Thursday, March 01, 2007

Exerpts from the Seeker's Journal of Apprentice Seeker Erik Rainier

***


Saten, the Thawing 16th.
Today we were but one day out of the lumber camp. Baruk had been on the creature’s track since we left and today we reached its den. Baruk knows quite a lot about bears and other creatures of the woods, but only I was able to prepare them for what awaited. Though they look very much like bears, owl bears are crazed and wicked. They are twisted by the magic that has created them and are a menace to men and game alike.

We approached the creatures den with care, well knowing that a single swipe from its mighty paws could crush a full-grown man. We set up around the entrance and while Eron and Baruk started shouting to goad the monster out I conjured a bloneg
[1], forming a slippery pool right before them, hoping the owl bear would be to enrage to pay any heed to its presence. As planed the beast came to the cave’s entrance and rushed my comrades on sight. As it charged through the slippery pool it fell and crashed in front of Baruk and Eron. In an instant Baruk flew into a savage frenzy. His mouth elongated somewhat and his already pointy canines turned into large fangs, and his short sinewy form throbbed with power as his muscles grew in size. Baruk lounged at the beast with his longspear thrusting at the bear with great force. Eron taken aback by Baruk’s savagery hesitated, though only for a moment and joined Baruk in the assault. A moment later, even as the beast had not yet had opportunity to rise, Serindë leapt from her cover stabbing at the bear with her so-called mindblade. In a mater of seconds, the owlbear lay dead at the feet of my brothers in arms and the day was ours.

Even though I was never near the creature, it felt good to have Krowl at my side. When father gave me the dog I thought it would be a nuisance, but he has proven both a good protector and companion.

Wythan, the Thawing 18th.
As we returned to Saron’s Gorge yesterday, we headed for Dorin’s Rest for a warm meal and some mead. Eron offered the owlbear’s head to Dorin as a wall trophy. While eating we where approached by a man in Qu’alan garb. As such it was apparent, that he was a servant of Andreas Villamot, as all servants of that household are from Qu’alat. The man’s name was Lahan and he offered an invitation to dine with his master.

Thus this evening we had dinner with Villamot. Afterwards Villamot presented a business proposition. He needed us to rendezvous in the mountains with an orc warrior, called Gorak. Once there we are supposed to give Gorak a coffer full of gold and silver in exchange for an old chest. The chest is supposed to be locked and I am to ensure that neither the chest nor its contents have been tampered with. Obviously we accepted, as Villamot is a senior Seeker and his sponsorship might well be key to my full admittance in the Seeker’s Guild.

Silen, the Thawing 17th.
We left Saron’s Gorge once again today. Once more we have taken Udo and Valden on. Udo is by far the most capable mule driver I have ever met, even if he is an idiot and though Valden is a solemn and dour person, he does make a fine guard – without him around I would not dare bring Udo along.

Deggan, the Thawing 20th
.
Entering the mountain pass we came upon a band of bugbears demanding a road toll. We set their leaders head on a pike.

Liaith, the Thawing 24th.
Today we came upon Gorak’s camp. He was accompanied by five riders on large wargs. They all bore the mark of “the Sons of Fenris”, one of the most savage orc tribes in the region. We attempted to parley with Gorak, with moderate success. When he saw the coin we had brought he demanded more and Eron’s eloquence availed to nought, as only Baruk spoke the orc tongue. After a long debate Gorak accepted the deal on condition of seeing one among us duel with one of his warriors. Eron accepted the challenge. It was soon apparent that the so-called duel was a lopsided and honourless attack, with no other goal than the humbling of one of our number. Eron was no match for a mounted orc rider.
At least we have been able to leave with the chest and though Eron has sustained deep wounds the worst pain appears to have been inflicted on his pride.

Luen, the Seeding 1st.
Yesterday we arrived at Saron’s Gorge. We where tired and headed straight for the Villamot manor. Villamot was well pleased with the chest and its contents and paid my friends the promised salary.

Mercher, the Seeding 3rd.
My studies on the aesthetics of magic and the applications of conjuration formulae in the invocation of aerial matter and energy merit further research. I must soon write an essay.

Saten, the Seeding 6th.
We visited Villamot again today. He has asked us to explore an old tomb nearby. It is supposedly the tomb of a long dead wizard and contains a manual Villamot desires.
-Must remember to bring Udo and Valden again… they did well last time. Udo’s handling of Pancho is irreproachable.

Silen, the Seeding 7th.
We breached the tomb today. The place is crawling with undead and we have come upon lethal traps. We must be better prepared tomorrow.

Wythan, the Seeding 8th.
Readied with the bloneg
conjuration and a number of enag-unigolion[2] transmutations we dealt with the gatekeepers of the tomb.

Naith, the Seeding 9th.
Today we conquered the last of the tombs traps and guardians. There was surprisingly little evidence to the history of the wizard buried there or to deities or history important to him. We recovered the manual for Villamot and found a number of lesser valuables we will be bringing back to Saron’s Gorge.
I expect we will be returning to Saron’s Gorge before nightfall.

Deggan, the Seeding 10th
.
This evening we returned to the Villamot manor. Andreas Villamot was pleased yesterday with the condition of the manual. Today he has informed us that he is mounting an expedition to an old ruin in the Umbral Woods, for the purpose of excavating it. I have my suspicion of what ruin he is thinking of.

Andreas has asked us to join this expedition to guard his people against the dangers of the woods.
-Must prepare scrolls for this assignment.


Luen, the Seeding 11th.
Today Eron, Selindë and I went to Maras’ store. Aust who had arrived in Saron’s Gorge yesterday came too. He had acquired the barding for Krowl I have asked for so many times earlier. I bought arcane and research components, while Eron bought a load of oil, tindertwigs, torches and alchemist’s fire. He really takes the troll threat seriously.

Baruk and I took Aust and his friend Amrod to Andrea’s house. Andreas took them on as I vouched for them.

Coming home I prepared a scroll with the Isgrid-Fenidion
[3], Kanfod-Gwenwin[4], Dilo[5], and Klau-Swinion[6] incantations.

Maith, the Seeding 12th.
We have just ventured into the Umbral Woods and true to the spring the place is now home to trolls. Making our way to the ruin we were ambushed by a troll. Out of nowhere came a spear striking me in the shoulder. It was a heavy blow but I stayed on my feet.

Before I could react Eron lead all the warriors of our group into the undergrowth to engage the troll. I was appalled at this. I usually see Eron as a level headed battle leader with a nose for tactics and with a sense of us all working as a cohesive unit. Today it was all glory seeking and every man for him self. It was fortunate that this was a single forest troll. As far as I have heard at the logger camps forest trolls favour ambushes and attack in groups. Had there been two trolls in stead of one Aust and I would have been dead. No doubt about that.

- I shall speak with Eron about it tonight. We need to act as a unit. The warriors protecting the spellcasters and offering cover to us so that we may neutralize enemies at range. Today it would have been too easy for an enemy to divide us and take us out one by one.

Gwener, the Seeding 15th.
The ruin has been secured and we have set up camp. Baruk will be heading out onto the trail to hook up with Villamot and his men.

Saten, the Seeding 26th.
Guard duty is tedious. We are not getting much sleep and Villamot’s people have yet to make any significant discoveries.

Saten, Sharythal 6th.
One of the workers died today. He came upon a hollow which was a hive for a swarm of centipedes. The poisonous vermin killed the man almost instantly. Eron and I took many bites and are weakened by the poison, but we will recover with time. The worker; whose name was Tannen, will not.

Wythan, Sharythal 8th.
Today the workers have uncovered a structure that was buried in the middle of the site. It is a white structure. I have examined it thoroughly with the spells at my disposition. I have discovered an inscription in the Auran tongue saying “Praise our Lord in the High”. Aust has ascertained that this refers to Chan, the Prince of elemental Air. We will rest and prepare tonight and breach the temple tomorrow.

Naith, Sharythal 9th.
It was a complete and utter disaster. Damn the fools!

It all started out well enough. We entered the building after having said the right praises to Chan. We discovered a trapped altar infused with necromantic wounding power, which would lash out at any who touched it. The magic and visible rails on the floor where telltale signs, that the altar was hiding a hollow or a passage. We moved the altar just to find a stair leading to a hidden cellar.

The cellar had traps and guardians, two ethereal marauders to be more precise. The beast brought down Amrod as he was searching for traps, but Baruk rapidly killed one and the remaining creature fled into the ethereal plane and was not seen again.

At that moment, one of the two doors of the cellar was rent by a foul undead guardian in the room behind. We knew nothing of the foe before us; save that it was large and had claws the size of sickle-blades. Our warriors had assumed a crescent formation around the door as is typical in this kind situation… Suddenly without warning, or apparent, thought Baruk rushed the creature forfeiting whatever tactical advantage we had. Baruk was almost cut down with various claw lashes before he’s longspear came within reach of the monster. Eron and Serindë rushed to his side, but found themselves in over their heads. I lead down a covering Tiwilu-Tarth
[7] that they might retreat. Baruk, then Serindë and last Eron, retreated to the cellar where Aust started healing their wounds. The assumed the crescent formation around the door again to prevent the beast from entering the room. While we used whatever weapons and spells we had against it, it became painfully clear that we were in no condition to fight the monster. I counselled a retreat to the temple chambers, where we could shut the stair close and ensure the safety of the workers above. While Aust, Serindë, Amrod and I had retreated Eron and Baruk hesitated and the thing came at them making retreat all but impossible. In the fallowing moments panic ensued and we threw everything but the kitchen sink at the guardian, and somehow we managed to get out of there alive. We shut the cellar close and withdrew to the camp.

I foresee in a not very distant future, that warrior bravado and recklessness will get some of us killed. I for one am ready to do what it takes to save a friend in dire straights, but I will not sacrifice myself or others for the sake of a cheap thrill or because others fell entitled to gamble away the lives of friends and allies.

- It is obvious that we must take counsel and bring more cooperation to our actions,
if we are to survive as a group!

Deggan, Sharythal 10th.
Today we returned to the ruin… I was fearful. Even though Aust had ensured that the undead creature would not be able to recover from whatever damage we inflicted yesterday, I worried that it would be able to leech on the negative energy within the altar.

We had all recovered well enough from our injuries from yesterday and where determined to defeat the monster. We re-entered the ruin, with Eron taking the lead. We found the monster where we had left it. Eron, Baruk and Serindë rushed the creature as Aust and I assailed the thing from afar. Amrod guarded our flank. Today we worked as a team. It was a great feeling and it worked like a charm. Within a few hectic moments the creature was vanquished and we had only sustained minor injuries.

We investigated the remainder of the ruin. We came to a long abandoned chamber. Within we met an unexpected guardian. We where all filled with a sickening dread and awe. Before is came what once had been a handsome elven sorceress or perhaps a weaver. Now her face was worn with ages uncountable and with the scars of a devastating illness… Now she was a spirit of the netherworld who had cast of her mortal flesh. She spoke with a cold and calm voice. We quickly realised that she did not know that she was dead. Her earthly remains lay in a heap in a corner of the chamber. A golden dome filled the centre of the room and the spirit told me it guarded a portal to a far off outpost. Looking one upon the other Aust and I know we would not benefit from angering the spirit with enquiries to her death and her presence in the chamber and I convinced her to let me enter the chamber to remove the bones that lay within it. We left her in piece hoping to find a way to ease her transition to the afterlife.

Aust and Serindë took the bones to the woods and mourned her and sang songs to her safe passing. Considering the terror elves hold of becoming undead and the importance of burial rites among them I was surprised that Amrod did not want to join them… he seems rather callous and cold-hearted for an elf. I shall have to keep an eye on him, for he does not inspire my trust.

Liaith, Sharythal 14th.
We have recovered well from the wounds of our last fight and we have regained our strength. We have investigated the ruin once more and I am positive we have not missed anything. We examined the dome and I believe the words of the ghost. She was also nowhere to be seen and Aust is sure that she has departed this world. Among her possessions I found a spellbook, which I will inspect when I have better time.

For now we are leaving the excavation site. Andreas Villamot has terminated our contract and paid us a handsome fee for ensuring the safe return of the workers, to Saron’s Gorge.

The Seekers Guild in Dendrith have taken an interest for the excavation and are sending an in house I&E team. We depart within the hour.

Silen, Sharythal 17th.
At long last I am at home again. I have just taken a bath and it really is preferable to the dry sensation of hygienic prestidigitation. Magic will get me and my clothes clean and even remove the odours of sweat and grime, but it is only a pour substitute for the soothing comfort of a hot bath.

Eron took the workers to the miner’s tavern. I stayed for a beer, but really just wont to sleep in a proper bed.

Wythan, Sharythal 18th.
I have placed some orders with Maras today. For the remainder of the day I must concentrate upon studying the ghost-weavers spellbook.

Deggan, Sharythal 20th.
I have mastered several of the incantations in the new spellbook. I can learn much from it. I just need more time.

Luen, Sharythal 21st.
I met with my companions today at Balin’s place. Suddenly Balin comes up to is with a teary-eyed expression! It seems one of the three boarriders we came upon when we headed into the Umbral Woods was a cousin of his. What do you know! It seems dwarves are the most inbred species of Avern. They are all cousins to one another. At least that’s the impression I’m getting thus far.

Balin’s cousin, Mourval, was last seen when he ventured into one of the old tier 5 mineshafts. Neither he nor his companions have been hear from or seen since. Balin has asked us to “Go’ take a look’si!”

We went into the mine and sure enough found their trail Baruk and Amrod are good at navigating the constricted darkness of the natural caverns we found and my knowledge of spelunking and the earthsdeep I expect will come us in handy. Eventually we ventured into a large cavern after having heard screams in dwarven. Sure enough as we entered the cave we found Mourval under attack from a harpoon-spider. The thing had overcome him and it was in the very last nick of time that we came to his rescue. But the harpoon-spider was not alone. It had a mate I presume and soon we found ourselves fighting the large spiders on two fronts. We where fortunate though and soon we killed one of them and sent the second one running.

Mourval was grateful in the grumpy and hurt pride kind of way dwarves can be. He told us about the ambush and how his comrades where lost in the darkness and the mayhem of the battle. The second spider which has retreated into a large chute in the cavern floor might be holding one of them. As soon as Aust is done tending to the poisoned wounds of the others we will be heading after the creature… Seems we are moving out allrea…




*****

We succeeded. We ventured deeper into the caverns with Mourval. He is a capable underground scout and was quite an asset in the depths. We started hearing a faint voice in the distance. There was no doubt either to me or Mourval. It was Allan. I was amazed to find out they had taken such a young boy this deep.

I have met him on a number of occasions back in town he is smart as a whip and a promising mining engineer. But he is too young and inexperienced to go this deep.

We rushed to him and found him in a strange abandoned cavern. In the middle of it right before Allan, who was already in a panic, there was a strange structure. It looked like a small dark pyramid with stairs going up one of its sides. It could only be an old kuo-toa temple. The building had been defaced though, but by whom I still do not know. We had barely come to Allans side when a loud crash and roar tore through the silence of the earthdeep. An enormous insectoid monster stood before us. It was 10 feet tall and 7 feet wide and was all claws and eyes. The thing had four bewildering eyes. There could be no doubt… it was an umberhulk. I had only short time to warn my friends about the umberhulk’s confusing stare before they rushed it with weapons drawn. It happened all too fast for me to understand fully. I stayed back with Allan. Eron, then Baruk, Mourval and at last Serindë longed at it from all sides and the aberration collapsed in a bloody heap of torn flesh and chitin. Amrod and Mourval where confused, but they came back to themselves shortly after the thing lay dead.

We have returned Allan to the surface. We will be doing some basic preparations the next couple of days and will return to the kuo-toa temple with Mourval.

Maith, Sharythal 22nd.
I visited lady Amara today. I have planned on visiting her for some time to gain insight into the rumours I have heard about her setting up my meeting with Master Cullen.

I am in need of spells, tutoring and components and thus it was the right time to pay her a visit. She was very friendly and I was invited for dinner with her and what appears to be her lover. He never cared to introduce himself and I dared not ask for a name. He was a man of draconic heritage and I reasoned there was no need to risk a hostile reaction from him. When he feels ready to tell me about himself I will learn what I must.





Mercher, Sharythal 23rd.
We ventured into the temple as planed. Some of the inscriptions defacing the building where in the Netherix writing and along with odd phrases here and there I was able to pick up, and which Aust helped me place in the proper context, they pointed to the desecrators being followers of Morgûl.

Indeed the place was infested with a gang of gahsts and ghouls. Why thy where there and who had placed them so we could not ascertain.

Now that we have time to rest I must spend some time studying the ghost’s spellbook and if time allows I will scribe some needed scrolls.


*****


Deggan, Sharythal 30th.
It has been a good tenday. I have for now learned all I can from the ghost’s spellbook. I have an eerie sensation today. I feel the Night of Dread coming! The next days I do not think I shall see much to my companions as I have yet some scrolls to scribe.

Mercher, Greenwind 3rd.
It was most odd, that I just today finished my last scroll and gathered my orders at Maras’ shop, just to be catapulted along into a new adventure. I was having a good mug of mead with Eron and Serindë, when suddenly one of Lady Amara’s servants came for us. Not just me! We had all been invited to dine with her ladyship. When we arrived Lady Amara’s lover, who goes by the rather innocuous name; Hawk- declared him self the night’s host. Lady Amara seemed content to watch Hawk taking on this new role.

Hawk had an intriguing business proposal for us. An acquaintance of his had given him a map to a far off ruin. Hawk talked about children going missing there and old treasures. Enough I should say to catch the interest of the whole party. But the most exciting part was that it apparently is an incredibly old ruin predating human settlement in this part of Avern – and that it has as it seems never been explored before. There is a catch though; the ruin lies near a town called Diamond Lake. I recall the place being located near the Freecity. We shall therefore travel 140 miles to the west in order to reach the coast and from there cross the 300 miles wide Tyrean Sea in order to reach the Freecity. It’s a long journey and we depart in the morning.

Liaith, Greenwind 14th.
We reached Deepshore yesterday. It is the most southern port in Amroth with a harbour deep enough for caravels and dhows. We got passage on a dhow and will be in Freecity in about seven days.

Deggan, Greenwind 20th.
We arrived in Freecity today. It is much like Minroth or other large ports of call in the heartlands. The journey here was refreshing though. The feel of the cool wind and the salty air. The rocking of the deck under my feet. I can still feel it in my legs and on my lips. I am already eager for the journey home, so I can experience it one more time.

Tomorrow we make for Diamond Lake. It will probably take 3 days. When we get there Hawk has a house there that his acquaintance has given to us.

Liaith, Greenwind 24th.
Our arrival in Diamond Lake was delayed. The roads are muddy from a summer rainfall, which has caused many mudslides in the region. The house we have been promised has been abandoned for years. While we investigate the ruin Udo and Valden will see to the clearing of the yard and the removal of debris in the house itself. We will make do with the ground floor as the first floor looks ready to collapse and offers no shelter as the roof is all but gone.


Gwener, Greenwind 25th.
We venture into the ruin. There are animal tracks. Baruk says wolves. The animals are long gone but we found an abandoned den. In the den we found a lantern of indigo hued glass.

The central chamber is like an eight pointed star. We arrive through southern leg. The remaining legs contain lanterns! From left to right: empty – orange – yellow – green, lit with a magic torch – empty – blue – violet. Obviously a light spectrum scheme. We place indigo lantern in empty leg to the east (no effect).

The room also has a sarcophagus. Runes on the sarcophagus and the portal frame we found in an antechamber are auran!? Style and iconography consistent with Vaati culture. I must find literature upon subject soon. Sarcophagus dais shaped like arrow. We point arrow to green lantern.

Floor under green lantern collapsed. Bug infestation dealt with. We proceed with care. Tunnels under green lead to flooded living quarters. There where traps – we must be more careful from now on. Part of area flooded and housed ghouls. Until now we have found remains of 6 dead Seekers. I should visit Freecity guild house and inquire to their identity; mission logs should hold clues as one was a senior Seeker. Decomposition says they have been dead for at least 10 years perhaps much more. One Seeker was carrying a red glass lantern when he died.

We replace red lantern in left most leg (no effect).

We apply light individually.

Red and orange light – no effect.

Yellow light – elevator opens passage down. Workshops here. Seeker dead in trap. I retrieved old Vaati tools. Work area we retrieved a large red metal plate. It was guarded by an earth elemental. We are up to 7 dead seekers now.

Blue light – no effect. A shaft leads up though.

Indigo light – another fucking trap!

Violet light – no effect.

We have returned home. Udo and Valden have made good progress; the yard will soon be clear. We shall rest for now and return tomorrow.

Saten, Greenwind 26th.
We returned to the blue shaft. We went up to find a rock door blocking the access. Door carved to resemble a screaming face. Amrod triggered a trap that makes the face “blow” strong winds. Winds will push us over the edge and down shaft (+50’ fall). After a couple of tries we light all 7 lanterns and the face-door disappears. On the other side we find a trap room. 1’ wide bridge spanning a 50’ pit filled with metal balls. It looks very tricky. Then out of no where we hear disembodied voice. Then a transparent spirit of a teen appears. He says he is Alastor Land. He says only a trigger behind a large metal door at the end of bridge will allow us to pass. The spirit will help us, but only if we burry his bones in his family graveyard at the Land farm. We agree.



*****




After speaking with Alastor we gathered his earthly remains from the pit below with my Dewin-Dwil[8] spell.

We returned to the old house. Valden and Udo were entertaining guests much to my surprise; or rather a guest. Aust has come to Diamond Lake. Lady Amara told him we were here.

Valden is still making a fuss about the well. Udo and he have now cleared the yard completely and will begin clearing debris from the house itself.

Silen, Greenwind 27th.
Today I gave Valden some coins, that he may have a carpenter come take a look at the house and board up the windows and fix the doors. The house gets rather cold at night. The carpenter has fixed the well, windows and doors. He has also told Valden that much of the junk they have cleared from the house can be used to fix parts of the house. The carpenter estimates that fixing the whole house will take 2 weeks and cost some 400 to 500 gp.

Udo has been working with Krowl, trying to teach him some new tricks. It is still early in the training but I think Udo has a very good handle on Krowl… probably better than I.

The rest of us went to the land farm today. To our dismay the house was a ruin. Alastor’s family have for the most part died of the Red Death a score of years back. They had all been buried at the farm, but the graves have just been emptied. Barruk says it was no more than two days ago.

We went into the house. According to Baruk tracks outside revealed that 5 grave robbers came with a wheelbarrow and that only four left the area running. We figured one was still in the house. We approached the house with care. Then loud growls that could have come from no other creature than an owlbear came from within. Before we could react properly the beast crashed through a wall to attack us. We reacted quickly and with weapons and magic we killed the thing before it could do any serious harm to us.

I observed once more that our warriors are often too eager to get a piece of the action. They get in each others way and communicate poorly. Just after supper Eron mentioned this and we all had a sound discussion on the matter. It is a thing most have taken to heart and I will not be surprised, if I see them making exercises and drills in the yard soon.

Within the house we found a severed arm. The shoulder bore a brand that, Eron says, is the mark of Garavin Vesst. A cruel mine foreman that no longer lives in Diamond Lake.

Amrod Went into town and found out that Mr. Vesst’s mark is born by many people but that the man we are looking for probably is an albino one half-orc named Kullen he and his associates, Rastophan, Todrik, Skutch and a wizard called Merovinn Bask, frequently visit a tavern called the Feral Dog, which lies by the Vein; the main street in Diamonds Lake.
We went to the Feral Dog and Eron had a word with Kullen and his gang. Eron paid Kullen 200 gp for information on the bones of Alastor’s family. Kullen indirectly admitted that the arm belonged to one of his man (by deduction Skutch) and said the bones had been given to a man called Filge, who is living in the abandoned observatory just in the north-western end of town.



Wythan, Greenwind 28th.
We are having a quiet day. Tonight we will check out the old observatory, Amrod as convinced that Filge is a necromancer and I am inclined to agree.

Amrod and Baruk enter the house.

Baruk returns: Report- Many zombies in the house. Amrod will try to find the main door and open from within.

We reach main door. 3 skeletons guard door. They where fitted with heavy crossbows and their bones bear marks from the Red Death. These must be Bemissa, Coldaran and Gertia Land. They all died from the Red Death.

Now we must:
- find Anders Land who died before the plague wiped out the Land family.
-find Filge and make sure he causes no more trouble.

Baruk went berserk on the zombies. Rotten flesh bones and eyeballs everywhere. He is still picking zombie flesh from his teeth.

Found Filge’s bedchamber: Nasty.
Found: Holder on his desk with glass tubes containing odd liquids.
Found: Halfling statue with top hat holding a severed woman’s head on a silver platter (has platinum coin on tongue).
Found: White angel statue with sword (probably from a grave) has name Filge carved into the side.



*****



Shortly after entering the bedchamber some sort of bat or bird flew from its hiding place to the top floor; screaming “intruder!”

Filge was on to us. We ran up a flight of stares, and sure enough Filge was there. He had filled his lab/observatory with all manner of undead servants (an ogre and several dead troglodytes.

While the guys were hacking through the undead minions I trapped Filge in a magical web. The fight was over in seconds, but somehow Filge managed to beat us to his bedchamber and run off with some books and papers before we even saw he had been there. I am sure he must have had help… it’s the only explanation.

Filge had animated Anders Land as well.

With all bones recovered and Filge on the run we returned to the Land farm and buried all the family.

Hearing Alastor calling we hurried back to the Whispering Cairn. We got there just in time to see Alastor open the door for us and then disappear.

Naith, Greenwind 29th.
Well rested we returned to the Cairn this afternoon. We ventured in after having bypassed the trap on the bridge within. Several bones lay under the metal balls and quite a few had valuables on them.

As we entered the final hall we saw fantastic relieves carved into its four walls. In the centre of the room four bridges (two of them destroyed) lead aver a 50 foot pit onto a platform.

The relives were filled with flowing air and mist whenever we approached. They seemed to come to life. They showed the glory of the wind dukes, the coming of the demons, the search for the Rod of Law, and the victory over Mishka the Wolf-Spider.

As we turned our attention to the platform it seemed to activate. Down some sort of elevator came four armoured guardians – Wind Warriors of the wind duke armies. Before we had time to explain ourselves they attacked us. They were swift and capable warriors but Baruk and Hawk were no match for them and they were overcome.

Reaching the platform we activated the elevator and reached the secret burial chamber of Zosiel, a Wind Duke warrior in the service of Icosiol (partly responsible for the creation of the Rod of Law). Zosiel’s voice spoke from the grave, demanding us to speak his name. As we did his sarcophagus opened. Within we found no body, but we found Zosiel’s circlet.

We headed back home and are now laying plans for the next couple of days. We found a letter among Filge’s stuff it mentions a green worm (probably the one we found in his lab) and some “unkillable undead” in a place called Dourstone Mine.

Deggan, Greenwind 30th.
At last a quiet day. It has been long since we had a proper resting day. We visited Diamond Lake. We visited a number of taverns and seedy establishments. Even though it is resting day the general store and the smith where open for business.

We bought some needed equipment and visited a mage called Allustan; an associate of Lady Amara.

I told Allustan that we are friends of Lady Amara and he was quite helpful. We presented the evidence we had gathered and discussed the options we now had. He promised to look into details of our finding and we agreed to come back on next mercher.

Luen, Highsun 1st.
A busy day today! I have sent a letter and the gold Seeker ring to the Free City, and have today made extensive records of the contents of the Cairn. Hawk has been a great help and we will be ready soon for a proper excavation and salvage.

Maith, Highsun 2nd.
We have run into some trouble. The rubble and debris blocking one of the first corridors is too heavy and extensive to remove. We will need more labor and someone with proper engineering skills.

Mercher, Highsun 3rd.
Today we visited Allustan again. He had no concrete information to help us. He mentioned a cult called the Ebon Triad. Allustan thinks these may be the cult mentioned in Filge’s letter. He has no idea who might have set Filge up in the observatory. He suggests we take a look into the Dourstone mine.



Liaith, Highsun 4th.
We visited Ballabar Smenk today. He has no information or help to offer. He mentioned a secret entrance and that there is a cult in the Dourstone mine.

We also visited lieutenant Scunt at the Garrison. He cannot be this “S” we are looking for.

Gwener, Highsun 5th.
We have staked the Dourstone mine out without any success. I made a Forged document and tried to pass it of as Ragnolin Dourstones written permission to enter the mine. The guards sounded the alarm and we withdrew from the site.

Later we returned and I made a diversion with a summoned bombardier beetle to lure the guards away. We entered unnoticed and found the elevator down to the cult which Smenk mentioned.

As soon as we set foot in the lower mine we were confronted by odd looking guards. They were tieflings bearing Baalite tattoos. Three corridors lead out of the elevator room. The two are marked with the symbols of Ba’al and the Lich Lord Vecna. The last corridor bears no markings but must be connected with the priests of Makûll who are the last in the Triad.



*****


We fought our way through the three temples!

First was the temple of Ba’al. We crushed their defences and took their leader, Theldrick, captive. He yielded little information but from his journal I learned that he had little substantial information anyhow. From it I gathered that he is frustrated as the other temple leaders are keeping him outside the loop.

Secondly we made our way through the temple of Makûll. They were actually a series of natural caverns housing a group of fanatic grimlocks. They set a pair of nasty traps for us but could not stop our advance. We killed the beast. They gave us very little choice. It is a shame though. Baruk had their leader Grallak Kur in a bear hug when Amrod took it upon himself to decide upon his fate. All but helpless Grallak Kur was, dare I say it, Executed by Amrod. He could have offered valuable information and his capture could have brought legal sanction to our actions within this mine. Grallak kept a diary of sorts. It was almost illegible but I managed to decipher his etchings. He is without any doubt mad. He carried on about an age of worms and the rise of a great power. He even mentioned Kyuss as an ally of their precious Overgod. It is a shame that we will not be able to bring him back alive, but a do not pity him.



Third we made our way through a maze guarding the temple to Vecna. Small gangs of kenku, or crowmen, laid a number of traps and ambushes for us. We wised up though and eventually defeated them. Within the temple we defeated wizard followers of Vecna and confronted their leader, which they called the Faceless One. All but defeated the Faceless One escaped us against possible odds. As we returned to the elevator shaft we witnessed him making a last penitent sacrifice as he hurled himself into the black pool in that cave.

Within moments a large grotesque creature waded out of the pool. I recognized it as a fiend of the lower planes, a profane servant of dark gods. It is highly resistant to magic and to all non magical weapons. Our only chance to defeat it, weakened as we are, is the use of cunning. We must withdraw and lay a plan for if we go head to head with it now some of us will die!



*****



We defeated them! Yes, them. To my dismay after the Ebon Aspect had risen from the pool yet another of those fiends appeared. We started a fighting withdrawal with Eron, Baruk and Hawk all scoring hits and inflicting deep wounds upon the fiends. We started falling back to a tactically advantageous spot within the labyrinth. Suddenly we noticed that Hawk and Baruk had not followed. We heard distant fighting and then a fiendish roar. Baruk howled for help and we ran fast as we could to his aid. In the moment we arrived we saw one of the fiends falling and suddenly melting away in a puddle of black ichor. Hawk lay bleeding near death, but Baruk still stood. They had defeated both ebon aspects!

We came back up to the surface. To our surprise many miners, even from the day shift, had come as word of our presence in the mine had spread in all Diamond Lake. The workers helped us out and where taking our side as they had no love of Ragnolin Dourstone or the shady affairs within the temple. The constabulary arrived and we handed over to them ample evidence of Dourstone and Smenks involvement with the Ebon Triad. The two where arrested and will soon be sent to trial in the Free City.

Naith, Highsun 19th.
I have been very busy lately. I have scribed many scrolls as I have come to value the versatility they give me. I have studied with Allustan learning a number of new spells and have added spells to my spellbook I have just received from the Free City.

Deggan, Highsun 20th.
Hawk and I have shown Alustan the Whispering Cairn and have promised to escort him to Blackwal Keep near the Mistmarsh. There he is to meet with Marzena, a battlemage assigned to the garrison there. He suspects she might have insight to our experiences and what is going on around here.

Maith, Highsun 22nd.
When we arrived at the keep today we found the place besieged by savage lizardmen of the Mistmarsh. Allustan rode off to Diamond Lake to warn the captain there and bring reinforcements to the men of Blackwall Keep.

We devised a plane calling for me to provide a diversion that would allow the others to reach the keep before the lizardmen could interfere. I circled to the west while my friends disappeared to the east. I created an illusory distraction and filled a building outside the keep which the lizardfolk where using for shelter with magical webs, trapping them inside. Then I conjured a Grave Mist. It was Horrid and I still feel sickened as I recall the agonizing hisses of the lizardmen within. The mist sapped them of strength making it almost impossible to fight their way out of the web. In the mean time the mist drained their bodies of warmth slowly freezing them to death.

My friends could not remove the barricade from the keep entrance in time to enter the keep and turned to fight the lizardmen who where still alive. They where greatly outnumbered but still my friends where far better warriors and prevailed. I took a peek into the barn. I guess there had been fifteen or twenty lizardmen inside. They all stood now frozen in a tormented expression of fear, tearing away at inexistent cobwebs with claws giving in to fatigue and cold. It sickens me to the stomach but I guess it was the right thing to do.

Liaith, Highsun 24th.
We have marched through the bog for two days. We have fought enormous snakes and undead ghouls. Lead by Baruk we have found the lizardman village where they have taken Marzena and the other men.

Inside we spoke with Hishnak the lizardman shaman. He told us his men were ruled by Shukak; a lizardman warrior of great skill and power. Hishnak counselled us to challenge him to a duel. That this way we could spare his people more anguish and end the threat Shukak posed.

Baruk was defeated. He fell to Shukak’s might. Eron was about to fall as well. I bid my time and I struck at Shukak from behind at the opportune moment. Eron survived. We have searched this lace. Marzena and her men are free. We found a treasure that apparently belongs to a dragon, with which Shukak had allied himself with. We took part of the treasure and a strange black dragon egg – “To the victor go the spoils; Huzza!”

We gave the lizardfolk some money so they may relocate before the dragon returns. Now we must make our way back. It will be difficult without Baruk’s guidance. I will miss him!


*****


This evening after having left the lizardfolk we camped in the marsh on our way back to Blackwall. Late in the evening strangers, or so we thought, approached our camp. It was Hishnak. Along with him came a person called Seskitar. Seskitar was obviously a shifter like Baruk. He was lupine in appearance though somewhat older. Hishnak thanked us again for helping his folk and said he had sought out Seskitar in the hopes that he might be able to call upon Baruk to return to life. We offered Seskitar some gold in compensation for his efforts and he took Baruks corpse into the marsh. Hours later he returned and be his side stood Baruk! I wish I could have seen the astonishment on our faces!

Gwener, Highsun 25th.
With Baruk back our spirits are back up and we make fast progress through the bog.

Saten, Highsun 26th.
We returned to Blackwall in the last moment. We arrived as the soldiers where about to flee the keep. It seems the soldiers have been keeping a sick comrade locked up in the basement. He had been visiting the lizardfolk trying to talk them out of attacking and had contracted an odd parasite. He had broken his restraints and killed one of the soldiers. When we entered the basement we saw he had become some sort of worm-ridden zombie, a spawn of Kyuss. We destroyed it and Aust realized the egg we where carrying was infected with the same infestation that had befallen this man. We built a large bonfire and made it a funeral pyre for the dead soldiers. In its midst we placed the egg. As the flames started licking at the egg and began to roar the egg cracked and many green worms like the one Smenk had given Filge poured out. They where all consumed by the flames.

Silen, Highsun 27th.
This morning Lt. Scunt arrived with reinforcements to the Blackwall and we departed for Diamond Lake.

Deggan, Highsun 30th.
We arrived at Diamond Lake today. We took Marzena to Allustans house where we had lunch. Afterwards we paid the Capt. Trask of the garrison a visit and handed him a letter from Lt. Scunt. The Captain thanked us for helping Blackwall and Diamond Lake and warned us that Smenk had escaped on the way to the Free City and that it was reasonable to expect him seek revenge.

Luen, Harvesttide 1st.
The summer is ending and I feel I never really saw it start. Since we left Saron’s Gorge we have all been so busy.

The others are running around like crazy outside training some odd charge techniques. I have made a plan of my chores the next many days. I have many spells to study and to scribe into my spell book and I will have to make some replacement scrolls.

Tonight we visit Allustan and Marzena; hopefully they will have helpful information.

Deggan, Harvesttide 10th.
I am done and we leave for the Free City in the morning. We bring crates with findings from the Whispering Cairn.

Maith, Harvesttide 12th.
Last night ogres attacked our camp while we where sleeping. We managed to defeat them and captured their leader. He confirmed that Smenk had sent them and that he was hiding with the thieves' guild of the Free City.

Mercher, Harvesttide 13th.
We came upon a caravan this afternoon that was under attack from displacer beasts. We defended the people and destroyed the black hunting cats.





[1] Grease spell
[2] Enlarge person spell
[3] Amanuensis spell.
[4] Detect poison spell.
[5] Erase spell.
[6] Truecasting spell.
[7] Obscuring mist spell.
[8] Mage hand.

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