Broken Banners

Merisial the Pirate?
trapped in Piren's Bluff cutting people's throats
CY 592 Wealsun
The confession of Merisial A’ Hahn

Great Geshtai please forgive my sin. The little girl lives but something in my heart has died. I know little of what I am doing these days. The girl startled me while I was trying to evade capture in this desperate town of Piren’s Bluff. I didn’t think, I just reacted. When I saw the blade slide across the girls throat I almost screamed in protest. I could hardly believe it was my own hand that held the blade that, performed such a vile and cowardly act!

I immediately bent down and asked The River Mother’s for healing to save the child’s life. Geshtai the merciful granted me the power to save the child’s life but, will the blood ever wash away?

I tell myself it must be my companions. Their roguish ways have rubbed off on me and I am too complacent in their morally questionable decisions. We are not Pirates by deed but, Mathew Frayne the young captain, and Ayalia the elven wizard, do nothing to dissuade others from thinking the Sea Ghost is still a Pirate vessel. After all, it was their decision and the quarter master Marcus Nimblefoot’s, to smuggle mercenaries into the Duchy of Tehn, instead of being happy with the sizable profit we would have made off just delivering the weapons to Redspan, as we were contracted to do.

Now our the Sea Ghost sits buoyed to the dock in Redspan while we try to prove our loyalty on a seemingly suicide mission! Oh Geshtai what is the purpose of this? Please show me your wisdom. I am not even a full shareholder in the Sea Ghost, why have I been caught up in this nonsense only to shed innocent blood?!

I do know this town is ruled by a Tyrant, that much is sure. It’s location on the beautiful upper reaches of the Zumker River cannot be a coincidence. I have always know from the time I was a young girl that you called me to spread your faith River Mother. Perhaps if I help to free these people from their oppression they will be receptive to your teachings and learn to honor the great river at their doorstep. Perhaps if I help save this town it will somehow help me atone for harming one of their precious citizens. I do not know but, I must try.

I will rejoin my companions in the morning if I can find them. The priest of Beory is harmless enough but he has lost his senses. If I survive this challenge I vow two things:

  1. I build a shrine to Geshtai in Piren’s Bluff
  2. I insist on a full share in the Sea Ghost
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Tethan's Final Journal

The grey frozen expanse of the swamp feels like it goes on forever. I know we have only traveled about four days from Eru Tovar but long exhausting hours of trudging through unchanging frozen muck with fog limiting the whole of our existence to only a few confining yards around us makes every step feel futile. I must remember that as hateful as this land is it is but an earthly swamp and not the hopeless expanses of the Grey Waste we traverse. If we can keep our spirits up and our feet moving we will make it through this place. I just hope that our efforts are worth it, as I’ve written before I doubt the wisdom of using Fiend’s Embrace. Even should it give Nystul the knowledge he needs it will undoubtedly attempt to manipulate us to it’s own ends.

For now I will put my trust in Nystul. He is only hope for Redspan and the Duchy of Tehn whose people have already suffered so greatly. To be put to the sword and the pyre for nearly a decade at the hands of Iuz’s forces while their neighbors the supposed servants of justice and light simply fortified their borders and watched, and then when the strangle hold of evil was finally broken to have those neighbors that refused help march in and demand to rule. Even before this supposed split in their church the Theocracy of the Pale’s actions shamed them.

Before I can do anything greater for them I will have to find a way to survive my ordeal in Eru Tovar where I must defend my “claim” to Kyra against her former fiance. It is more than possible that I will end up being killed in the ring, leaving her no better off then before. When I saw the blank look in her eyes, the utter hopelessness and acceptance of of the life of anguish that awaited her, I had to do something. I have the beginning of a plan, but it depends on many things which are uncertain.

There is much riding on us now. The future of the good people of Redspan, the traditions of Alluna and her people, the life of our own Kyra. maybe even the fate of the Theocracy. I must believe in our abilities as a team. Elthazar, Thon, Katrina, and myself, can accomplish everything that is set before us and retire with a song and a hearty round among those we have helped achieve their freedom. Yes that is a good thought to sleep on.

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THON'S DIARY

AS TIME MOVE FORWARD THERE IS YET NO SIGNS, NO DIRECTIONS, NO ANSWERS TO MY BROTHER’S WHEREABOUTS. OUR BAND HAS BEEN TRAVELING IN THE COLD FOR WHAT SEEMS AN ETERNITY, WILL THERE BE NO END TO THE FOG & RAIN & MARSHES? WE BREACHED COLD STONE KEEP A FEW DAYS AGO, I HOPE TO FIND SOME ANSWERS HERE, PERHAPS!!
MORE WATER, MORE DEMONS, & YET WE SEEK THE WORST OF THEM ALL SOON IN COMING.

I AM PREPARED, FOR SOME HOW, SOME WAY-PERHAPS SINCE MANFLLA & I ALMOST ACT AS 1 NOW, I FEEL MORE CONFIDENT IN MY APTITUDE OF WAR. A FAR CRY FROM THE DAYS OF CARTING WHEAT SACKS, MILK PAILS, AND EVERYTHING ELSE MY PARENTS SOLD, BY THE GODS I SURE MISS THAT LIFE, THE QUIET, THE FOOD, THE SLEEP.
MY BLADE SEEMS QUICKER, MORE TRUER IN STRIKE & INFLICTIONS, AND I FEEL SOMEHOW QUICKER, MORE AIGIL IN STEALTH & VIGOR. I AM READY TO RID THE LANDS OF THIS EVIL FOUL & FRIGID MONSTER, FOR TOMORROW WE SEEK IT.

PERHAPS AFTER THIS MADNESS IS OVER & SOME QUESTIONS ARE ANSWERED I SHALL GO HOME BACK TO MY FAMILY, BUT NEVER WITH OUT QUARTER. MAY I FIND IT HERE.

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The wrong profession
From the journal of Tethan Senh

We have returned once more from the macabre ruined manor in the salt marsh, and once more the experience has left me with deep doubts about my chosen path. This time, at least, these doubts were born not from gut wrenching horrors and the threat of grisly death but rather coming face to face with my own naivete about being an adventurer.

It began with Ned. We found Ned, a scraggly man in chains, held in a locked bedroom. After some discussion we freed him and he betrayed us, severely wounding Matthew. He leaped from a second story window to make his escape but injured himself badly in the fall leaving him unconscious on ground outside. Marcus simply said as it was Matthew he hurt Ned’s fate was his to decide. I suggested if he had been in league with the pirates he may be able to tell us something useful but the idea was curtly dismissed. Without a hint of hesitation Matthew simply walked up to the unconscious man and ran him through.

I don’t like to kill people, which is usually convenient because I’m also not very good at it. However adventuring is a violent profession. I’ve always known that I would have to fight and sometimes kill in pursuit of my goals and in defense of my life or the lives of others. I thought I could handle that so long as it remained a last resort. I had not considered how that violence might affect me over time, and how it would have affected those I traveled with. From the very beginning Marcus, Matthew, and Ayaliya have been honorable and forthright companions towards Katrina and myself. Several times now they have put themselves at risk to aid us and have dealt with us honestly in all things. As such I was taken aback by how casually they were willing, and in some cases eager, to kill. Even men who had been subdued or surrendered. I will admit that in the moment such things did not seem so black and white even to me. The men we faced were undoubtedly killers and pirates. Our only other options would have been to set them free, which would make us complicit in any future crimes, or to take them prisoner which was a risk we were not well equipped to deal with and would result in their execution anyway. Still, knowing all that doesn’t make it feel any more right; watching an unconscious man be run through.

All this weighed heavy on my mind when we returned to the Crimson Pony and were quickly met by the mayor and town council. They wanted to hire our group to chase down and eradicate the rest of the pirates. I flatly refused to have any part of it. I became an adventurer because I wanted bring people together by uncovering shared history and culture, not to hunt down and kill criminals. It may be that I am simply clinging to romantic notions, but then again what good is a bard without romantic notions.

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Thon's thots on leaving again

as i weigh the possibility of leaving this area again, it is with mixed feelings. i have not found out any information or leads or anything about my brother Jahob, his wear abouts his being dead or alive. in my heart i feel he is still of this world, i have to believe this for my parents sake, and my other siblings. dreaming of them working in the shop, all of us like we used to, repairing trinkets, bartering items and dreaming of on day being a part of the battles that rage around us.
perhaps when we return from our adventures, i may harden my search for him, for a clue, for a sign of him, my poor brother. Last seen when the outbreak of the Greyhawk wars, perhaps he is a seasoned warrior by now, or …. i can not think about the other choices.
especially after loosing some close friends in my battles past, i am fearful of our next adventure. it will be cold, it will be fierce, it will be a long time when i will return to these parts again.
Charles is dead, my debt to Alluna is still open, and i am weary of the battles i have fought. my shoulder is i much pain, but my skills as a warrior, as a tracker are increasing in ability’s, as is my use of man-feller, my closest companion. what a wonderest weapon, it becomes part of me as i become part of it.
i am positive as i walk this land that man fella will keep me alive and will bring me back here to continue my quest for Jahob.
for with every kill and the battle cry “Jahob” as i fell my enemies, perhaps the 1 will bring me closer to the other, they may find each other, but what folly is this, a sword to find my lost brother. time to drink same ale, gain some sleep and head onward, into the cold, the dark, the UN-known.

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Facing the Terror of Salt Marsh
From the journal of Tethan Senh

Around the streets of Greyhawk I’ve often heard the saying “Sweet as the Salt Marsh.” It is an ironic quip used to refer to a distasteful or shady situation. So it was always my impression that the land was a fetid expanse peopled by untrustworthy knaves. So imagine my surprise to discover the Crimson Pony, premier inn of the town of Salt Marsh, to be among the brightest and most cheerful establishments I’ve had the pleasure of patronizing. It is run by a half elf by name of Elistil who has an easy manner and shares stories by fire when he isn’t too busy with the taps. Exactly my kind of place. So perhaps Salt Marsh isn’t so bad? Well perhaps not in the town or among it’s people but I have discovered other reasons to step warily in these land.

One week ago my companion Katrina and I were at the self same inn drinking and singing the night away. Well in truth I was doing most of the singing, Katrina was drinking. When a pair of weathered and serious looking men entered and called for Elistil’s attention. In the lead was a halfling with rapier and short sword on his hip, behind him a human with an unslung bow. When Elistil announced they were looking for adventuring companions Katrina and I shared a small smile and I gestured them over. Katrina and I had not been traveling together for long but her parents had traveled with my mother for a time during her adventuring days which made us something of an extended family. The halfling introduced himself as Marcus Nimblefoot and his partner was simply Mathew. They were sailors on the ship the Queen’s Right until recently. It seems they were unloading cargo on the docks the night a shipment went missing. The two were blamed for the disappearance and have been working to track down what really happened so they can clear their names. While we were making introductions the bar maid pointed out an elven woman traveling alone who seemed to be eyeing us with curiosity. We welcomed her as well and she introduced herself as Ayalia. She wore no armor but carried herself like a wizard.

Marcus seemed to expect Ayalia and I to connect due to my obvious elven blood, which is a common assumption but a small irony. Being a half elf raised among humans it was very difficult for me to find a place for myself among elven society and that is among the elves of High Vale who are used to living close alongside humans in the town of Highfolk. Ayalia was a grey elf who are often much more conservative about interacting with humans. I almost expected her to say something derisive but then that could be seen as prejudice on my own part. In fact she did not seem to make notice at all and I was relived for that.

Basic introductions made, Marcus continued with the details of his plan. In his investigation he and Mathew learned that a mysterious ship had been seen pulling in to shore near the cliffs outside of town. There was an old abandoned mansion at the top of the cliffs that could be used as a hide out or storage for ill gotten gains and he meant to search the place. I asked around the common room and found the mansion had quite a reputation. It used to belong to an alchemist who disappeared long ago. Stories varied; human experimentation, children taken in the night, creatures summoned from places beyond but all agreed the place was cursed and all right thinking folk should give it a wide berth. This is exactly the kind of folklore I can’t resist getting to the bottom of.

Bright and early the next morning the five of us set out across the mores, picking through the tall bristly grasses and wary of quicksand, which Mathew told us can be quite dangerous in these parts. The way was slow going but the site was not far and within a few hours we could see the hills rise up to meet the cliffs, the peeks and chimneys of manor standing out in silhouette at the top.

The house itself was stately, even in it’s dilapidated condition. Heavy stone walls and high steepled roof standing out over the cliffs. I can imagine how striking it must have been in it’s best days. We approached with all caution. Careful of alarms or lookouts we circled the manor through the overgrown brush that was once a garden. The house seemed deserted, we saw no sign of movement, Marcus thought he heard a lonely moan from within, but hardly the raucous band of cut-throats we were expecting. I was just beginning to think we wouldn’t have cause to look any further when Mathew gave a whistle. He’d found recent tracks behind the house leading up to a rickety cellar door. Beneath we found any stairway had long since collapsed leaving only a stark drop into pitch blackness. A lantern’s light revealed the ground fifteen feet below, strewn with the remains of the stair.

We affixed a rope and Mathew and I lowered ourselves into the moist dank air of the cellar. The flickering yellow light of the lantern nudged the darkness back into the corners of the room, casting stark black shadows. Broken barrels and shelving littered the room and the ground was strewn thick with debris. Mathew picked his way through to the far side where a dilapidated wooden stair led up into the house, while I searched along the damp stone walls. I almost missed it at first, the the fickle light lit down into a crevice in the strewn debris revealing the shape of a human hand. I called out and before I knew it Katrina was beside me helping dig away the bits of wooden plank and barrel that covered the body. It was face down wearing fine plate mail that shown brightly despite being buried in the damp cellar for who knows how long. I grasped the shoulder and heaved it over hoping ot find some clue as to who this had been and what brought him to this grim end. It didn’t take long to answer the later.

The desiccated face starred back at me through eyeless sockets, It’s rotting flesh seemed to writhe under what remained of it’s skin. I leaned over for a closer look when something living poked up through an empty eye socket. A worm, sickly pale and bulbous, no bigger than a man’s thumb. The front was a pulsating maw ringed with barbed hooks that stretched towards me searching out movement and heat. Before I could comprehend the danger I was in the thing sprang towards me with a leap like a flea, though it had no legs. I flailed my arm with a cry dropping the body and stumbling backwards. The thing grasped my sleeve and I swung wildly trying to fling it away. I heard Katrina yell as well and swung to face her. Two had sprung on her clinging to her glove and thigh. Time seemed to stand still as I watched the one on her leg turn it’s writhing maw downward and bore effortlessly through her leather and into her flesh. My mouth hung agape for a bare instant as horrible comprehension dawned on me. In the corner of my vision I could see more of the beasts boring their way out of the body. I began to scream.

I was dimly aware of Matthew moving towards us from the other side of the cellar and cries of confusion coming down from where Marcus and Ayalia waited above. I could see a small bulge under Katrina’s skin slide sickeningly fast up her leg from where the thing had entered. I drew my rapier and made a desperate jab to pierce the bulge but could not keep a steady hand and my tip slipped by uselessly. The worm clinging to me leaped again finding my chest and I jerked to pull it away but I knew it was too late. I could already feel those barbed hooks tearing their way into me. My sword fell from my fingers as I dropped to my knees clutching at my chest. I barely remember the pain, though I know it was excruciating, far worse was the revolting sensation of something crawling around inside my flesh. My muscles began to convulse and my cries sputtered out and then nothing.

When my eyes opened I immediately began clawing at my chest only to find bandages beneath my fingers and the only sensations a dull ache and weakness. I was in my bed at the Crimson Pony. Marcus told me that after Katrina and I had passed out the creatures simply left our bodies. By then the corpse was truly swarming with the worms but Mathew managed to divert them long enough for the others to haul Katrina and I out. We remained unconscious for several days, only healing as fast as we did with the aid of a few traveling clerics of Kord that happen to arrive at the inn.

Since waking I have sought out knowledge of just what manner of creature we encountered in that hole. An old scholar as able to tell me they are called rot grubs. They are terrifyingly deadly and once inside a person’s flesh will bore straight to the victim’s heart. Usually the only hope for survival is to have fire close at hand when they attack and burn them before they make it beneath the skin. What caused them to leave Katrina and I alive? The old man had no clue and seemed incredulous that such a thing was even possible.

And so I sit, alive and hale, in the warm common room of a bustling inn. My hands shaking, knowing as I write this account that in the morning my companions and I will return to that crumbling old house. In part because I would not abandon Marcus and Mathew, who still hope to find proof of their innocence, as they surely risked their own lives in saving Katrina and I. But also because I know that if I cannot overcome this fear now I will be bound by it forever and all that I have worked, all that I hoped to accomplish would fall to naught.

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Elthazar's final report?
just who is Elthazar anyway?

To the sacred council of the Seldarine in the Sheldomar Valley and any of the Tel’Quessir who may read this dispatch. I write these tidings in duress, as I do not know what tomorrow may bring for myself and my companions. My journeys have lead me to the north bank of the Zumker river on the border of the land once known as the Duchy of Tehn. My companions are two youthful human males whom trouble seems to follow. Both myself and one of the human boys have been grievously wounded by an Orc ambush. We are now lying low trying to recover from our wounds while Orc and Goblin patrols swarm the area.

I have written this report and passed it on to the most able of our small group; Thon Fielderson of the County of Urnst. The boy Thon, was shocked when I told him of my true mission. I implored him to carry this dreadfully important record of my actions, from the time I left the realm of our beloved Duke Grenowin. Oh how I long to see the Green fields of Ulek again! Yet my mission is important to all of the Tel’Quessir and as I have come to believe, perhaps all the peoples of Oerth!

I am a Seeker of the Misty Isle. Few of the Tel’Quessir know of our order and even fewer still of the younger races have any knowledge of our existence. From the time of my adolescence I have been chosen to be part of this holy task to help our heavenly leader, Corellon Larethian; recover what stolen from the Seldarine by the evil humanoid Gods Gruumsh and Kurtulmak . It is with this purpose that I have chosen my life’s path.

This path lead me to the valleys and peaks of the Rakers mountains. I was sent to these distant lands by Rúmil of Waybury a chronicler of our order and my mother’s father. Rúmil believes a portent of some significance will come from a yet unknown but important event for the worshipers of the elder Oredian God, Pholtus. The Chronicler, stumbled on some obscure passages from The works of Lord Larethian , that stated : “and a quarter of Luna shall harken onto the division of Celene.” and further more stated. “ and in those days Celene shall no longer share the sun but, the Childern of Luna shall see the light.”

Perhaps it is because we of the Seekers of the Misty Isle have labored so many years in vain that, my Grandfather’s conclusion was overlooked. But, for years Rúmil of Waybury insisted that, “the passage of a quarter of Luna referred to the worshipers of Corellon Larethian. This supposition got some support because, of our God’s holy symbol and the fact that, our most important holy day is also celebrated on the quarter moon. It was however, when my Grandfather suggested that if Luna represented Corellon Larethian then Celene represented the elder human God of the moon Pholtus that, spurned disbelief by his fellow scholars. Simply put my Grandfather believed that, Oerth had two moons that interacted with the tides and seasons of the planet; so why shouldn’t two Gods intersect and interact? But, Rúmil’s colleagues objected. They pointed out that Seldarine had always acted independently of the human Gods from the first age all the way to the present. But, my Grandfather always believed he was correct and bide his time till I came of age.

And so it was when I came of age that my Grandfather expressed his desire for me to join the holy order of the seekers of the misty isle. I now write this important dispatch to confirm that indeed a schism exist within the Clergy of Pholtus. I know not yet how this relates to Seldarine or the Tel’ Quessir but, it does confirm that my Grandfather was correct in assumption about a prophecy regarding the faith of Pholtus. I and some companions I have met in my journeys have discovered a secrete regarding the faith of Pholtus: The God of law and light once had worshipers of a darker nature.

My companions and I stumbled on an ancient city frozen beneath a glacier high in the Rakers mountains where both Pholtus and some Devil Lord were worship simultaneously. When we told our employer ( a goodly Paladin of Pholtus) our discovery he immediately set out to investigate this mysterious city himself. The boy Paladin Stone Dylerold, asked for our party to keep the information we had learned in confidence until he returned. He asked me and my fellow adventures to assist his family with a town that was in Peril from Plague and monsters that he was duty bond to protect. I agreed to do as the goodly knight asked as I was certain that Corellon Larethain had lead me to this Paladin and his family .Others among my companions accepted the task for their own reasons.

It was near the completion of our task in the remote town of Falcon’s Hollow that, we received word that our Patron had been seized by his authoritarian masters and taken to the capital of the Theocracy of Pale, Wintershiven. It was suggested that we travel travel to the town of Braycott inside the war torn Duchy of Tehn where we could seek the protection of Stone’s father; Cruson Dylerold. The Dylerold’s are a powerful family within the Theocracy of Pale. Indeed Cruson Dylerold is a Lord of some renown and a general in the armies that occupy the lands formally know as Tehn.

Before, I met with Cruson Dylerold I was compelled to go to Wintershiven and see what I could do to secure the release of the Valiant Stone Dylerold. This was not an easy journey as elves are an uncommon sight in Pale and I was stopped and question many times. If not for the fact I carried diplomatic papers from my homeland and I was not traveling with my other companions, I am sure I would have been detained as well. When I arrived in Wintershiven I made inquires regarding the young lord Dylerold and found he was being held under house arrest at one of his father’s estates in the capital. I was able to gain an audience with the young lord by convincing them that I was an elven wine merchant that had business with the Dylerold family.

My meeting was brief with the Stone as we were carefully watched by an inquisitor of their strict faith.Through misdirection and bluff Stone Dylerold was able to impart on to me that, I was in great danger here inside The Theocracy of Pale. A senior members of The council of 9 had authorized the arrest and even execution of any person connected with the discovery of the Lost Frozen City. Only the facts that Stone’s family was powerfully connected and that he was a long standing and faithful member of the Order of Light had spared him from a dungeon cell or worse. Members of the inquisitors still threatened to put him to the question daily.

Therefore, Stone Dylerold implored me to leave Pale and contact his father and his father’s longtime adviser a mysterious sage know only as Lantys . I long to help the boy but, there was little I could do except inform his father and present the mystery of the Frozen city to this mysterious learned sage. So I left Wintershiven for Braycott under the protection of a small contingent of Dylerold house guards. In under a week I was in Braycott only to find Lord Cruson Dylerold had already left for Wintershiven to defend his son. Lord Dylerold’s adjutant Aris Hartgard informed me that my former companions had already left for the besieged city of Redspan. Although the freemen of Tehn and the Armies of Pale were technically at war th adjutant informed me they regular met under the flag of truce to exchange prisoners and information regarding the greater enemies in the former lands of Tehn. Aris Hartgard promised I could accompany the next group that left and from there possibly return to Redspan under the protection of the free militia.

I did as the adjutant suggested and shortly after, I found myself in Redspan, re-united with my former companions. It was a little while after I arrived that we met the mysterious sage Lantys. We presented all the information we had learned about the Frozen city and the political and religious trouble in Pale. Lantys seemed to be an important person in town as many deferred to him. It was little surprise a week into our stay in Redspan when Lantys revealed that he was actually the Arch Mage Nystul a member of the Circle of Eight! Nystul informed us that he had already be informed of the Lost City by magical means and had already sent another group of adventures to look for an artifact that related to the City’s form of worship and could lead to further information.

He never asked why each of was involved but, seemed ready to use us to his own ends as men of power always do. He asked us to wait until he could recover more information before he decided the next coarse of action. I prayed on the matter and having no answer I decided to spend time exploring the city with my companions. Alas curiosity has always lead me to trouble even from my youth. One of my companions was waylaid in the rougher parts of town. His body beaten and equipment stolen I felt honor bound to help him track down the villains. Our adventure lay outside the safety of the city walls and beyond the border of the Zumker river. ( This information was relayed to us through the use of scrying by the mage Nystul.)

So here I am. Only Lord Larethian knows where. I have just woken after hours of being unconscious. My strength is yet to weak to stand but, I have maid supplications to my God that he might give me the power to heal myself and my companions by the morrow. Thon stands vigil over our wounded bodies for now. If I don’t make it I have instructed the boy to give this dispatch to the first high elf he comes across in hopes it finds it’s way to someone in my order. May the Seldarine make it so…Selah

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A Bad Month for Corofzon
Corofzon bellies up and complains

Bah !!!!,
What in the Nine Hells does that uppity human know about Gems anyway! He may have a couple spells named after him but, does that give him the right to insult a fellow practitioner of the Art ? I mean he may be the great and powerful Nystul but, that still doesn’t give him the right to question my methods or insult my people! I mean I only took a brief look at the darn rock before Hgerd Ironcutter put it in his back pack for the trip back to Redspan. Dwarves are supposed to know about Gems and such! Ya know not all Gnomes sit around polishing Gems all day! How was I suppose to know it was fake!

And as for why I didn’t cast identify, I didn’t have it memorized! You’d think an an Arch Wizard of his repute would know the limitations of arcane magic! Besides, there were two other spell casters in our group, they both claim that they did sense an enchantment on the damnable stone! Kira I am telling you this has been one of the worst few months of my life. Meeting you and helping to kill that so called Kobold King, have been the only rays of sunshine in an otherwise bleak few months. (Corofzon Sus takes a big swig of Urnst apple Brandy and belches; Kira says a few comforting words and follows Corofzon Sus drink for drink; as he continues to complain.)

And just why is Nystul giving us orders anyway? Cruson Dylerold hired us to recover the Fire Opal in hopes the Gem held information about that Frozen City we found underneath the Glacier near the Raker’s Madhouse. The information was suppose to help free his son Stone Dylerold from the Damn Pholtus inquisitors! Why are they holding that boy anyway? (Kira reminds Corofzon Sus that Stone Dylerold is being held for Heresy according to Elthazar) Heresy!!! Glitergold’s nose nuggets! The boy is so zealous for that uptight parson of a God Pholtus that he could give the head of their order lessons in piety! “Nystul says it has something to do with a secrete only the council of 9 and a few others know. He says they ward their meetings so his scrying cannot gather more information. that is why we seek clues from other sources.” Kira said as she finished her Brandy and started on a Tankard of Ale.

Nystul Nystul grumbled Corofzon Sus.Does he even care the Druid lost her wolf on his fruitless quest? And, how is it he is friends with Cruson Dylerold anyway? They are on opposite sides after all! Nystul is a noble Flan from Tehn and Cruson Dylerold a noble Oredian from Pale! They should be at each others throats not co-operating! I mean half of Tehn is occupied by The Theocracy of Pale soldiers or these “Faithful Flan!” Kira lets out a petite belch and replys, " Welll not half Corofzon Sus and to be fair Nystul does seem upset about the occupation by Pale. I think he and Cruson Dylerold have an agreement not shed any blood in the southern half of Tehn and concentrate on all the monsters roaming around. In the north there’s the Stonehold Barbarians to keep everyone occupied. And, Alluna mentioned to me something about Cruson Dylerold‘s wife being Flan. Maybe that has something to do with why Nystul is helping the Dylerold’s and Cruson Dylerold isn’t pushing further into Tehn. Kira let’s out a not so lady like burp this time and slurs, “but, who knows… I could be wrong,” as she takes another large draught from her Ale.

Corofzon Sus eyes Kira in appreciation. “Girl you could drink a parched Dwarf under the table!” Corofzon Sus slaps Kira‘s rump and a mouthful of ale explode from her mouth and noise as she tries to contain a laugh. I feel a little better just being around ye! I’ve almost forgot about fighting ghost and devils in the middle of the howling cold mountains. I’d also like to forget, the two week trip back to Redspan by foot and barge only to be told we’ve wasted our employers time! I’m glad the high and mighty Nystul decided to send Nuala and Slays back to try and recover the real Fire Opal, cause I need a break from the cold. Besides, even though that thief Kris (Blade) Arien made off with the Tiefling’s spell book, I was still able to recover a few interesting spells from some scrolls I recovered in the monastery. I’ll need to transcribe those and I have a few ideas for some new spells to research anyway. Maybe, this Nystul will let me borrow his spell book if I offer to do some work? What do you think lass? Corofzon Sus nudged Kira next to him at the bar but, she was already snoring passed out from a day’s drinking.

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Hgerd's lament

I am Hgerd Ironcutter, of the flamepacer clan. For a millennium my people have forged out their existence in the depths of the un-forgiving Rakers mountains. My father taught me to make weapons and little else. We traded these weapons with the humans in the lower lands for many generations. We cared not who we traded with. The somewhat civilized Flan or Barbarous Stoneholders ,it made little difference to clan Flamepacer, gold was gold.

The indifference of my attitude changed when Stoneholders captured myself and several members of my clan. We were forced to serve the Barbarians as slave laborers. We made weapons and armor for these honorless dogs for many years until the approaching Army of light caused the Stoneholders to secure their position in Cabult. The Stoneholders sent many of their prisoners to Nevond Nevnend as a result of the Palish seige of Cabult. In the confusion Alluna, myself, and my childhood friend Garn Rockdweler were able to join a poorly guarded caravan. We had the aid form our former master, who had wrote up papers of transfer to his homelands and gave us all seals with his house insignia granting us favored servant status . I still owe the man a debt of honor.

It was in the service of Skelg Bengierr that Garn Rockdweler and I learned that the leader of the Stoneholders Sevvond Redbeard had been tricked into attacking the various kingdoms of the north by evil wizardry. Skelg was poisoned by a rival clan before he could reveal just how far the conspiracy to undermine the Stoneholders went. Knowing he was dead and that, his family would be put to the sword; he asked myself and Garn Rockdweler to avenge his dishonor, in exchange favored servant status which granted us the right to done our weapons and armor in our houses service.

We two Flamepacer clan Dwarves were aided by the beautiful Druid Alluna who was also promised her freedom after a brief interment. Ultimately the three of us fled Cabult in a caravan after an attempt to seek justice for Skelg Bengierr failed. Skelg was no friend of either I or Garn but, he did make good on his promise of helping us escape. So I will one day try to set things right. So do I swear it, by my own and Skelg’s Father’s name!

So now it has come to pass, a year later I find myself adventuring with the beautiful Alluna again. We had parted ways shortly after the slave caravan left for Nevond Nevnend. Garn and I killed a guard as a Palish patrol attacked our caravan. We were seperated from Alluna as she was escorted back into the heart of The Pale by Cruson Dylerold‘s men; while Garn Rockdweler and I made our way separately into Wintershiven. We plied our respective trades in Wintershiven for a year before Alluna contacted us through Cruson Dylerold and his son Stone Dylerold’s men.

Our first mission was to clear out a Kobold infestation that had plagued the Darkmoon Vale inside the Rakers. The local Larushka peoples were know to my kin and we had traded with them over the years. So when Alluna asked, we hurried to help. After many weeks of searching the mines and tunnels of the Darkmoon Vale; we discovered the lair of the Kobold Shaman who had been poisoning the water supply of the local ranchers and timber harvesters. We eradicated the leader and his little beast minions. Alas, I was afflicted with both the supernatural Burning Plague and filth fever. The dirty little Shaman had summoned both rat swarms and used his foul magic to infect me.

I was in no condition to travel. Stone Dylerold had another mission for us but, I needed time to recover. So regretfully, I stayed in Falcon’s Hollow for a tenday while Alluna and Garn Rockdweler explored the abandoned Monastery of the Fire Opal east of the Rakervale settlement. The Gnome wizard Corofzon Sus stayed behind in Falcon’s Hollow and checked in on me from time to time. It was during this time, a trading coalition from my Kinsmen the Flamepacer clan visited Falcon’s Hollow. I made a trade with the Dragon Worshiper Tarin Arien. He had stumbled upon a relic of my people. The magnificent Mithral Armor of Druingar Glintaxe! I traded shares in the Deepscar mine that had been given to me by Stone Dylerold for the ancient armor and sent it back to my clan for safe keeping. The mine shares had been given to me as payment for helping to clear the Darkmoon Vale of the Koblod scourge and for helping to eradicate the Burning Plague.

After I had recovered from my ailments, I set out for Rakervale. Corofzon Sus insisted on joining me in my travels claiming boredom and lack of “anything better to do.” We arrived in Rakervale to discover Alluna had already come back from the expedition. We also learned my long time friend Garn Rockdweler had fallen in the Monastery of the Fire Opal. Alluna and Garn Rockdweler had teamed with a zealot of Pholtus named Nuala and the mercenary brother of the adventurer Tarin Arien. Nuala was preachy but tolerable. It seems the Church of Pholtus had shunned her teachings and she was considered an outcast. Kris (Blade) Arien however, was the sort of man you watched your purse around.

So it was that the five of us set out once again to brave the perils of the Monastery of the Fire Opal and attempt to recover the famous namesake gem and return it to a mysterious wizard friend of Cruson Dylerold in hopes of revealing some secretes buried within the gem that might help free his son Stone Dylerold from captivity by the Church of Pholtus inquisitors. I myself, had other reasons to venture into peril. I wanted to avenge my longtime friend Garn Rockdweler and recover his body for proper rights of passage to the Forge Father Moradin.

So it is here in this dangerous place I write this journal. I write it on some parchment recovered from my friend Garn Rockdweler’s equipment. His body is laid to rest on top of this mountain just outside the entrance of this cursed place. He will have a view of the Rakers for all eternity. We five are just four now. The mercenary Kris (Blade) Arien has fallen in league with one of the denizens of this dungeon a female Tiefling wizard by the name of Skazzyg. Perhaps she has beguiled him. It matters not, he made off with her and stole her spell book back and much of our hard fought for treasure while we were in the midst of battle with some monstrous spiders. We now count Kris (Blade) Arien a traitor and enemy.

So my friend Garn Rockdweler, I dedicate this journal to you. It is you after all that taught me to read and write in common and corrected my poor Dwarven ruins when I was younger. It is you that has brought me here to adventure on top of this mountain where I find myself in constant peril but, curiously alive. It is you who guided me to ask the question why was I imprisoned? when all I sought was vengeance against those who captured us. You should know my friend, I will seek the answers to the questions of the Stoneholders invasion. I will seek the answer to that question and more in honor of your memory my friend.

But, first I have a Gem to recover!

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From the Journal's of Alluna Windleaf

Cy 591 second week of The Planting (written in 592)

I’ve been in The Pale just over a year now. My travels have brought me full circle into contact with the son of the man who rescued me from capture by the Stonehold Barbarians. It was while I was traveling through the land formely known as the Tenh that Cruson Dylerold and his men fell upon the group of Barbarous warriors who were about to capture me. Lord Dylerold was not like most warriors of the intolerant Theocracy of Pale having wed a pure blood Flan woman. He did not worship Beory but confided that his wife often made offerings to the Earth Mother. Although, a faithful worshiper of Pholtus; Cruson did acknowledge that their 1st child Stone was not born until his wife had made offerings to our faithful Mother Beory.

I suppose it was out of gratitude or noble sense of Duty that, Lord Dylerold the senior, insisted I go to his holdings in Pale and minister to his wife and the peasants of their lands. He bid me to do this until he returned from the wars or Beory showed me the signs of her merciful will. I therefore accepted Cruson Dylerold’s invitation as a sign from the blessed Earth Mother as her will.

I was exploring the lands around Lord Dylerold’s and I encountered a young man. He had run afoul of some wicked magical beast called Krenshars. Beory granted me the power to slay the unnatural beast. I tended to the boy’s wounds over the next few days and I learned that he too, was seeking signs of a lost loved one in the war torn ravages of the Tenh. I took this too as a sign from Beory and bid him to follow and serve me until the following spring time as payment for saving his life. The boy Thon did agree as he was a person of honor and he followed me and served me on Lord Dylerold’s land’s until the the Great Earth mother sent a sign.

CY 592 3rd week of The Readying
A small group of adventures has come to me asking to help heal one of their comrades. A sense of relief floods me as I have noticed Thon getting more anxious to continue the quest for his brother. I would have released him from his bond many months ago except I feared the boy would die without aid. Beory has answered my prayers as I have found out this small group of companions is on a mission to aid Lord Dylerold’s son Stone. I accept that Beory has found use for young Thon Fielderson and will use him to keep the balance. I remain in prayer over Beory’s will for myself.

CY 592 2nd week of Coldeven
Well that didn’t take long! Beory’s will has shown itself through a messenger. Stone Dylerold has sent his servant and friend a rough looking warrior named Slays. They beseech me to see if I might help in that matter of Kobold’s infesting the mines and caves around a small town in the Rakers Mountains. I know that it leads me no closer to the discover of the fate of my parents but, I also remember a dream sent by Beory in which my fate and that of a Stag are intertwined. The servant Slays was wearing a Tabard with house Dylerod’s insignia; a white stag!

Cy 592 3rd week Coldeven
After only a week of adventuring in the ruins of an old Dwarven Monastery and the copper mines in the mountains above Falcon’s Hollow Lord Dylerold’s son Stone, dismisses himself and says he has urgent business elsewhere. He bid’s me to wait until some mercenaries he has hired arrive in Falcon’s hollow and then to continue the quest of clearing out several local mines of Kobold’s that have take up residence there within. He also bid’s us to investigate source of a local plague that has broken out.

Cy 592 4th week Coldeven
My new companions arrived only 2 days after Stone Dylerold’s departure. Two stout Dwarves by the names of Garn and Hgerd. We have fought many skirmishes in the Mines above Falcon’s Hollow and have almost exterminated the beast. However, one last mine remains and a powerful Kobold Sorcerer has taken up residence in it’s depths. We believe that an underground spring that feeds many of the small streams running through the Twighlight vale is located in this mine. If that is the case then this Kobold Sorcerer must be using the spring to soil the water and spread plague throughout the valley. We will need help but the only other adventures in town are busy fighting an unknown menace in the Depths beneath the Monastery Lord Dylerold and I explored earlier. I am surprised when I discover that the other adventures are none other than Thon Fielderson and the group of adventures I sent him with earlier. I however cannot join their cause as stopping the pestilence that is ravaging the upper vale is too important. Besides I must tend to Hgerd right now as he has contracted the vile Burning Plague and needs my healing skills.

Cy 592 Growfest
It is not much of a time of celebration. I have made my offerings to Beory as I should but my mind is filled with images of blood and death. It is almost the end of the week long holiday and I question the Good Mother’s will. The adventure Tarin Arien who speaks for the Dragon’s Claw mercenary company, has insulted the local Inn owner during Growfest. The whole group has been kicked out of town before I could ask it to aid us in our quest.

Cy 592 1st week of the Planting
With the aid of the Gnome wizard Corofzon Sus we are able to overcome the Kobold Sorcerer holed up in the high mine. We recover some vile magic and an interesting map from it’s corpse. Hgred has come into contact with the insidious burning Plague again and has also contracted Filth Fever from a swarm of rats summoned by the evil little sorcerer. Slays has contacted us with dire news the Lord Dylerold’s son Stone is being held by church authorities. Slays ask Garn and myself to head to the town of Rakervale where we will meet two mercenaries and begin a quest to recover a gem that hold’s knowledge that could help prove young Dylerold’s innocence. We are hesitant to go without our trusted friend and companion Hgerd Ironcutter and even the surly Gnome Corofzon Sus. However, the urgency of our mission bids us to leave soon. Corfzon assures us that he will see to the care of Hgerd and that they will meet us in Rakervale as soon as they are able.

Cy 592 2nd week of Flocktime
I can hardly stop grieving over my poor Dartag. He was a faithful companion and deserved better than to die of some Hell born disease. It is Flocktime the flowers are in bloom and everything is starting to thaw, yet my poor companion Dartag, shivered to death despite my best efforts to heal him. The pain is almost more than I can bear. Mother Beory please comfort your servant and show her the meaning of this cruel and unnatural death? It is spring a time of renewal and life; so why do I feel so hopeless? Is this perhaps a foreshadowing of the challenges ahead? If so, I do not know if I have the strength to face them. Oh sacred Earth goddess please forgive my lack of faith.

So I wait here in Redspan. The sage Lantys has revealed himself to be none other than the renown Nystul son of Tehn and member of the Circle of eight. Corofzon Sus is none too impressed with the great mage. I too find myself a little irritated at Nystul‘s insistence that we should have known the enchantment placed upon the fake Fire Opal was an illusion. The powerful mage even pointed out that he helped design the spell that fooled us and that some even called the spell "Nystul’s magic aura!" To be fair he was mostly upset at Corofzon Sus for not recognizing the magic of his own trade.

We have heard that our friends and onetime travel companions Elthazar and Thon Fielderson have also traveled to Redspan at the behest of Cruson Dylerold. They still travel with the bard Charles O’Carien but, have not been seen in several days. Rumor has it they went east of the city in pursuit of some ruffians that liberated Charles O’Carien from some of his possessions. Kira is also here and she is worried about the three. It seems she is now under the tutelage of the famous mage but doesn’t seem to have the patience for it. She has told us that Nystul did a scrying on them and told her that, all three were still alive and somewhere north of the city on the other side of the River Zumker. She indicated that Nystul was irritated with the three adventurers for not staying in Redspan and awaiting further instructions as he investigated the mystery of the Frozen City that lies buried beneath the Faranth Glacier.

As for myself, I need to get moving and busy to overcome my grief. I have spent my time mostly in the stables grooming the fine mare that Stone Dylerold gifted me. I hope he is alright. Kira has told me that Nystul has forbidden a rescue attempt for Stone Dylerold in fear that it may provoke more hostilities toward his native Tehn. Nystul also claims the younger Dylerold is safe. I however, don’t see how he could know this as fact as he also claims the Priest of Pholtus also have the ability to block his divinations. A proverb of the Earth Mother says, " beware of the mystery of Arcana; mystery and deception are two sides of the same leaf."

I am tired of waiting. Nystul sent Slays and Nuala back to try and recover the real Fire Opal. The adventure Tarin Arien has accompanied them having heard that, his brother Kris (Blade) Arien had betrayed our party while exploring the depths of the old Fire Opal monastery. I chose not to go with them. I am loath the place that took the life of my beloved Dartag and do not want to return to such and un-natural place so soon. Besides, I sense Mother Beory has another quest in mind for me; a quest more related to freeing my own people of the Barrens.

Perhaps I will saddle Bela and go look for my friends north along the Zumker. Bela has become a fine companion and I have found myself seeking her company more often now that, Dartag’s circle has turned. Maybe Kira will accompany me? She seems bored and frustrated here in Redspan and the plains are dangerous to travel alone.

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