The Adventuring Journal of Teledesic of Haven
|Ides o' Patchwall||At last! my trip is
begun. Left the temple in the morn, a'foot as my new armor has
precluded the purchase of a pony. But methinks I shall need the steel
more than the steed, and with rich pickings to the south reported, I
mayhap might acquire a suitable mount at some later point. Stopped at
the Tower of Sunset to bid farewell and retrieve the parchments I left
for safekeeping (will need those!), then on to the caparisonier, then to
Main Gate. Prayers to Boccob for good fortune, then out.
Am heading to a village ten days travel south of Haven, called "Oakenhurst." 'Tis said to be a comely burg, with good inns and hospitality, but lately bedeviled by humanoids, and the opportunities for activity there should be plenty. Clear skies are making travel easy, and I feel I am less than five points off the bearing, and should arrive as planned. Field rations are suitable (though I miss the wine and roast at Farek's Inn!), and the woods are filled with game; I managed to shoot a fat coney, and the roasting of it was a welcome addition to my even'meal. Ving snared himself a goodly mouse, and is happy to preen before he hunts through the night.
|Ides o' Patchwall +3||Perhaps retaining my old scale and purchasing a serviceable mount would have been a better choice! My bones ache from the walking, and though there is plenty of deadwood for fires at night and Ving stands guard as well as any sentry, the comforts of the garret beckon me back to Haven. But I am determined to return stronger, wiser, and with valuable information for the Archivist, if Boccob wills it.|
|1st o' Ready'reat -7||I've made the midpoint to Oakenhurst, an unremarkable crossroads in a desolate-looking portion of the countryside. Have seen travelers on the road, though not many and typically headed towards Haven. The midway crossroads was tended by neither tollbooth nor inn nor guide, and Ving and I were forced to make a camp about a league and a half further.|
|Ready'reat -2||Traveling remains easy, but the evidence of goblinoid presence in everywhere - tracks, burnt woodcutters' sheds, signs of skirmishing. I've seen no bodies, but goblinoids are well known to drag off their fallen to keep their enemies from mutilating the corpses. Shame: an examination might have revealed size and tribe, and cause of death, plus a review of my goblinoid anatomy instruction.|
|Ready'reat +1||Arrival at Oakenhurst! As reported, the village is small
but well apportioned, with not one but a pair of inns that come
well-recommended by the passersby in more or less equal portion. Rooms
were plentiful, clean and cheap, and the keepers are not prejudiced
against travelers, as we Havenites evidently have a reputation for
cleanliness and generosity, though I'd be hard-pressed to exemplify the
former after near a fort'night on the road and nary a bath. I availed
myself of all their services: room, bath, a squire to scrub the rust off
my mail, a flagon of wine (delicious!) and a joint off the spit in the
common room (also delicious). After a nap, during which Ving hunted the
town square and came back with a sizable fieldmouse, I repaired to the
common room again for a bit of coldcut, a mug of the excellent locally
brewed ale, and to avail myself of the natural tendency of bucolics to
talk. I'm sure there will be some talk of gobinoids, for I saw far more
weaponry bore when I arrived than is the norm for these parts, and
armored militia in drill on the swale.
(later that eve) Approached by the local constabulary at my table as I eavesdropped on another; after some initial pleasantries, the purpose of which I ascertained was the determination of my skills and willingness to exercise them, they opened a discussion concerning the existence of something called "the Sunless Citadel," a sunken castle of sorts wherein the goblinoids pillaging the area have dug in. While the local militia, they assured me, was more than enough to handle the odd raid, the problem had to be rooted out at the source, and the for that the locals were less than enthusiastic. Also, they described a pair of previous freebooters whom have gone to the place: the first, a few of the regions select, sons of merchants and wealthy scions, who took it upon themselves to go and clean the place. I'd seen such foolhardiness among my schoolmates - it is a peculiar disease among the offspring of providence, and I recognized it immediately. Of course, these wooly heroes failed to come back, generating significant consternation among their guardians. Of them, information was highly sought. Subsequently, a band of professionals was contacted and dispatched to this Citadel, to look for the first group and, if possible, put an end to the raiding. They had been gone several days when lookouts reported seeing members of the group, bloodied and rent, returning with at least two wounded toward town. The rangers estimate that they will arrive back tomorrow, and bade me join with them. I agreed, provided they'd have me in their band.
|Ready'reat +2||The barman advised me at break of fast that the
adventurers whom the Constable spoke of would arrive sometime
mid-afternoon; report from lookouts indicated they were bloodied and
lacking at least one member, an Elven scholar (probably a mage, as per
the description by one of the militiamen who'd happened in for a bit of porridge
(later) I finally espied the adventurers, and they have recently seen dire combat by the look of them. They arrived and took to their rooms instanter; they eventually returned to the public room towards eventide, where I observed them. They were quiet, and nursed both wounds and drinks as I watched and talked with some traders. Eventually, the Constable introduced me to them, and they welcomed me to their board. Drinks were had all round, and I answered their questions - the normal fare, where did I hail from, what did I do. Boccob (thank thee!) is not a proselytizer, and I was glad of that, for many do not like to have religion foisted upon them. Methinks they saw me as another warrior and healer to their cause, and were glad enough for that; my dweomercraeft, an added bonus. After a while, they had satisfied themselves that I was skilled enough to travel with them and not likely to run at the first drawn sword, and they announced I was accepted and that we would travel again on the morrow for this Citadel.
After they'd agreed to let me accompany them, they began discussing aspects of the previous foray. It had been the Elf mage who'd died, bludgeoned to death by a bugbear. A savage from the Northlands had also been nearly brained by another, but had survived long enough to be helped by his companions. He looked a bit shaky even now, and obviously sore as he lifted mug after mug of ale to his bouncing gullet. A pair of hobbits and a dwarf rounded out the crew, and with the exception of the barbarian I towered over all of them. They are, however, a rowdy and capable group, and I could do worse than to fight alongside them.
|Ready'reat +4||We traveled a day's ride and a piece south to this sunken
castle, and descended the treacherous stair to the black valley below.
We proceeded deep into the foul place using a map one of my companions
carried, and soon found ourselves in with plenty to keep us busy. 'Twas
good hunting with my crossbow, and my dweomercraeft stood me in good
stead as always.
We fought mostly goblins, leavened by the occasional bugbear. There were plenty of small woodland "twig creatures" as well, who fought gamely if stupidly and whose sting carried a bite that swelled the limbs and rendered them useless. Luckily, in the course of our exploring we discovered a cache of liquid that eased the effect, and we were fortunate enough to destroy several of the foul things. The hobbit druid was mightily distressed by these creatures, though they were fairly easily dispatched. At one point did I become gravely wounded - in my greed, I set off a trap whilst pulling a book of prestidigitation from a case. Boccob was with me that day, though, and upon the Call he healed my wounds enough so that I could travel on. Boccob blessed several of my companions that day as well (though one would nay earn it, more on that later).
Finally, we found ourselves at the bottom of the foul place, wherein we found a tree of both gargantuan proportions and evil countenance. There were more of the stick creatures, a pair of human-like creatures we later determined to be the animated remains of the two adventurers we sought, and a robed tree-priest conducting some incantation. We girded for battle, and the tree things attacked at once in their half-hearted manner. The two pitiful adventurers, slaves to the magic of the tree apparently, fought us as well. The battle was pitched and, at points, desperate, though I dare say the pair of color sprays I held back for just such an event stood us in good stead. We eventually won out, despite an early setback - at the first sign of violence, our hobbit tree priest ran off! Since the battle was already joined, there was little we could do but fight on (which of course we did). But I declare these druids cowards and chaotics. Not only did ours run off in craven fashion, but when the battle turned against the keeper of the Tree, he departed as swiftly as our hobbit, leaving his companions to face our wrath alone. Druids are an untrustworthy bunch, and henceforward I will refuse to ride or travel with one, and watch my purse round them if unavoidable. Reader, I advise: never trust a druid, for they will forsake you in the hour of worst need.
We chopped down the tree and burnt the trunk, then departed the accursed place. Up top, a dramatic change had taken place - birds and animals had returned, the plants seemed to perk up, even the air seemed warmer and more fragrant. The trip back to Oakenhurst was easy, and we recovered our strength in the very same inn where we'd met just days before.
|Mid-Ready'reat||We made ready for traveling
north to Dannon today. Oakenhurst holds little attraction for our band,
now that the Goblins and foul Druids of the sunken Keep are dispersed.
Most have healed a'full, as have I (Boccob be praised!), and the silver
we took off the goblins paid for good horses and tack to speed the trip.
I bought fresh arrows and some food of elven-make that is claimed to
travel well, plus a few skins of wine, later to hold water.
[later] We left midday and put the fine Inns of Oakenhurst behind us as we rode northward. Mayhap I shall travel back this way, and if so I will partake of their hospitality again.
|Week prior to Coldeven||We arrived Dannon late afternoon
after an uneventful trip on the road. Outriders, of Canistan by the look
of them, overtook us on the approach some two leagues out, asking name
and business, then let us pass. More of these held the bridge over
Dannon Creek (the entrance to the town) and patrolled en masse
throughout. They turned out to be Canistani regulars, from the south and
west, apparently of a mind to wrest Dannon and surround from the
Ravenwinders. I've no particular love for Ravenwinders, but neither do I
for Canistani either. So long as things are run smoothly, I care not
which King claims Dannon. One thing of note, however, is that many of
the Canistani bear the eight-pointed sigil of Hextor, and the church to
Him is re-opened, with a pair of warrior priests in attendance. Boccob
has no quarrel with Hextor, but it is best under most conditions to
treat his followers with caution, for they are militant and typically
In any event, they were courteous to our band (though they eyed our demihumans with ill-concealed suspicion), and we separated to enjoy the comforts of the village individually. I knew of a lone local follower of Boccob, whom I sought out. He was glad to see a Fellow, and gave me the run of his modest manor and lab, which I put to good use forthwith, scribing incantations and blessings. I stayed with him at his request, and we had many conversations on both current events and things arcane. He proved to be a good host, and though he had but little he shared all with me as if I were a longtime comrade or visiting cousin. I gave him full value for the supplies I expended, and also refilled his larder and cask when he gave me leave to, by way of thanks.
|Coldeven +7||I spent a goodly two weeks in the company of my friend in Boccob, before Alidar of Kord sent word that we'd perchance have a commission. I bade my friend a farewell, left a small cask of wine as a gift, and departed for the reunion of our group, at the temple of Kord. The Kordhouse in Dannon is a small, fairly abject place, for Kord is not a popular deity here. However, the Master welcomed Alidar warmly, and bade us enter with blessings. He spoke to us of a similar temple, a fair two-day's ride from Dannon, that had been abandoned years prior. Though ostensibly empty, the Kordians kept track of the place, for no site holy to them is every forgot, and now the Master believed that the place had been fouled, though by what he knew not. Bored by inactivity and spurred by coins that leave easier than they come, we accepted his charge to visit the place and root out any trespassers. We made preparations to leave that day.|
|Ides of Planting||Once recovered from the
mission on behalf of the Kordites, news of our apparent success had made
the rounds of the churchmen of Dannon, for we were soon approached by
Dwarves for a mission of similar import. Ulfgar notified us that kinsmen
of his wanted to meet us and ask a boon, and as Lidda observed, the
Dwarves have much gold and jewels and are generous to their friends.
Ulfgar's kinsman proposed that we return with him to Mountain Lake, a
Dwarven community of some size and repute in the mountains west of
Dannon four days ride, and speak with his hetman regarding a task of
import. Having no prospects for new business and eager to travel (though
the Canistani are cordial, they seemingly cannot help but offend the
senseibilities of Ulfgar and Lidda), we readily agreed. The trip
was splendid, with good spring weather and excellent country. My horse,
a fine beast named Thewliss, kept excellent step and bore me easily
despite my armor. As we neared Mountain Lake, the road grew more
difficult and the terrain steadily more treacherous, though it bore
evidence of much traffic regardless. Soon we were engaged by Dwarves
atop huge Gryphons, who seeing our guide bade us follow and watched over
us as we finally came to the village. Though their efficacy cannot be
questioned, the Gryphons, which are of great size and fearsome
countenance, gave our horses quite a scare.
We availed ourselves of the fine market in Mountain Lake while Ulfgar and his kinsman went to meet with the dwarven hetman (I bought travelling rations of a particular quality, and some arrows to replace those lost). Soon the rest of us were summoned, and we took sup with the Dwarven leaders while listening to their proposal (Ulfgar occupied the place of honor to the Hetman's left, I noted). According to the hetman's cartographer and warmaster, a famed smith named Dirgeddon the Black occupied a mountain holdfast some leagues distant, a legendary place called "Stonetooth" for its incisor-like shape. This Dirgeddon was a smith of no small repute among the local Dwarves, and his work is still prized (he apparently died ten-score years back) for its quality and craftsmanship. In any event, the historian told that Stonetooth had been infiltrated by orcs who, failing to gain the place in a frontal assault (the dwarves are expert seigemasters, so this came as no surprise), mined and gained entry though a secret passage, thereby sacking the place. Since then, they have bedeviled local caravans and, despite the dwarves periodic efforts to dislodge them, still remain ensconced in Stonetooth. The Hetman felt that a small band of warriors might win through with a sneak attack and defeat the orcs where a large contingent of dwarves could not - and, he added, retrieve a much-missed blacksmith's anvil, referred to as "the Anvil of the Dwarves" and apparently of high sentimental value and, perhaps, containing some dweomer. With Ulfgar firmly in favor of the plan, and the rest of us availing ourselves of the Dwarve's hospitality, we had little choice but to agree.
We left on the morn, bore aloft on Gryphons driven by dwarves and leaving our mounts behind in Mountain Lake. After near half a day of flying, which was most exhausting, we landed perhaps a league's march from Stonetooth. It is a worthy of its name, a peculiarly foreboding mountain. The Gryphonmaster assured us they would patrol the mountain passes for us each day, and bade us good luck in our endeavor.
After some scouting, we entered the mountain by way of a smokehole; by tying several of our ropes together, we were able to scale the perhaps 80 feet to the cavern floor. We left our ropes in place with pitons, should a hasty retreat be necessary. We found a pair of prisoners, in ill health and much abused, caravaners from the region who'd been abducted by the orcs; we freed and armed them, and they accompanied us as we moved further into the complex.
We came across a large chasm, over which a bridge made of ropes and tethers swung. We attacked the guards with arrows and killed all, though one tried to cross the treacherous bridge and fell. It was an ill omen, for as we crossed the same way, our Lidda, normally so surefooted, lost her balance and fell also. The distance must surely have been far, for we heard her cries for what seemed a long time, until they were silenced. Though we would have liked to retrieve her from that foul place and bring her back to her fellows in the shires, we could not. Alidor said a blessing, and I bade Boccob's eye watch over her as she flew back to Yondalla. Then we moved on.
Some time later, we were confronted by orcs and an ogre on what apparently constituted the "front door" of the orcish compound. The ogre was full of wiles, and avoided both our attempt to lure him down the mountain and my arrowshot. Finally, we decided to to rush them, and found the ogre accompanied by four orcs. Ulfgar crested the plateau first and attacked the ogre with a fury rarely seen; I killed an orc with a shot, and Penumbra did the same. Krug climbed the mountainside and flanked the ogre, a fine display of his prodigious skills. Ulfgar and Krug took some fierce hits from the ogre, but in the end they killed the beast and we were able to save his captive, a comely woman who said she was also a caravaner, and we bade her come with us, for she had information about the mountain and would not hear of being left outside. She borrowed a dagger and followed us; Krug was particularly taken with her, and was vigilant of her wellbeing to an extent we had yet seen (which, I might add, caused Penumbra and I no little mirth, truth be told).
We went back round to the smokehole and re-entered the complex, with the woman merchant in tow. I nearly slipped on the ropes and fell, luckily catching myself (and garnering a painful abrasion from the rope). Penumbra also slipped, and I gave thought to what disaster might occur should we be forced to rush back up these same ropes ahead of some powerful enemy.
|[some days later]||This
foul mountain has all but become our home, for the time we've spent here
and the passages we've explored. But much has happened, and we've come
away from this bleak crag successful and with some coin.
The woman merchant is dead, and perhaps neither woman or merchant - an Outsider, by the look of her corpse, killed by Grey Dwarves, or "duergar" in the Dwur-tongue. Ulfgar never speaks of them, but killed a pair with a viciousness rarely seen, even for a warrior. Krug was maimed and murdered as well. The rest of us escaped sorely wounded but alive, and returned to the dwarven village aloft their gryphons with the Anvil intact.
'Twas tricky business fetching that Anvil. The Grey Ones harried us continually, and are stealthy and doughty fighters. Not surprisingly, we were confronted by ghosts of long-dead denizens here, dwarven spirits uneasily resting, but with Boccob's blessing I was able to fend one off, while Alidar called on the strength of Kord and dispelled another. Penumbra nearly expired after being covered with the spores of some malignant fungus, and I myself was incapacitated by a color spray cast from some unseen sorceror - we never found him. Perhaps he escaped ahead of us, or perhaps he retreated to some bolthole deeper in the mountain. Those who would go their, I bid them be wary of this Grey mage.
We finally came to a low place, filled with water crossed with stone bridges near to dissolution. I was trepidatious in my mail, and rightly so, for in the depths was a dragon, blue of tint, of young age but intelligent and cunning. He grabbed me and held me fast while bargaining with my companions. We struck a bargain with the wyrm - the Anvil, which he guarded in a small passage near the opposing shore of the sunless lake, in exchange for what little dweomercraft we carried. With the monster's claws mere inches from my throat, my companions agreed, as did I. The wyrm then bore me and Ulfgar across the lake, where we fetched the Anvil, gave up various magics, and the beast departed.
We departed soon after, not wanting to pay more tariff to the wyrm, and we made our escape unmolested. The dwarven council was much pleased with our success, and they parted with a bit of their much-prized jewelwork, plus a bit of gold, by way of reward, plus the esteem of the council.
|First week of Flocktime||Upon
return to the Dwarven village, I had more time to ponder some unsettling
news; a bard name of Morgan (I remember something of him from Haven, a
regular tavern draw though unknown to me personally) had but recently
arrived, bearing messages from Haven. The town, he reported, had been
laid seige by a goblin horde, surrounded and in some straights. I
inquired after the Tower of Sunset, thinking it may be that my fellows
in the Temple had need of me, but Morgan assured me that the Tower
remained. My desire to return and bear arms in defense on the Tower is
strong, but I take some comfort in the knowledge that, if needed, the
notice to recall will come swiftly wherever I might be, and it has as
I did, however, receive an odd offer from one of the village hetman. The dwarves are not known for their skill in the Art, and this rather isolated village is no exception. Having made themselves aware of my skills, be they rudimentary, they have approached me on the subject of my staying on in Mountain View after my companions have departed, and serve is the capacity (I assume) as advisor of things Arcane, local Thaumaturge, and perhaps as a healer and physician (the dwarves are prone to fighting and concomitant bleeding). Although 'tis food for mulling, I'm not certain I am ready to settle, and so far from Haven as well. Perhaps a retirement later in life...
|[later that week]||We
have completed the removal of the bone golems from the Shrine of Obadhai, and
met the guardian of the Tree there. Though my distrust of Druids roused
a bit, the expedition was successful, though I was bashed about a bit by
one of the beasts - Boccob be praised for the presence of Penumbra, who rescued
me from their clutches and bandages my wounds.
As we dispatched the last golem (but wondered after some evidence that another creature escaped us...?), Penumbra dislodged a magical farm implement from a tree and there appeared a revenant from long past, the embodiment of the original denizen of the Shrine, calling itself "Valderyn" and claiming life during the time of the "Second Emperor" (perhaps of the Great Kingdom to the North, although that remained unspecified). Although Penumbra fell nearly atop the spectre, it greeted us warmly, bade us thanks, and allowed us to pose questions and ask boons. I did one of each: what shall I make of the Dwur-folk's proposition, and how may I better my ability as an archer and fletcher? The former he answered simply: "The Dwarves are not known for the generosity; any bargain you make with them will likely be more to their advantage than to yours." To the latter, he delivered to me a great Book, the title page bearing the screed "On the crafting of arrows, fletchings, and shafts of superior Quality and Style." It is deep and the script is small, with many drawings and illustrations; I cannot wait to begin reading.
In addition, the shade gave us some information unasked...
wounds from the engagement at the Obadhaian shrine are nearly healed,
and the time amongst the dwarves here has been both enlightening and
maddening. During my convalescence, I did receive heartening news: the
Temple of Sunset abides, and my fellow Havenites have thrown back the
goblin army that surrounded the town. Because I had not received the
Call to Return, I suspected as much, but confirmation of it was good to
I had not mentioned it before, but now I must report that the crag over the Anvil claimed three of our band, all told: our beloved roguess Lidda, Bard Morgan of Haven, and Krug One-Hand. Alidar of Kord, the silent Paladin, Ulfgar the Fierce, my comrade Penumbra, and myself are all that remain. Though Ulfgar is doing his part to remedy our thinned ranks: today he presented us with a longtime "comrade" of his, a warrioress Latifah. She seems doughty and she fits in well; however, her presence does contribute mightily to Penumbra's mirth; she and Ulfgar are obviously quite friendly and, while Ulfgar retains his dour disposition amongst we comrades, he is over-careful to be solicitous near Latifah, which adds greatly to Penumbra's humor. Indeed, the Shadow-named has not engaged is so much carnal speculation since Krug fell at the Fang Mountain, and truth be told at times his gossip has had me near to soiling my mail.
|[later that week]||We
were once again summoned before the high reeve here, at Ulfgar's behest,
and certainly it boded for renewed action; these dwarves are nothing if
not regular employers. But this time, 'twas not the hetman but Verstrate
Aurora himself, 'ported in from Sternhaven! I was near in shock,
Verstrate being well known amongst Ravenwinder thaumaturges as the
fearsome Schoolmaster of the Academy of the Arcane.
He addressed our little band, and told a dire tale: evidently, an old evil had resurfaced, and the magisters of the Academy were commissioning bands of freebooters such as ourselves to go and substantiate the reports. We accepted immediately; for one, we were rather deep in our cups; for two, we were beginning to be overtaken with the boredom of those without any real daily tasks; for three, our supply of coin was beginning to run dry, and in this adventure Penumbra smelled profit, and he is rarely wrong in these matters; and for four, the boldness required to deny the request of an archmage is a rare and rather dangerous courage.
Verstrate allowed us a two-day to put our affairs in order (a two-hour would have likely been sufficient, were it not necessary to sleep off out latest indulgences) and without ado 'ported us to what I believe was the the Main Courtyard in the Academy. And if the prospect of one archmage's charge was daunting, consider the bane of two; not minutes after our arrival, we were greeted by the Magus Herodotus Constantine himself. I barely recognized him; despite his power, his physical presence is rather banal. Nevertheless, he had much to say.
Constantine told of a place known to him some 30 years hence, a temple of "elemental evil," that he himself raided. It resides in the Northern Flaeness, near a place called Hommlet, which is itself near a place called Verbobonc, which apparently is a rather large and well-known city in the NF. Thirty years ago, Constantine (among others) went to this place to investigate reports of various humanoids in the hills and rather extensive construction taking place; a temple was built, but later elements of the Furyondian and Velunan armies won a battle there and destroyed the place, sealing the lower levels off. Nine years after that, Constantine and his hirelings raided the place and destroyed the remaining denizens.
Recently, one of Constantine's informers, a priest of Cuthbert name of Terjohn, reported that monsters had been seen in the wood nearby the sealed tomb; he dispatched a group of local swains, who returned bearing no alarm... yet disappeared subsequently. Constantine seemed incredulous while relating the report, but averred that we skeptics from the southland might be less subject to flights of fancy. So far as he is willing to admit, Constantine declaims that he is sending no other groups; however, he strikes me as the singularly cautious type, and one that would not behave so foolishly in what certainly appears to be a serious endeavor. In any event, he allowed that we might approach the Priest Terjohn when we arrived in Hommlet (though discretion was advised) and that, if 'twas still standing, a public house called the Welcome Wench was the best in the region. We were availed two days before departure to prepare, and I took advantage of the Archmage's largess with regard to his Scriptorium, as well as acquired some exceedingly high quality fletchery from an acquaintance of Ulfgar's.
Constantine later provided us with
further intelligence regarding the temple we were to seek, it's history
Teledesic's Kills List
|4||"Branch creature" (mobile creature, seemingly made of animated wood, disturbed the Druid mightily, poison sting with effect like poison ivy)|
|.5||"Creature of the Evil Tree" (possessed humans, under the control of Druids)|
built by unclefester | sternzwischen | updated 14-05-29 23:15:25