Broken Banners

Mordakai's Register
  • Three travelers reached town, asked for lodgings.
  • After initial troubles, I discovered their intent: Exploring an old ruin to get the aid of a noble lord. This lord will allow the Shieldland Military to take the capitol easier by opening the gates, as well as keeping the prisoners in the city safe.
  • I learned their names. Endiri the gnome wizard, Katrina the Cleric and Thon the Scout.
  • I convinced them I was on their side, and we headed out to the ruins.
  • The trip has been interrupted with deer and a single squad of Bugbears. They were only a little trouble.
Thon's frustrating search
just when you thought it was over your pulled back in

Boccob’s Balls! if this isn’t frustrating I don’t know what is!

Thorfin's Tale
Thorfin reflects on his brief enslavement and his new companions

Reaping 3rd week

It has been nearly four weeks since I last saw my elder Sister Lady Blackrock as she is known, or just Thar as I know her. Tharma always has hated when I shortened her name, says it sounds too much like an Orc and a particularly ugly one at that. By Moradin’s beard, she should have never told me that! Now she’ll be Thar to me until she marries! It’s good to think of Sister, I hope she fares well in her task, unlike myself.

I suppose it is needless and pointless to feel self pity at my situation. Moradin has spared me; from captivity, slavery, and most likely worse. If only he had felt me worthy to enter his great halls and not my less experienced allies and companions. The dead neither want or would claim my pity. No indeed, my dead companions feast with the Forge Father now. Seven we were when we parted from my Sister’s group, now only I remain. Four died in battle with the savage orcs and their honor-less human mercenary allies. Another died of his wounds while we marched in captivity. My long time brother-in-arms; Gwain Thunderstone, was sacrificed in a Gruesome ritual, for trying to free me from the cage they had penned me in.

I was sold into slavery. I was the property of a large Slaver’s caravan until the Lord Mayor’s son of the town of Yellow-reach, took a fancy to owning a Dwarf. The bastard paid what I assume to be a small fortune for me. I was only in Yellowreach two days when a group of adventures rescued me. The young Lord was busy carousing local establishments when this small group used magic and guile to smuggle me out of the accursed little hamlet.

Owning these fine people my freedom and possibly my life I pledged my service to them without hesitation.

Perhaps, the forge father’s will works in all this misfortune. For the adventuring group that rescued me was trying to recover an artifact from the very same mountain that hold’s one of the ancient Dwarven relics my sister and I seek. Also as the fates would have it, I met the brother of one of the group that rescued me while I was in captivity. The brother of Thon Fielderson ; Johab, gave me water when I had none for a day. This brother of Thon Fielderson was also a captive and was taken south with the slaver caravan after I was sold to the young Lordling in Yellowreach.

Even though we were just a couple miles from White Plume Mountain we put our respective expeditions on hold, to rescue Thon Fielderson’s brother from the horror of slavery. We set out after a day of rest. My new allies provided me with some equipment and weapons of a former slain ally of theirs.

After several days of hard travel we encountered a huge worm like creature of lavender hue. The creature was enormous so we fled it but it doggedly pursued us for a couple days more. We thought we had lost it by the time we reached the ruined fortress town of Axeport on the northern banks of the Nyr Dyv. The town was overrun with humanoids, so it was decided that Katrina Urquell, Thon Fielderson, and myself would stay out of sight in a costal cave while Enidri Felwin used his magic to go into the former town and procure a boat by any means he could.

A couple hours after Enidri Felwin had returned empty handed; we were paid a visit by the insane wizard Keraptis. The wizard quickly incapacitated us with powerful spells and then proceeded to chastise the group for not finishing their task of retrieving the artifact weapons he had secured in his stronghold inside White Plume Mountian. It seems he had recently waken from a centuries long sleep and was using his little playground as he called it to test the mettle and resiliency of the peoples of this age.

Although the wizard was quite mad, there was little we could do against him. He was simply too powerful. The Cleric of Kord Katrina Urquell, eventually convinced him Keraptis to allow us to first rescue Thon Fielderson‘s brother Johab and then promised to return to White Plume Mountian and attempt to complete Keraptis little test. Keraptis however, didn’t let us go completely un-punished. He promised the huge Purple Worm that had been pursing us would continue to do so after a two day head start. In addition we only had fifty days to return to White Plume Mountain or else Keraptis would personally come and retrieve us and compel us to be guardians of his treasures through magical means.

In the morning we set out for the Shield Lands. We cannot get a boat to cross over Tomun’s Enclave, the isle that the city of Amundford is on and hopefully, Thon Fielderson’s brother Johab. The journey will be difficult. Orc and Gnoll patrols swarm the area between here and the free Shield Lands. However, I am confident Moradin would not have spared me thus far, just to have me perish in the wilds at the hands of orcs. Who knows perhaps I will hear news of my sister?

A Report from White Plume Mountain
The last dispatch of Elthazar

Goldfields 1st week

A report to the high council of The Seekers of the Misty Isle.

It has been nearly two months and a 10 day since my last dispatch. My mission proceeds slowly. Information regarding the schism in the faith of Pholtus is limited, as I have been sent on adventuring missions far afield. We are searching for artifacts that, once were in the possession of Lower Planes Fiends.

These missions were given to us by the Arch mage Nystul. As you may know he is the regent ruler of what remains of the lands of Tehn and member of the Circle of Eight. I have agreed to be part of these adventures. My goal is to learn more about the mysterious ancient city of Faranth . Also my curiosity leads to a question, “Could these artifacts also have information leading to the location of the Misty Isle?” I have been part of stranger happenstances, and who knows what Lord Larethain wills? Besides, having a powerful ally like Nystul, could be very useful to the Seekers in the future.

The group I have adventured with now consist of myself, Enidri Felwin,Katrina Urquell, and Thon Fielderson. The Gnome Enidri Felwin is the newest member of the group and was sent to retrieve Tethan Senh, a former member of our group who fell in the accursed lands know as the Cold Marshes. Our group was in search of the terrible artifact known as Fiend’s Embrace.

The musician adventurer Charles O’Carien lost his life in my company as did Tethan Senh. Both were ironically stricken down by Ogres; although the one that struck Tethan Senh was an Undead Ogre. Tethan Senh was later raised from the dead in the city of Greyhawk at the behest of his mother Melina Sehn. A powerful mage and instructor at the Greyhawk University of Magical arts.

Charles O’Carien lost his life shortly after my last dispatch, while we were lost in the wilds north of the Zumker river. I met Tethan Senh and Katrina Urquell when the Druidess Alluna and the Sorceress Kira lead a group to find and rescue our little band from the trouble we had found ourselves in. The rescue was partially successful in that they recovered both Thon Fielderson and myself.

I have enjoyed travelling with both these ladies. Kira is a 1/2 breed wood elf from the lands of the Wolf Nomads and she tends to drink her troubles away. Alluna claims to be nothing more that a refuge from the lands of the Rover Barrens. I believe her to be something more than that however. Her golden eyes betray a touch of the Gods; and I feel she will have much to do with the coming events.

After I was rescued from hostile territory, I returned to Redspan with the others. It seems Nystul had some doubts about our abilities to accomplish such an important mission as retrieving Fiend’s Embrace. Therefore, he first bid us to help overthrow a bandit lord that had set up near an area under his protection. This petty Lord stylized himself as The Stag Lord. We easily over-came the proud self styled Lord. This act must have won the trust and confidence of Nystul. (It should be noted this Stag Lord had somehow acquired an Elven war bow. I appropriated the object from the petty bandit’s body. It was after all property of the Seldarine. )

After the defeat of the Stag Lord. We prepared to leave for the Cold Marshes in search of the dread artifact Fiend’s Embrace. Alluna made several magic scarfs to aid against the freezing temperatures of the swamp. In gratitude we gave her some magic hide armor we had recovered from the Stag Lord. Our group consisted of Kira, Katrina Urquell, Thon Fielderson,Tethan Senh, and the Dwarf Monk Burnhaus, whom Nystul had tasked with protecting Kira.

After a treacherous journey through the Cold Marshes, our group reached the destination of Cold Stone Keep. We had lost one companion but picked up two others. A mysterious easterner know only as Shingetsu, and the afore mentioned gnome wizard Enidri Felwin. I had spotted a black dragon hunting in the swamp and the entire group had hopes of avoiding the Drake.

After defeating several human mercenary servants of Iuz and some troll inhabitants; Shingetsu stole the prize Fiend’s Embrace. However, the thief did not make it far. The Dragon Sizzle Claw slew him and made off with the prize himself, whilst taunting the rest of us to follow and try to re-claim the artifact.

It was decided that our group was too weak to take on the Dragon after our trials in the swamp. We had already lost one member of our group and the thief Shingetsu had also been slain. We decided to exhume Tethan Senh’s body and return the remains to his mother in Greyhawk city. Enidri Felwin used a teleport scroll to get us back to Greyhawk despite the inherent risk of casting teleportation magic in the Fell swamp that is, the Cold Marshes.

We arrived in Greyhawk City just before Richfest. Arrangements were made to Raise the half-elf Tethan Senh from his death slumber. It seems the erstwhile Bard is from a wealthy and influential family in Greyhawk. The Cleric of Kord Katrina Urquell, was attacked by an old nemesis. A wizard know only as Content Not Found: sanblat-1. She narrowly defeated him yet the Wizard escaped. His interest in our group and our ongoing quest is concerning.

After a week of rest and re-supply; we fully expected to be contacted by the mage Nystul . After all, the mage had given Thon Fielderson an attuned coin. The coin was just for the purposes of easily scrying on our group. It was strange that we had heard no word. After __Melina Sehn_, Tethan Senh‘s mother heard about the danger Nystul had pressed her son into, she confronted another member of the Circle of Eight , Jallazri Starcloak. There was a tense confrontation. The Arch Mage Otto came to Starcloak’s aid: thinking she might be in danger. Tempers eventually settled down and Melina Sehn was somewhat appeased. It was agreed that the Circle of Eight would confront Nystul about using people like pawns to further his own gains.

As for myself, I do not have a problem serving the wizard Nystul, as long as his goals further mine and the Seekers own goals. A few more days of waiting for Nystul passed and we still had no word.Jallazri Starcloack thought it strange that she could not contact Nystul through any magical means. An employment offer came to us through contacts at the Greyhawk University of Magical Arts. It seemed a rare weapon artifact had been stolen and had been spirited off to the mad wizard Keraptis stronghold inside White Plume Mountain.

We consulted again with Jallazri Starcloack, about how we might contact Nystul. She resolutely informed us Nystul either couldn’t be found by magical or mundane means or, didn’t want to be found. Either scenario, left us with the unpleasant facts that our latest mission was a failure and our Patron was missing. Jallazri, encouraged us to take the employment offer and try and retrieve the stolen property. Both she and the Arch Mage Otto ( who was visiting Jallazri again), claimed the mad wizard Keraptis, also kept other artifacts in his fortress complex inside White Plume Mountain.

Otto insisted that an evil sword known as Black Razor, could yield as much information about Fiendish activities in the nearby lands as our lost prize Fiend’s Embrace.

We considered our options carefully before accepting the quest to retrieve the Trident artifact known as Wave. Three options presented themselves: 1st option was to return to Redspan and attempt to contact or search for Nystul. The 2nd option was to request the aid of one of the powerful mages and ask them to teleport us back to the borders of the Cold Marshes that, we could confront the Dragon Sizzle Claw. 3rd option was to take the employment offer presented and hope that Nystul revealed himself and that our quest would yield similar information that we had hoped to gain from Fiend’s Embrace.

We chose the 3rd option as it seemed it had that best chance for success. Walking into a Dragon’s den that is expecting you didn’t seem wise to any of us. An equally daunting would be trying to find an Arch Mage who didn’t want to be found (or find an adversary that could overcome an Arch Mage!) Therefore, we choose the option that seemed attainable.

We took two days to prepare and then we were teleported to a seldom used trail about a mile from the base of the mountain and 4 miles from the town of Yellowreach. We headed strait for the mountain. We encountered and slew a Hill Giant and his pet Dire Wolf along the way. We also rescued a village maiden from the clutches of some Bugbear Thugs.

In the afternoon we arrived at the mountain. We searched for several hours and eventually found the cave that lead to the Underground stronghold. The interior of the mountain is warm. Volcanic waters flow through the bowls of this awful place keeping it moist and hot. The wizard Keraptis has set up this “Stronghold,” as a testing ground for adventurers. He has riddled the passages with difficult to overcome obstacles and guarding monsters.

Already we have had to answer the riddles of a guardian GynoSphinx . We have battled an evil Hag and her Chull minion and also defeated a Werewolf and her human Warrior lover. There is no sign as of yet of Wave or any of the other artifacts. We will rest tonight and start fresh on the morrow. May the soft moon of Corellon grant us fortune!

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
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.





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.

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.

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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