsidiman, and is crazy. Apparently the claim is that a girl barely into her teens is horror tainted simply because she has started showing unusual magical powers. I show unusual magical powers at times and I know that being an adept does not make one horror tainted. I don't believe it in this case, at least I won't without some actual proof. The second in command is an Orc, a warrior type although I do not know his discipline. He is apparently sane but ambitious and aggressive. The others we know little about save their races: another Orc, a couple of Humans an Elf and a Troll. That plus the two cadaver men is enough to destroy this village completely and I suspect their leader is getting impatient.
Thanks to K'harra we know where whatever happened to the girl happened. It was in a small cavern nearby and within it we found an old tome which talked to us (I don't understand it, but that's what it did) and a small statue of a Dragon. We have no real ideas about how to get the legion to leave peacefully, and I am worried that they will do something terrible if we delay too long.
I cannot call this a victory, even if some do. We have driven the Grim Legion from Hanto, and none of the villagers have been injured. It is not enough.
Things started out well enough, we had Ridley smuggle weapons in to K'harra and Forge and then we tried ambushing one of their night patrolmen. (a Troll) The Troll fought no better than I expected, but did fight considerably smarter. he gave ground pulling all of us in closer to the middle of the Village where Forge and K'harra were busy preparing themselves. When we had defeated him the rest of the legion was prepared to engage us, and what began as an ambush became a pitched battle. Their leader turned out to be more than insane, she also is a Nethermancer. Her one spell broke at least four of my ribs, and their Beastmaster came close to killing me, Indeed I think K'harra's arrows and especially the Elemental Magic which Forge had secretly studied are all that saved us. Only Ridley and Forge are essentially uninjured.
I'm not sure I know what else to say. Forge did kill that Nethermancer, but not before she nearly killed Auryxos and Sasquatch. Her minion actually killed him, but no mere Orc warrior could have done it by himself.
No reward anyone can offer is worth what we lost today.
Back in Throal, Charboya was on the road with a small army of mercenaries when we met him on our way back. Tristam is on his way to the Twilight peaks to return Auryxos to his liferock. I guess it is appropriate somehow as Tristam was Auryxos's first companion.
I have been speaking with Aetheela, K'harra and I will eventually be leaving this group for a time, we have unfinished business with a small village north of Lake Vors. I suspect we will need the aid of a magician when we try to find out why those people were willing to abandon a young boy to wander the plains alone. I also have to admit that I think I like her.
Aetheela is not the most beautiful girl I have met, but she is charming, pretty, smart and loyal. When I suggested this to her she said I would have to take her brother the archer as well. I think she would make an excellent traveling companion, but I want K'harra to talk to her brother first.
I also made an error, they aren't as young as I first thought they are twins and no more than six months younger than myself.
Well, Tristam certainly finds us some interesting jobs. I wonder what that Iopan magician was doing in Bartertown. I certainly don't believe the story his henchman gave about secret trade negotiations. We were hired by a merchant to find his "lazy" nephew who had disappeared a few days earlier. We found him chained in the basement of the house across the alley (behind our employers store). After talking with K'harra I believe that this particularly odious family of Dwarfs truly deserve one another. Ah well, it was more interesting than guarding the caravan grounds.
K'harra has to go to Haven. She says she cannot tell me why, but I suspect that it has something to do with her being a Questor of Mynbruje. She want's me to convince the others to accompany us. I figure it shouldn't be too difficult, but I won't bring Aetheela on this trip.
Forge has left for Hanto. He has recommended an Elf to us as a replacement for him. The Elf says he is a warrior. We are also taking another Elven Warrior on (Forge and Sasquatch have both fought him in the Auditorium), and it should not be difficult to get them to come if I can convince Tristam and Sasquatch.
I really do not like Jehuthra. Admittedly this pair was considerably less trouble than the last, probably because they were unlucky enough to go after Tristam first. They were terrorizing a small village called Tureem, and the headman (named Turan) had hired a group of adventurers to get rid of the "monsters" lurking in the woods to the north. Well, the adventurers were two days overdue when we arrived and the villagers thought we were them. We eliminated the things in exchange for room and board. We will leave tomorrow, Sasquatch and Tristam are already telling tales in the common room.
Haven is different. Maybe it is because most villages don't have a wall around them, but this one does. It also sits at the edge of the biggest ruin I have ever seen. Sasquatches city might be bigger, I can't really tell, but to get to Parlainth you have to cross the hills surrounding all of it and can be seen. The forest buries part of the old ruin, but the remains of the walls, the four great roads and several large buildings are all quite visible.
Haven is, by comparison, a small place. I guess it is big enough, and is certainly busy and lively. Hiermon lives above a smithy owned by an Ork named Brenula. He is willing to identify the amulet we found in the Jehuthra's lair in return for a service. He wants us to take a journey to Blood Wood and acquire some Blood Ivy. He has apparently been in contact with people in the wood and has an ancient Elven treasure known as the Everliving Flower which he wants us to trade for the Ivy. Estrialvyn (one of our Elven Warriors) was shocked by the existence of the flower, at least it's existence here. It doesn't look all that special to me, a Black Rose in a crystal box, but I suppose it means something to the Elves, I'll have to ask Estrialvyn about it later.
K'harra spent a few moments with Hiermon, I presume it has something to do with why she needed to come here, and she seems satisfied that she has done whatever she needed to do. Considering the fact that the entire Ruined city is supposed to be infested with Horrors, I do not think I will be complaining about sleeping within walls tonight. Here there is a definite reason for them. Well K'harra is finished so we can see the town and spend these letters of credit that Hiermon gave us.
Things are getting interesting. Yesterday we were attacked by thieves along the road, we fought them off and killed their leaders. Now we are at the Midlands Trading post, an Inn, Smithy and a few other buildings on a small crossroads here in the middle of nowhere. Well we were attacked in the common room by a group of Orcs who apparently were hired to keep us busy. Al'Kathaire (Hiermon's Apprentice) immediately ran to his room and rendered the thief attempting to pick the lock on the chest containing the Everliving Flower unconscious. When we tried to question the thief someone shot him in the head with a crossbow. Something is definitely not right here.
Sasquatch was no help at all in the fight with the Orcs. It seems he's finally heard K'harra's song about The Great Hero Jackrabbit's Duel and has decided to take offense. So he left to go sulk somewhere. After standing a few hours guard Tristam went to go look for him. I am now on watch in the corridor outside Al'Kathaire's room, K'harra is somewhere outside and Tristam has yet to return. I do not like what is happening to this group. We are pulling apart rather than together.
Tristam is an idiot at times, but Sasquatch is worse! We caught up with him last night a couple of hours after dark. The fool actually decided to scout our route for us by riding about an hour ahead of everyone else. The damn fool is lucky to be alive.
We found a good reason to stay together today. A caravan coming in the opposite direction from us was destroyed by something. There was essentially nothing left. Even the bodies were sometimes unrecognizable when trying to determine race or sex. Whatever destroyed this caravan was strong and struck with some sort of fire. The only thing we found worth saving was some sort of torc. It is magical, but beyond that we have no Idea what it does.
If I never have to enter Blood Wood again it may be too soon, and I know we have to go back.
We arrived at Blood wood, and the Safe-conduct (some kind of Rune-stick) carried by Al'Kathaire allowed us to enter freely, or at least safely but that place disturbs me. No not the wood, although it is disturbing, the Elves are what does it to me. They are beautiful, seductive and terrible to look at. Every inch of their bodies (that I could see) is pierced by thorns, no few of them wet with their own blood. We met two of their Blood Warders, both are quite disturbing men, they are incredibly polite and cultured, but they don't seem too sincere about anything. The one we are here to meet, Takaris, has not had time to gather Hiermon's Blood Ivy, and asks that we do a job for him so he will have time to gather the plant.
It seems that a Theran slaver named Fergis Kul is rumored to be plying his filthy trade between the wood and the river. Takaris wants us to find out what this person is doing confirming the truth of his activities. so now we are south of the wood searching for a Theran. I suspect that Takaris has not told us everything.
Fergis Kull is one clever Theran. Somehow he managed to drug all of us, even though Sasquatch and Ren (our other Elven warrior) did not eat anything. I wonder about Ren, he moves much quieter than a warrior should and has a true gift with locks. Ren and I followed Kul's slavers after we had located them (at dusk) and Ren claims to have heard Kull say something about reaching the Warder. When the entire group tried to follow him we were challenged by Blood Elves wearing a symbol quite similar to that on our safe-conduct Rune-stick. I think the symbol was also on Kalourin's clothing or jewelry somewhere. Our rune stick allowed us to pass, but Kul knew we were not sent by Kalourin. (despite the lies some of us tried to pass off onto him)
We are in this villages old Kaer. It is an unusual building as it is a Kaer built above ground level. (perhaps I should refer to it as a Citadel then?) We surrendered to Kul's men, but not without some serious effort on our parts. The effort was, of course, in trying to get Tristam to surrender. Estrialvyn argued against simply charging into the village and attacking as we do not know what is going on yet. He may be a reasonable voice that those K'harra has dubbed the idiot brigade might actually listen to.
Well we surrendered to Kul who took us into a hut and fed us. He is not nearly as stupid as people would like to believe slavers to be, and he drugged something in the room that would put all of us asleep. We awoke in the late hours of the night. the fog surrounding the village could be seen through one small crack in the wall of our prison. Interestingly enough we retained our clothing and armor, but all of our other gear was missing. Sasquatch and Al'Kathaire did something magical to the wall widening the opening enough to have a good look outside, and we saw Kul's wagons vanish into the fog. We eventually escaped the room (a part of the old citadel) and eventually found our weapons and gear on the first level of this place. We know that at least some of the slaves are in the village, and nobody has seen a slaver since we awakened.
We are all stupid fools and deserve to be dead for our stupidity. The only problem is that it was the right thing to do. You see, we went looking for a Horror.
I think I need to say that again: We went looking for a Horror Knowingly searching for a Horror is, of course an amazingly stupid (or heroic, depends on your outlook I guess) thing to do, but it had to be done. You see this village had been controlled by the Horror named Mist since before the end of the scourge. The Villagers wanted us to tell their story, so here it is:
The village was named Akarem and they built their Kaer as a large above-ground building with Burial Vaults and water supplies located in the catacombs below. At some time during the scourge the Kaer was penetrated by the Horror Mist. The adepts of the Kaer fought back and seemed to defeat it. They were wrong. The Horror somehow managed to survive and begin to dominate the survivors. We do not know exactly what happened, but the Horror was able to keep the villagers alive and prevent anyone from leaving the village. We never found out exactly what happened, but apparently the Blood Elf Kalourin had some kind of arrangement with the Mist. The arrangement involved delivering slaves to the village to feed the Horror, and apparently the horror allows the slavers to leave. We know from talking to one of the surviving slaves that it is impossible to leave the village.
The Theran Fergis Kul leads a band of name-givers are as bad as the Horrors he serves. Many of the female captives have been abused, often after being told allowing the slavers to have them would allow them to survive. Unfortunately we do not know where this particular band of Slavers has gone, but If I find them I will kill as many as I can.
We encountered a Spectral Dancer at the top of the Kaer, and Ren managed to get it to speak with us. The Dancer told us how to free the village and that the Horror lived in the catacombs beneath the Kaer. Al'Kathaire's Magic was quite useful, allowing us to be prepared when we were attacked by Ghouls and Cadavermen. The Horror itself was located within a hidden room within the catacombs and Tristam managed to slay it before it was able to seriously harm us.
We carried the Horrors remains to the Shrine of Garlen within the Kaer and found an interesting trap. Anyone entering the shrine bearing a weapon was put to sleep by the magic of that place. Once K'harra and I figured it out (Everyone but K'harra, Ridley and myself had, one at a time, walked in and succumbed to the trap) we were able to place the Horrors remains on the Altar, light the forges and speak the name of the village. The villagers climbed the stairs at one end of the Kaer and all died when they reached the top. The last one told us how the Horror had held them in bondage and our actions allowed them to gain peace. We plan to take the surviving slaves back to their homes before returning to Blood Wood.
We enter Blood Wood tomorrow, the Elven girl Tylia is still with us. She is the last of the slaves and her village was destroyed while she was a captive. I think Ren has tried to begin a relationship with her and has failed miserably. Sasquatch, Ren and Estrialvyn helped her complete her right of passage (she was kidnapped by Kul during her rite) and served as witnesses when she chose her adult name. Because she no longer has a home she is traveling with us.
Kalourin may have tried to have us killed. We were attacked by Thorn men on our way into the wood, and Once we reached the palace he tried to send us away before we could speak with Takaris. When Takaris learned of Kalourin's arrangement with the Slaver to feed the Horror he was shocked and left immediately. As a reward we were allowed to see Queen Alachia before we left the wood. Seeing Alachia was disturbing, she is the most beautiful individual I have ever seen, and at the same time the thorns are disgusting. I really need to get back among real people like Aetheela. We spent the night there at the palace and left the wood the next morning. Takaris warned us that Kalourin has left the wood and may seek revenge against us. I am not sure I care, the wood would be a place of safety against Kalourin, but seems to me to be far more perilous to us in a spiritual way.
I think Estrialvyn is quite good at working with Orcs. We were several days away from Blood wood when a small band of Orcs tried to collect a toll from us. Estrialvyn wasn't going to stand for it and was able, through sheer irritation to make them back down. We spent a pleasant evening within their camp, and set out the next day on our journey.
Kalourin is dead. He had beaten us to Haven and had managed to gain control over Hiermon and Brenula (The Orcish smith who's shop lies downstairs from Hiermon's apartments) He attacked us with Nethermantic Magic and was then hit quite hard by us. As he collapsed the Horror Mist came out of his amulet and attacked us with it's powers of Terror. Only Tristam and Ren were able to fight Back, and Tristam once again proved himself to be incredibly fortunate, killing the mist yet again. (this time we hope permanently)
Someone has found large amounts of treasure within Parlainth. Because of this the prices here in Haven have risen from the merely excessive to the obscene. We have gotten employment with a Caravan to Bartertown, it leaves tomorrow. I definitely want to see Aetheela again, after the Blood Elves, Theran slavers and cursed villagers, I need to see a normal human girl again.