The Wilds Await

Into the Dragonhold
By Sir Eddon Grey of Northmarch

Into the Dragonhold

This location has been noted before, having briefly stopped to observe it myself a number of months ago. But at last I return to it, in the company of my friend Gleipnir, his companion Mr. Grin and with an elvin wizard of strange tradition. Not forgetting of course our venerable brother in the faith of Kastus, Deacon Andreth who wields the legendary sword of St Cuthbeort.

At first of course we examined the site above ground which consisted of the skeletal remains of what was clearly once a dragon, arranged in the centre of a mound. Around it there was a cicruclar path and there were eighteen stone caskets exposed to the elements – within each were the skeletal remains of men and women. Their bones suggesting their number consisted both of humans such as myself and kin such as Sheik, the people known as dragonborn. There were a number of dark stele placed in the cardinal positions around the circle I was able to translate the runes they bore into messages.

So end all the enemies of the drornlords.
Those who serve will never die.
Here lie the servants of Kashgar the Blind
Cursed are the servants of the Masters
By the Drornlords shall they be defeated
Take nothing from the circle.

A large headstone and altar contained further text, giving the name of the dragon in the circle as Ishaga, the mate of Grishilgrim – the name we know is borne by the dragon of Morrendeep. It gave also the names of 30 dragonknights and drornguard, who it accounts gave thier lives to slay her, but as the runes say they went not into death. Their souls, their spirits remain bound here keeping Ishaga from rising again. Aswell the power of the passed Drornlords it seems holds a ward over the interior of this place – while the light of the sun shines – it binds their enemies interred within from escaping to spread their foulness upon the land beyond.

Eventually we entered the hold itself, with the being known as Barakus' warning ringing within our minds. This is a place of testing and prooving, those who enter within we will never be able to leave without attainting the goal – taking up the ancient weapons of the drornguard once again. The ancient stone corridors were worn and weathered but structurally well preserved, most likely of dwarven make according to Gleipnir. The layout that we explored suggested one main path heading north-south with a crescent path on the west leading into a gaggle of tombs before rejoining the main. Both crossroads are marked with glowing pools of murky water in which we saw coins, gems and a strange crystal-glass dagger. Another corridor lead east from the second crossroad and one north, continuing the main. The path on the west side by the way can be cut off by portcullis that drop from the ceiling, they are triggered by pressure plates about ten feet inside the corridor, however there are levers hidden within the wall recesses to lift them again.

Andreth began a ritual to detect the presense and nature of magic as we gathered around one of those glowing pools in the wait I took the opportunity to examine the frescos on the walls, and the great skulls of slain dragons that were installed into the walls of the corridor. Each one an ancient enemy, a servant of these masters? slain by the drornlords of old, quite the achievement. Shortly after the ritual and examination of the pool however we were assailed by a strange enemy. A skull, flying in the air and wreathed in flames. It made terrible mischief with it's magics, doing a great hurt to myself and almost killing andreth before hiding off in the west. Mr. Grin followed, discovered the portcullis in the process. There he was assailed by bloody skeletal corpses while the skull contined to circle around and assail from behind. They were not too difficult to overcome however despite their ghastly appearence and we were able to continue west in persuit of the skull.

Instead we found the tombs and as we were examining them, fell into another portcullis trap, where upon apparations wreathed in ghostly green flame drew up from the sarcophagi and attacked us. Thanks to divine aid of Gleipnir's creator many were Turned from the fight giving us a chance to dispatch those that remained steadfast in their evil. Of course our chum the flaming skull decided to turn up again in this confusion but was soon sent to the dust after a good throw from Grin's spear shattered the blasted menace and atlast the ancient place was silent once more. After a quick rest and prayer of healing we could atlast examine the caksets in peace. They all bore names and within them of course long dead corpses lay, but with them more of the strange glass weapons aswell as burial coins, which we took. Some of the caskets bore names matching the list of the thirty, two we opened, those of Carroe and Belanus. Within Carroe's lay a sword of mithril, which as i reached towards it leapt into my head. Runes that flared to life gave it the name Escarra. When we opened Belanus' casket, another similar sword lay within. This I could not pick up but as Grin stepped forward to look, it leapt to his hand and he now also wields such a blade. It seems that these weapons are rather choosy about who takes them, only one who goes through this prooving may attempt it.

There was then a tolling from the depths, as if some deep and ancient bell were sounding deeper within. We took that as our signal to leave but were ambushed at the exit. The stout pillars that mark the entrance suddenly erupted in walls of flame, seperating us from one another. More of the spectal skeleton aflame poured out of the walls to attack and a being of ice and darkness wielding a sword of iron so dark it ate the very light attempt to assail us. This is truly what Barkus meant then, for the being had a terrible power and it's servants were ferocious – yet with the power of Kastus and the drornlord's blades at our side we managed to turn what would have been our sure and certain death into a mere brush with the shuffling of our mortal coils. It was a duel of the fates to be sure.

Afterwards we emerged back into the light of early evening and drew away to make camp. We found a place called Kel's Cavern about three miles east of the hold, and spent a merry night within before returning home on the next day.


- This portion I write only to you, uncle. For I wish these quite personal circumstances remain within the power of Shiek himself to disseminate as he sees fit -

Just before dawn during our stay in Kel's Cavern the horse Valdin whom we had not seen since the death of Sheik rode in through the morning mist. He was agitated and demanded our attention, he bore upon his back a cloud of that mist that bore resemblence of Sheik. He bade us all touch our swords to the forehead of this ghost for h said we now had the power to return him from death, we did so and as the first light of dawn alighted on us the air rent and there Sheik was, solid and alive as last I had seen him. Valdin bade us goodbye then, explaining that life must be paid with life and then dispersed into mist himself. My uncle heed this, according to Barakus, Valdin did not merely sacrifice his life but his soul too was utterly destroyed by our ritual. No holy spark of life that was once valdin will inhabit the earth again, the essense of him was entirely unmade. Had I known it, I would have refused to do it, and I even commanded Barakus to never do such for me under any circumstance. I am glad that Sheik can live again doubt me not there, but the price… by Kastus the price…

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Dordon, Havis 16th-20th, 1186

West Marches field report by Capt. N. Greywood
To be delivered to King Godric I

Dates: 16th through the 20th of Havis, 1186
Location: Dordon
Attending: Capt. Nevin Greywood, Olgar Ironside, Yarid, Comet, Yolu

Traveling by way of the mysterious skull-shaped vehicles, we were taken to the land known as Dordon. The skull landed on a platform south of a lake. Since a previous excursion had explored to the south, we chose to head north. When we reached the lake, we headed east and came across a sentry tower. A young boy in the tower fired a warning shot at us, which angered Olgar and Comet despite the fact that we were trespassers to their home.

Continuing east, we reached a fishing village and were met by guards with their bows drawn. This again angered Olgar and Comet, who were ready to start a battle at this perceived slight. The calmer heads of Yarid and myself prevailed and we talked to the village elder, a man (of a sort) named Horath.

Horath, like all of the people of the village, bore dozens of tattoos across his skin, all depicting scenes of water. We asked him for the lay of the land and he told us of each of the cardinal directions:

  • West of their village is their current hunting grounds.
  • East of their village used to be their hunting grounds but the creatures there suddenly grew larger and more fierce and they no longer travel there.
  • To the South is the forest that belong to a race of elves that they are warring with, and to the southeast there have been reports of demons but none have attacked them.
  • To the North is their temple and beyond that is their previous homeland. According to Horath, they were forced out by usurpers, which is why they live in their less hospitable location.

Again, the rash behavior of Olgar and Comet almost started a fight, but it was defused by Horath and we decided to travel to the north to see their previous homeland and its current occupants. They allowed us to cross their bridge and we went on our way.

Soon thereafter we found a large hoofprint in the ground and a gash in a tree 8 feet high. After some examination and deliberation, we decided that it was likely caused by a giant stag of some sort, grown way out of proportion as Horath told us about. Taking a detour from our exploration, several members of the party wanted to hunt the beast and so we set out after it.

We did not find the stag but came across a cave filled with bats – both of regular size and enormous ones. We smoked them out, slew them without too much trouble, and found some valuables inside the cave. As it was getting dark, we decided to make camp for the night in the cave.

It was late in the night when we were awoken by a strange visitor. A man of some sort, easily 15 feet tall, came to our camp. He was not hostile and we made a fire where he cooked the wings of the giant bats we had slain and happily ate them. Communication with him was difficult, for even though he seemed capable of speaking in several languages, he was a simpleton and had not the brainpower for intelligent conversation. In the morning, a giant eagle landed beside the man and ate the scraps of the giant bats that remained. Once the man and eagle were finished, he gave to us a massive ruby which, although flawed, was likely to fetch a very nice price when we returned to Midgard.

We set out to the north again and came across a shallow but strong river. With the help of Olgar’s strength we were able to cross it. As we continued to travel, we came across a giant white feather. We identified it as the feather from a celestial and took it with us. Since Olgar seemed very attached to it, we allowed him to carry it.

Soon after, we came to a town at the base of a tiered fortress. A man wearing a cloak that seemed to flow in the breeze, even when there was none, met us. Seeing the feather, he greeted us friendlily. His name was Rushing Gale and he had tattoos similar to those of the ones on the people of the fishing village but instead of images of water they were images of storm clouds. We explained that we were travelers from far away and he knew of the skull by which we traveled. He offered to schedule a meeting with the town leaders but it would be a day or so before we could meet. He escorted us to an inn in town and we arranged for lodging for the evening. 

While the others stayed in the inn, playing games and music with the locals, I decided to walk around the town to get the lay of the land and see what I might learn. During the course of my walk, I encountered 2 fools in an alleyway who intended to rob me of my coin. Before it came to that I was able to convince them it would be a bad idea to attempt to do so (I believe I used the phrase “balls of steel” at one point) and the cowards retreated to the shadows of the alley. I found some local guards who knew of the 2 and I took them to the alley so they may prevent them from mugging anyone less capable than myself. As it was getting dark at that point, I returned to the inn and rested until morning.

At noon, Rushing Gale showed up and took us into the fort to meet with the chancellor of his people, a man named Gust. I discuss the idea of establishing communications or trade routes with his people but they cannot get to the skull platform because they would need to cross a bridge controlled by the people of the fishing village. We offered to try to convince them of allowing them safe passage but it was clear the enmity between the two peoples ran deep. Gust gave Comet a dagger to present to Horath but it was clear that doing so would likely provoke a war between them.

Yarid and I then went to a grand library with a history advisor to discuss the history of Dordon. Reinforcing what was learned by previous expeditions, he told us that their scrolls detail the story of celestials that rose up to fight the demons of the land. But he also presented us with an ancient scroll recently discovered. It told a slightly different version of events, where the celestials and the demons struck a bargain, though they did not know what the bargain was. There was also a betrayal (again, they did not know by which party) and the “Righteous One” cast the demons back to the depths.

Yarid told the advisor of the unicorn that the previous expedition had encountered, as well as some of the other information he had. The history advisor was very grateful for the information.

I asked the advisor if he had a map of the land for us to take back with us and he said he had none he could spare but a crude one could be created within a few days. We arranged for him to have it left at the skull platform so that we can pick it up on our next journey to Dordon. This map might be very helpful to the next expedition.

I also asked him about the hostilities between his people and the people of the fishing village. He explained that the water people were in this city first. But the air people bred warriors for “the hierophant” and grew strong. For this, the hierophant, who is the true owner of these lands, gave the city to the air people so they drove out the water people and claim righteous ownership.

He said we might find celestials in the mountains to the north. We would first have to go across the lake, to the first river on the north side. If we follow the east side of the river for half a day, we would begin the climb into the mountains. But there are weird creatures in there, enemies of the celestials. The air people do their best to hunt and kill them but the creatures are powerful.

We returned to Gust, who was dining with Olgar, Comet, and Yolu. In conversation it became clear that the air people are warriors who have not fought in a long time. They were itching for the chance to battle, which would no doubt bring them to war with the water people.

At this point we decided we would return to Midgard and the next morning we headed back along the route we traveled. When we reached the water people of the fishing village, Comet presented the dagger to Horath who was not pleased to receive it. He left to go and make preparations, so I have no doubt that war has come to Dordon. The next journeyers there should take heed of this and plan accordingly.

Signed,

Captain Nevin Greywood

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return the body of Kreugor Firebeard
Havic 20th

Buldrak
Amber
Ida
Arriam
Varis Galanodel

We arrived at the battle grounds, finding tracks and no bodies whatsoever.
No dwarfs no goblins. We follow a tracks of what the party call a firebeard
We hear a sound of a screech from the direction the wood elves find the 
tracks are going. Ida screams for us to go in and charge yet doesn't seem
seem to do as she told us and walks to the creature and tries to calm it.
She quickly found herself doing something stupid and backs off. the
circles around the party and seems to be going for the parties donkeys. Or
so we thought, no one engaged the creature even as it scared fo the donkies
it didn't even go for the donkeys and headed in the direction we came from.
Party split in all directions.

The creature wandered off to the east (Where we came from) and we went to
the dwarf body and loaded the fire dwarf on a donkey with leaves. We had a
short water break before moving on. Traveling the where we need to bring 
the fire dwarf.

In the way down south we cam upon a small creature which the wood elves
quickly deduced was a psuedo dragon. It took and interest in the mages but
ultimatly took a liking to Ida. No words was exhanged from the creature.

We come to what looks like a frail bridge and a temple which has some 
symbols of humanoids being hovered over by some figures, much like a god.
Our mission leader moves fourth and a eyes opens in the door. With a 
whispers from our guy the door opens and the word "uncle" can be heard.

We enter the place and a skull on a platform with red smoke coming from its
eye sockets. its huge, fielding 6-7 mammoths. its seems to be much like our
own skull platform floater. We enter the skull and its works much like ours
but instead of floating its spins and burries itself down instead.

We gets taking somewhere else to another land where we a few days come to 
a place which have birds of prey, stoneclad dwarfs and giants as it approches
us but mostly Buldrak and its the "general's" body. We get to know that we
are expected to travel for 5 days to an unknown location. Buldrak told us
the less we know the better. We boated for many many day when we meet
what we got told was a corrupted giant. While we was on deck a boulder from
the currupted giant came flying and sent Ida, Buldrak and the Oamon flying.
Luckyly no one fell over board. 

We arrives at land.. for the second time and heads out yet again, after a 
while we can feel the ground rumble as we meet another giant. Most likely
currupted as it is white. But it was wrong. He seemed friendly but speaks
a language not familiar to us. Except Buldrik. I get the feeling of being
left out… but in these lands i feel anything but home so i don't really 
care. The giaint gave Lady Ida a silver shield in exhange for a… pole?


We arrive at a city which seems very defended with a drawbrigde and magna
streams. Its guarded by giant people with even larger great weapons. inside
we can't even see the roof but there is windows with fires in them. symbols
and guards are present. A mare. its a very deep hall. Inside we meet a 
giant that is so big its makes mockery of any others we have seen to now.
Must be a fire giant… again.

We got to learn the warhammer of the "uncle" was a warhammer was forged by
this very giant. A warhammer given to a general to lead his armies into
battle. We got to pose some questions inwhich Lady Ida took a interest in
doing. I gathered that there seems to be a potential civil war and probably
a war with.. goblins?

Citadel of Nistor was mentioned to be a place where there is the most knowledge
then this giant can offer. But there is only way to enter this place. A book
or a scroll of immense knowledge. Or a story for their guardian that is worthy
to them will also let you enter.

Seek out Vilmos? Needs a boat to seek this one.

There are wielder of "the high magic" that is still alive within this lands.

On our way back we was promised a safe escort by the fire bearded king.
Returning we came upon a camp of 3 ogres who didn't take lightly to our
presence. We came into battle and the female wood elf ran off immidietly.
Lady Arriam wasn't as brave as was to be expected. We got the help of a fire
giant during the combat which ended in a easy victory for us. We found a
fire greatsword in the "house" of the ogres. A nearby alter is also holding
a slot for the greatsword along with 4 other wholes. Ice, earth, wind and ?
We named it the Alter/ruins of the 5 blades. There was an inscription saying this

"The inscription says the blade of death is protected by it riders, 
For he who hold the Runeblade, Mortanica. will be the wielder of death incarnate.
Ash in found in stone
Dust is found in clouds
Time is found in the endless depths
Mirror is found in ice
Blood is found in death"

After sailign back for many days, traviling over land we met a bigger giant
Vilas. The son of Vilmas? He is a storm giant who was at least 10 feet taller
He holds the power to imbue weapons with lightning. but needs the storm forge
which is at their citadel. Vilas was on his way to meet Obadai the titan of 
Stone. 

After miles and miles of travel with the fire giant. He escorted us all the 
way. Giving us a warning to not travel south. It is extremly dangerous (we 
on a blue dot on map. End… or the start of the river). We arrive safely 
at safe place. 27 days traveled. 

Loot gained
Giant silver coin
Fire great sword (Ashblade) (went to Oemon/Luchi)
Ring(s) of communication? (went to Varis/Wolf)
52 gold (pr player)
8 silver (pr player)
4 copper (pr player)

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Adventure to "Dragonhold" - Sunmar 45
My first Adventure on the West side of Midgard

Sunmar 45th 11th year of King Godrics Reign

I was waiting for Lord Westingford in his dining hall, eating a nice meal after my long travel from the Far Eastern Forrest. I was almost done my meal when the Lord called me into his Solar, and I walked in to meet Eddon Gray, the Lords nephew, Gleipnir a Drawf Cleric, Andreth a human Warlock, and Grin a  Rogue.

They had been talking of Eddons recent forray into St. Cuthburts tomb, and Andreths ability to remove the ancient sword from its holding place. I was called in when they began to speak of their next journey. A well liked Dragonborn Paladin had found part of a relic that helped lead the way to an ancient dragonhold. His mission was to find a sword said to help protect from Evil and Dragonkin. With the current party unable to read certain languages, I readily volunteered myself and my magic, and the Lord assured them I'd be of help. We planned shortly and then readied for the morning.

Havis 1st

Gelipnir hands Eddon some sort of arm bracelet, looking sad, and then asking him to lead the way. We headed west to the Pelias wall via long saddle. When we reached the gate, we notice a group of Drwarves from the west. The guards noticed Eddon, and opend the gate without question. The gate opened smoothly without as much as a mouses squeek thanks to the "Dreen Dwarves" Grin spoke with them breifly and heard that not much has happened around the gates recently.

Eddon mentioned a dream he had, in which his patron laid an artifact on the ground infront of a ruin named Valdins Hold, so we headed North-Northwest heading there. After travelling only around 8 miles Northwest there were a group of barows a slight way off that the animals sneered at while we passed, growing more complacent the furthur away we walked. We continued another 8 miles through the hillsand seen some sort of ruined village or temple that we veered away from. We could always investigate it later, or on the way back to Santuar.

 

We kept on, until we came across a broad river flowing south. It was to wide and deep to ford with the animals. We followed it north and named it Allcia River. After another 6 miles or so we passed the lake that the river was flowing in and out of, it was still hilly, with light forest around us. As we were looking for a place to camp, we walked over a rise and seen a ruined stone mill. I went to investigate it and found that it might have been a mill for ancient dwarves, as it was impecibly old, but the stonework base was still in decent shape. Checking for traps, I find none, but do notice some tracks. It looked to be full of wild game, but I also notice some tracks that looked like a bi-pedal pig. Maybe Boarmen.

Grin and myself found nothing of interest, but Eddon found  a small alter on an inlet in the middle of the shallowed river. We made camp near this marble alter, thinking that we would have notice of any animals of creatures trying to sneam up on us. Gleipnir merged himself into stone to protect his own body. Through inestigation, Eddon believed the alter belonged to Naery. Unbenownst to us, lighting a fire beside an Alter dedicated to water was a bad idea.

During Grins watch, while I was in the middle of my trance, a Specter appeared and proceeded to charm grin. Seeing him get up and walk strangely into the river I got up to see what was the matter. Thats when I first seen the Specter and a giant eel, that vanished infront of my eye. Andreth cast waterwaking upon us, and we all rushed in to fight the bitch. Her first move (in combat), however was to cast mass dispell, which caused us to fall into wasit/shoulder deep water. I believed we had almost defeated her, when Eddon, Grin and myself were frozen in the river. The Specter tried to threaten us, but I wouldn't back down. After she left, the large frozen chunk of ice began to float swiftly down the river. Barrakus, with strength twice that of a normal warhorse blocked the floating ice and allowed us to escape.

Gleipnir and Grin each recieved a strange mark on their forearm. I felt something comming upon me, but I shrugged it off with my willpower. We then gathered our belonging and made camp in the ruined mill for the rest of the night.

Havis 2nd

We continuedNorth-northwest untill eventually comming across an enormoul tracks arounds cavern with more unusual tracks around. Again, we passed it by. We finaly reached a strange brokendown fortress. We found day old tracks that reminded me of lizardfolk, but we werent planing on staying so it didn't bother us. Eddon knew this was where he needed to be. Valdins Hold. He looked around for a short while before exlaiming in joy. He had found what he was looking for, a small artifact of St. Cuthbert. We continued on toward DragonHold. We went about 3 miles in very difficult terrain. It was starting to become dark again, and we looked for a palce to spend the night.  We eventually found a small outcrop of rocks, surrounded be trees and shrubs. In the lower areas it looked as if there were large buffalo that travelled through often, and recently. We took the higher area thinking it was safe, and set up camp under the trees. I stayed up in the trees for my watch, but returned to the ground for my trance. During the night, there was a ruccous, and when I opened my eyes there was a giant Buffalo walking towards me. Out of instinct I jumped into a tree, but the Buffalo still charged right into the mule that was with us, her name was Frankie.

 

To be Continued.

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first death in Doredon.
Death of the Donkey slayer.

Doredun. 7th of Havis


Ida, Amber, Yarid, Varis, Savric

 

Havis 7th.  

Amber buys her 5th donkey, and we head out to the skull. After arriving at the platform we headed west for 24 miles until we found a river. We decided to camp inside a bears cave, hoping it would not come back during the night, it did. We made short work of it, killing it with arrows and magic. Skinning it yielded 7 claws ,  9 teeth and a fine bear hide, 91.5gp worth of a bear. Upon further inspection we found that it was already wounded by 2 bolts from a crossbow. Yarid could tell us that the make of the bolts was fine, and that the bolts had traveled at great speed to penetrate the beast so far, from these facts he surmised that they must have been of dwarven make. we also found out that the reason this cave was so lucrative to the bear was that it was heated from a source of warm water flowing underground inside of the cave, so we were kept warm all night.


Havis 8th, 
We decided to find the source of the hot water in the cave, so we followed the heat until we found a hot spring lake, as we approached it we saw a unicorn, Ida decided to approach it and it hailed us in Celestial and in Elven.
It told us its name was Jubilant Mane, and that it was the springs guardian, given this task by the Hirophant, a Seraph level Celestial, who apparently rules all Celestials in the lands of Doredun. Jubi also told us that if we were smart, we would once a year go on a pilgrimage to the far north, up the mountains, and pay homage, and leave a offering of submission to Hirophant. But we were also told that the hike up the mountain would be arduous and the mix of cold and low oxygen could lead us to our deaths.
Yarid then asked the Unicorn for info on Devine symbols and was shown 2, a shadowed cloaked figure, which the elfs follow, and an iron circlet, of the rock people, probably some sort of Earth Genasi tribe.

After leaving Jubi and his Onsen, we travled south for about 12-14 miles, and came to the end of the forest and the start of some kind of devastated landscape, barren as far as we could see.
Varis and Savric went out hunting for food, and Amber decided to go out and look for some plants all by her self, leaving Ida and Yarid to make camp by them self, Ida makes a fire after the tents are set up and Yarid reads a book.
After Varis and Savric return to camp with rabbits and other small game, we make food and wait for Amber, after she does not show up an additional hour later, we track her down and find a band of Wood-elfs.

Ida hails them and approaches slowly while asking them for a parley, the leader of the elfs, Surge Stride, a druid, tells us that yes, they have seen a dwarf fitting Ambers description in the area, and tells us that sadly they killed her as there is a war between elfs and dwarves in Doredun. We go on to negotiate the return of Ambers body, Yarid talks to the elf Swift Force about pipe-weed, and we forge a tentative truce with the elfs and us, the "skullwalkers" until an emissary from us goes to the Heart-tree and talks to their leader to forge a more permanent arrangement for us to not have to choose a side in a war we have no stake in.
he sends out word ahead of us to please leave us alone as we only want to go home and mourn. We return to camp carrying Amber and go to sleep.


Havis 9th
the next day Ida notices that ambers body deteriorates, due to a deal struck with the demon Sammael, her soul turns her skin red and cracked. Yarid talkes about striking deals with devils, demons and celestials, and how this happens to all bodies that have their soul claimed. We have an idea about the spring, and that it might save her soul at least, so we head back to Jubi to ask for permission to add her body to the water, Jubi goes on to explain that the body will be destroyed, but the soul will be trapped in the lake and give it more strength and nourish the land.

yarid looks at the unicorns focus, 2 wings around a hair from the Heirophant's head, in a locket.
the unicorn gives yarid an insect, it works as a summon for Jubilant mane, only to be used in times of trouble, it will only live for a few days.


We continue on our journey north-east towards the skull platform. on-route we are ambushed by bull-centaurs, and we fight for our lives, calling upon Jubi to help us.
The epic fight between humanoids, bull-centaurs and a unicorn is swift and decisive, and we come out victorious. After getting the heads and weapons from them, we headed out once more.
the rest of the journey back to the skull was smooth.

Log partly by Amber before death, and then completed by Ida.

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Demonic trip to Death's Landscape
First game GM'd by Rigo

Present:
Amber, Dwarf Druid, lvl 3 (Luchi)
Andreth, Human Cleric 1/Warlock 4 (Niko)
Entity, Colossi Fighter 1/Warlock 3/Sorcerer 2 (Simon I.)
Ida, Human Cleric 3 (Jimmy)
Scarlock, Wood Elf Ranger 4 (VRH)
 
––––––––––
 
Report of the events of the first official journey to Dordon, from the 36th to the 39th of Sunmar, year 1186, under the banner of Lord Westingford’s Men by Andreth Norian, deacon in the Church of Kastus in Santaur, Westmarch.
 
To my beloved temple brothers and sisters.
As it is becoming common practice, I was called by the the Earl’s Company to join an expedition. Our destination was an uncharted realm reachable by one of the flying skulls. It was my hope that with both mine and the Lord Earl’s champion’s presence our initial contact with natives of the area could proceed without unnecessary conflict. Though that came true I caught Entity’s demeanor having shifted for the less patient since I saw him last.
Having left in the dim glow of the morning sun it was not yet midday when the jaw of our transport vessel closed behind us. The travel took less time in this occasion. Something I was disappointed by for the things’ dweomer seems to calm the frequent aches in my bones. We landed on a mountainside which provided great vision of the surroundings. The peaks of the mountain range continued farther south than we could see and a few miles north of us glimmered a rather large lake, a sea perhaps. To the west there were plains with little obvious features to take note of. Leading east was a path leading to a what our guide discerned to be a fishing village. Hoping to acquire information from the inhabitants we headed forth and before long a sentry tower in the fields caught our sight. A boy not more than 15 summers old greeted us and questioned our origin as well as intent. After landing an arrow beside Scarloc’s foot as a warning. We later learned the lad’s name to be Garf. His features were of a human though his presence emanated flowing water in colour and sound. He informed us of the hideous dwarves of the mountains and the elves in the south who war against each other. He took Amber to be one of these dwarves and wondered how she managed to make her way here. To his people the dwarves were a loathed race with whom they had warred in the past and wish now to stay far from. Luckily our explanation of our journey on the skull changed his attitude somewhat to the side of curiosity rather than agitated. My guess is that Amber lacking the dreadful stench of these mountain dwellers also played a part. Lastly he enlightened us of the many tattoos on his covering his body and a lone “skull walker” who had arrived here not too long ago. Skull walker was the name his kin gave to anyone who arrived via these relics which their believe believe to be cursed. As for the tattoos; they are each a mark of beneficial or great deed for their clan. We were told it would be grossly against tradition for any outsider to possess one. Much of this knowledge was confirmed and added to in the village by Horath, one of the elders. He was a man who barely had any room left for additional marks of glory on him. Horath warned us of the savage wildlife on the river’s eastern side. Animals there had begun to grow to huge proportions over time and very few have the courage to hunt there anymore. Also he taught us to not eat most plants as they remain poisonous even when cooked. We received friendly enough treatment and I would have liked to prolong our stay and engage in even longer conversation but the elder’s subtle hints directed us to get on our way. From what I gathered the previous visitor, “skull walker” had somehow disgraced the villager’s deity’s, Ichie’s, shrine. Ichie’s name aptly means “provider of water” in Aquan. If a suitable time arrives, I believe it would be valuable to make a trip to this holy place of theirs and correct any wrongs which the traveler might have done. Us and him are similar enough in the villagers’ eyes to cause worry. We expressed our with to meet this man and were pointed to follow the river one and a half days south.
By the river we found tracks of giant, larger than man frogs as well as well as reptile creatures which stood upright who we had also been made knowing of by Horath. Scarloc located an old bear cave for us to camp in around before the darkness set in. Roughly two hours before the break of dawn our ranger roused us to help stave off a pack of nine lizardmen who had crawled up from the nearby stream. The creatures quickly made their intentions clear with battle cries in a Draconic tongue and we took position. Dispatching them was a simple task. Their gear was crudely made and none we encountered had unnatural powers at their possession. Like in Zuralex before, Ida proved her ability in close combat and held the enemy back alongside Amber, who in this occasion took the form of a great and ferocious canine. Nobody suffered harsh injuries and soon enough the first rays of sunlight beckoned us to continue our travel.
After midday we came across a ruin of a fortress. An older man who looks told of a long trek made welcomed to his camp. He was very forthcoming and helpful for us though gave us only a vague descriptions of his intent or purpose. He was indeed the skull walker the villager’s told us about and had come from our realm. Much of the area’s stonework was covered in script in a language of which only Entity could interpret by the effect of one of its spells. After hearing of this the man tells us of a dream he had seen where a serpent breathing thunder and lightning had came down from the skies. Angels had tried to keep it at bay but to no avail. So they had asked for fell demons for assistance and a deal of some kind had been struck. That was as much as he had seen. Our detection spells also had revealed a small wooden case hidden in under one of the partially collapsed towers. My suspicions of the man’s druidic nature were affirmed as the performed a ritual to hold the falling rocks in place for a brief minute, allowing my associates to retrieve the buried item. The box’s contents were three gemstones, an emerald, a ruby and a sapphire. In different capacity each were connected to the demons the writings told were about, especially the ruby. After hearing of this the druid informed us of a cult possibly attempting a summoning ritual and connected to the stones less than a day’s travel south. For safety’s sake we dared not bring the most foul gem with us there and left it behind. Amber was against this at first eventually however agreeing to forget her greedy needs.
The path to the vile sect’s hold was through a forest. We had been instructed to exercise caution in the wood but the inhabitants proved too deft at hiding. With only a few miles left we were ambushed. Had it not been for Scarloc’s excellent wit our situation would have been grave indeed. He spotted the elves’ trap a moment before they jumped us and even drew some of their archers fire to protect us. This time Amber took the fierce form of a bear. The elven skirmishers wielded strange bent pieces of wood which they hurled through the air at us. The weapons would make a turn and arrive back to the thrower in the case they missed. One elf had magic which turn an area into a terrible mess of vegetation that bound me in place for some time. In the end we managed to capture an archer to hopefully extract knowledge from and in the best scenario, let go. Turned out he had no intention to let us learn anything. During the clash Ida had been knocked down and anger over this made many of my allies lose their cool. I had some difficulty quelling their lust for revenge yet was able to have everyone agree on allowing to spare his life. We were in no condition to face a hostile cult that day and so made camp. Our stronger members helped Scarloc to bury the elves in the traditional style, leaving all their belongings alone and the corpses on a raised platform for the scavengers to feed on.
We had to make brisk pace the next day to get our captive to a place of relative safety and still make it to the supposed summoning site. The druid agreed to hold onto him for a moment as long he brought no additional trouble. My legs and feet felt like they might fall off any moment by the time our destination finally came into view. It was a stone built of dark stone and etched with hundreds of dweomer imbued runes. A loud and repeated chant echoed from within. Our ever skillful tracker estimated there to be ten members joining the mantra. A few young birches provided us enough cover to approach without being detected. I kept to the back and so had little vision of what transpired next as well as being distracted by a soon following assault on my mind. Entity had stepped forward into the vision of a guard before the tower and following a denial of entry promptly blasted the person to smithereens. Many small hints pointed that the place was indeed home of sinister intention and so others joined the battle, everyone but me. As soon as the man had been felled a fiendish presence began stabbing my consciousness with invisible needles and flung my senses into disarray. I could feel a battle taking place not far from my now writhing body and a dreadful sense of helplessness in my inability to protect my companions. It felt as if I was trapped in pit of blades which sliced away at my being each one slightly deeper than the previous, keeping  the sensation fresh and rewarding for the torturer. Truly the thoughts that slipped their way into my own mind were the most horrid aspect of it.
I recall the first sound I heard after coming to my senses to have been some man’s death throes. I scrambled up and headed to assist. I was relieved to find my party in good health and last of the enemy fleeing into a stairwell. Ida yelled for us to retreat – she was going to bring down the building. Two well aimed incantations later a support pillar gave in and made the place’s insides collapse. The dust cloud had hardly begun to settle when a glowing red hue crashed down from the skies. Out from the half-smashed building emerged with haughty gestures a incredibly tall red skinned and winged thing, a demon. Entity hastily tried to blast it, for little to no effect. It was obvious we could not defeat such a thing and luckily it did not have a desire to tear us to shreds either. No doubt we had done it a favor, it told us. The cult members had planned to enslave him like celestials in the days of old. I remember the surprise on our faces when he begun to tell the story but not much more after that. I was later informed that he was somewhat displeased with myself stealing an important piece of a body on the altar before it became part of him during the ritual. Surely a misunderstanding as I was on the ground fighting for my sanity when the fight took place. A fact the others have indeed confirmed true. They tried telling me repeatedly how I was acting unnaturally while there. They claimed I was charmed. Something I had at the time denied but now know to be true. My memory and clear vision came back to me once we arrived back in our realm. Be the thing a demon or whatnot; even its might doesn’t carry through the mysts.

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Nabbinga poacher

Havis 4th (VRH)
ida lvl 4        Amber lvl 4    Olgar lvl 4

4th of Havis  we headed for Sarek from the skull, the weather was nice so this was unexspected wich almost lead to deaths of ida and olgar.  So leaving the skull we travled, was a small change for a storm to brew far far to the east. but this was no storm, a strange wave of cold, as the air it self started to crystalise and sudden a tick icy mist was all around us.  Olgar who decided we had the best chance of survining this was to leav the camp. we followed his lead, and walked a mile north as ida was freezing and shortly after Olgar was freezing and shriving too.  Not long after Ida, Olgar and my trusty donky fell to the cold, little choice i had i took Ida and Olgar carrying them while i was sprinting all i could  in bear form.  As luck was on my side i soon found myself outside of the cold where the sun was blazing down. 


After they regained theirs senses we all left back to the camp, where we found huge tracks, like if someone had used stone pillars to make these prints. After the rest we set out to volkenheim. After talking to  Wormbreaker and Hildr  i found out the Amber grass i seek, was in these hot spots, but i should travel 2 days from Volkenheim as  they dont travel that far away from camp.
We found some tracks of a keynine walking on two legs heading north over the bridge, but seeing we where going to the blood axe we decided not to follow them. After Olgar touched the battle axe he was out cold for serveral days, leaving me and Ida to take care of him again.  seeing Ida touching the same axe Olgar touched she seemed to be fine and returned with a nice looking axe who was a gift to Wormbreaker, that later Olgar rehilted to a 2h axe that he got as a gift as he is now a member of the blood axe's or so. Ida got a sack of gold and silver dwarwen made coins.


Leaving Volkenheim we sat out to find a nice place to set down a totem to make it safer to travel. not much happen after this. returned to the skull and whent home.

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Battle of Zuralex
the fall of Shiek, Omora, and all dwarves present.

30th of Sunmar

So, as I am learning how to write properly in this language, I was told to write about the happenings of the battle of Zuralex.

So there I was, minding my own business when Entity shows up raving and waving a letter about. After I calmed him down he handed it to me and it read as follows:
"A messenger comes bearing a dire request that he needs 8 able bodied men or woman to help fend off the army of Burktiri that is marching to Zuralex." Signed Ardol Krav.

Entity then went on to tell me that he was gathering a party to go help out, and that he wanted me to help him. So we set forth to gather the rest and gather gear, traps, spikes, anti-toxins and so forth. anything we could need for an entrenched battle.

So the 30th we headed out; Entity, Omora, Sheik, Puck, Andreth, Amber, and I.
As soon as we stepped of the skull-platform in Zuralex we were greeted by Kreugor Firebeard, a dark skinned dwarf, with molten blood and fire for hair and bear, I thought he looked rather awesome, for a dwarf, or fire-dwarf as he self proclaimed.
He told us he had taken time off from killing Hill-giants to come to Ardol's aid in defending Zuralex, just like us.

After we had been told a bit about the layout of the camp, we were allowed to do some minor adjustments and improvements to the camp and surrounding areas. We proceeded to do so, and then had some final talks to the troops and their leaders.

Shortly there after we were under siege, and bolts & poison darts were flying in all directions as the goblins came from the east and the west. Wave after wave broke against our defenses, but we grew fewer and fewer each time, as many a valiant dwarf died this day.

As the fifth or sixth wave came against us, they saw fit to bring Ogres and Trolls with them. taunting us all the while. I do not know how long we fought, but somewhere along the way we lost Shiek, Omora, and even Kreugor.

The rest I can only write about as hear-say, as I was struck unconscious during our fallback.
They tell of a dragon, striking a deal with Entity, and of a brave escape to the platform, I do not remember much as I was weakened and carried around by Entity.

All I know is that I am glad to be alive today, but saddened by the loss of Zuralex, and so many Dwarven lives. One can only hope the goblin army of Burktiri suffered as greatly, or worse in taking it.

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Of Frostfangs, Valkyrie, and Storms
From the journals of Gleipnir Oathold

10th – 25th of Sunmar, 1186

The party of Bodi, Gleipnir, Grin, Entity, and Sheik headed out to brave Sarek in the summer month of Sunmar.  We had agreed, much to my joy, that we were going to attempt the long journey to my people's hold far to the Southwest.  The road, however, would be long and treacherous at times proving more dangerous than we could handle.  With that in mind and with Entity's description of the Summer months, we decided to gear out appropriately.  Horses were rustled, saddles were cinched, rations were stocked, and even a wagon bough and set to our mounts.  Indeed, everyone seemed ready for the trek, and I would say the company started in high spirits.  The Southwood, simple as ever was an easy trek and the worst spotted was a single group of Lynx tracks though they never showed.  Only a single day passed before we came to the set of cabins we would orient from.  We met with Captain Ignar there, said some quick words of intent, and journeyed further afield upon the road newly melted.  And here our troubles truly started to mount.

As we deliberated upon which fork in the road to veture, a great booming began to sound in  the distance.  Sheets of rain soon followed, and within minutes what had once been a sunny day turned to what amounted to thundering shower.  Fear of the horses bolting, or the wagon being damaged perked us to action.  We began bolting and tying down all we had, even managed to calm the horses.  Then we placed an…"offering" upon the road.  It was known that Vondal loved to strike the ground with his lightning, and metal was his favorite target.  With this in mind, I conjured forth a great spire for Vondal to strike.  It sated the storm lord, and thankfully we were not endangered by the worst of the winds.  From the fork we journeyed northwest, though we learned later is was west/northwest, and saw a few things of notes.  Wolves had been scouring through the local wood, likely hunting the giant elk calves we spotted.  We shooed both, though Entity wished to speak with an elk and even managed the feat later, and we continued along the road. Once more Vondal reared his storm front, and once more we battened down the hatches!  Our sacrfice however was in vain, and we were forced to weather the hurricane winds.  Luckily our wagon was not toppled, and our horses did not manage to bolt, but we feared that Vondal was dead set on denying us our course.

We soon reached the lake Captain Ignar spoke of in his tale, at least the one we assumed was correct.  However, during our journey west along the lakes southern beach we came across a river far to quickly, even before the hills we were meant to find!  We had obviously confused our way and started for the lake further south.  No sooner had we turned the cart around next to the river, then a howling began.  Not kin to the storms of Vondal, instead it seemed the wolves we had shooed had come for us again.  These wolves were strange however with pelts of winter white across their bodies, and a cold emanated from them that could burn a man's hand in hoarfrost.  When you managed to lay them low, instead of curling up like a stuck beast they melted into the ground like snow.  Of course, Bodi took the opportunity to make an offering to Bloodaxe, and we called them Frostfangs of the northern woods.  Be careful if you see wolves in white pelts indeed.

We made for the lake, hoping that our troubles lay behind us, and indeed we were rewarded by a clearer sense of direction.  No river blocked our path, and no wolves were at our backs, but once more Vondal unleashed his furies.  We hoped that perhaps we could make our way through, erring towards more than halfway through our journey, and the rained had not yet echoed in thunder.  We were mistaken however, and just as Bodi lost his way so to did we lose our bet with Vondal.  The rain churned and grew into a typhoon, and firebolts soon filled the sky again.  Unfortunately, caught out amidst the field we had no where to go to for cover, worse still no trees to tie our horses to, and Vondal again was deaf to our pleas and sacrifice.  Smiting the thunder rod and bursting ablaze, Vondal's full storm met us.  We tried to hold what we could, but canvas sheared, goods and food were lost, and even Rolf, Grin's new steed, bolted across the plain in terror.  From the storm, we had not yet given up on our journey and hoped, in spite of Vondal's insistence we could still make for the foothills.  We were wrong and soon more furies met us carried upon Vondal's storming winds.

Not cloud, nor gale assailed us after we waited out the storm to a drizzle.  Instead, along this new lake's beachfront we were accosted by what can only be described as winged woman.  With bows in hand, strewn with devilry and fetid arrows,  these harpies struck fast and quick.  Dodging threw the air as they shot from their bows, they harassed us in our skivvies, which I did not appreciate.  It seemed Grin would be the first to be taken by the foul fowl, but his luck held, and with magic, steel, and a leaping bite from Frey, we beat back them though not without serious lingering wounds upon us.  I had thought us tougher stuff than this, but with horse lost, and our company suffering ailing wounds, we thought wise to turn back at this point.  I hope my Stern Lady Korsh will understand.

We turned and strode along the appropriate path west/southwest.  These flying vixens again attacked, though in lesser number, and again we repelled.  In the forest, it became difficult for them to make their marks, and thankfully in daylight we could both take advantage of the cover of the wagon, and were fully armed.  In this they seemed a trifle, if it not for their lucky strike on Sheik who nearly fell to an arrow that slit through his throat like a knife rotting the trunk of a tree.  I cured Sheik his ill, and knew now more than before, that greater pains must be taken for this journey to succeed.  If we had pushed for the foothills, I fear we may not have returned to Santuar alive, if at all.

To end in one last hurrah, Vondal's storms again saw us off.  I had had enough of these wretched winds, and I swear if I find a way to stymie wind, I will tie them down if it means making the hold.  Again we strapped down horse and wagon, and again we made sacrifice to Vondal, and fortunately he accepted the iron shaft.  Once more we saw Captain Ignar in the cabins, and though we had not made our destination we know more of the hinterlands now, and by Muradin on high I will craft us something to bring the birds, wolves, and storms to heel!

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A Detour and the Fane of Hess
An expedition to seek Hess in the lands of Sarek

Herein lies the log of events taking place between the 42nd of Mittern and 5th of Sunmar. The weather was favourable. And all in company in good health, except for myself, who was already tired from my previous journey. I, Entity, sworn to the Lord Earl Westingford of Westmarch, put pen to this telling of events. Know that within is all one needs to find Hess, if one has time and tenacity.


Our number was four:
Myself,
Eddon,
Ida,
and Sheik


Gathered to make an attempt to reach Hess the group gathers for the journey to the skull platform. Spirited away safely as always, we arrive in Sarek. Here it is also summer as the now missing snow tells. We strike out straight for our destination, heading north west into the pine forest. We travel for 24 miles in that direction before making a camp. Our spirits are high as the weather is pleasant, though not much is said between us. As we continued our journey that next day we hit a crevasse, and so need go around it. We took the path south west alongside it, a poorer choice it would turn out, yet not disastrous. What we ought have done was go north and east, thus walking by the Fane of the Blood-axe and finding the river and the bridge there which we used on our way home. So we would have saved many a day of travel. But we did not and therefore went along the crevasse for another 12 miles before we needed rest once more and there we came upon a cabin. It had been recently stocked, perhaps a summer task and the attic was brimming with goods. This cabin also lay near a small spring, making it an excellent stop if one were to travel the road and not mind a detour for water. Ida found the spring as she was out hunting, and returned with the news of it, as well as two rabbits, making food for a man and six days. The following day saw us still wandering such, but only for a further 6 miles; where the crevasse ended and met up with the road, only to continue onwards on the other side of the road. It seems that both road and crevasse would be hidden under snow otherwise, and unwary travellers in spring or autumn ought not be so; for one might fall in. Sometime early that day we also found that a campfire had been set not long ago, with tracks of boots heading east, I think it was in the afternoon, thus placing it near the road and the end of the crevasse, making me think they travelled east not by woods but on the road.

The forest left us here, and we entered a wide plain, now attempting to make our way back whence we had come, having lost days to the crevasse. And yet Vondal slept, or perhaps raged elsewhere, for calm was the wind and cloud. North west was now our direction for 12 miles, then north for 6. During this day we passed by trees which had been clawed upon by some great animal, I tended their bark with magics as the other broke for a quick rest and then we set off. Also, I do not recall where on our path, was another campfire; this one had bones scattered all around, and so we left quickly.

We camped again, and the next day we managed our way further north, 6 miles into our journey was a crag, and it seemed to open unto some cave or other deep down. We had not time to investigate and so pressed on. So we hit the river 6 miles farther north and sending Valdin, and Sphere, east and west respectively, we waited for news of a crossing. For the river here was maybe 30 feet across and very deep with clear snow melt from the north and west. Sphere told that west and north the river ran ever more fierce, but Vladin said east it was wider, calmer too. Ida, our guide, said that rivers run calmer and shallower where they are wide, and so we headed east to find crossing and so we did 12 miles down river. We made our crossing and so found a cabin there. It had been damaged by claws, examination showed that the creature was two legged, and yet the marks were all at waist height. Inside was no better; blood there was and more damage. I set about mending the shelter with magics and this would turn our fates. For it seems there are powers that be in Sarek which feed of such, and they came for us, invisible and hungry. We tried to fight, to block the entrance and so lock them inside, but we could not hear them, not see them and when one walked straight through Sheik, or so he's told me since, it started to dawn on us that retreat was an option best taken. Barakus and Valdin were our rescue; for so we could make our escape safe and sound, travelling two miles east.

We made camp once more, some miles from the cabin and now Ida told more of the creatures which had come down upon us, calling them followers, or spawn; which she was not sure, of Nemir. They sense magic from miles away as it flares in their otherwise blind eyes, so they gather to feed. As she told, we made camp, and then an elk appeared. No normal elk either, for it was such in size that none before have been larger. Ida, inspired by the mounts of Eddon and Sheik, approached it with calling sounds and open palm. Indeed it seemed to take to it, but only for a moment, and as we made ready to fight, she suddenly changed her tone of voice and now the elk responded. She fed it some berries from her rations while petting it, and until she tried to mount it all was fine. But then it was not; and the elk attacked. However, such are elks that even if big, they are not a danger to four armed and ready; we drove it off. The night was peaceful after and we had rest.

We now struck north west once more and so, even as I began to doubt Ida's honesty about her claimed intent as our guide, we came upon a stone. It had a leather band with hair tied fast onto it as a crown, marking it fane to a god. Clearly the site of ritual, and ritual sacrifice at that, the only sign of life nearby was a leather tent. I argued with Ida, coming out into the open about my doubts and this place she had taken us to, and when pressed she confessed that she had been lost, but that this was the landmark she had searched for. I wished that we press on; for this was not the forest we sought, but it was argued that perhaps whoever lived in the tent might know the way, and so I was satisfied by sending Sphere to look north for us. Sphere returned to tell that beyond the hills only miles north of us was the start of a twisted woodland. Yet we stayed, for perhaps the stranger might know ought of the land and the dangers ahead. And well was it that I took advice and calm head with my companions; for they were right indeed. Me and Ida went out to hunt once more, I asked Valdin come with me should need be for haste, and learned from talking with Sheik that Valdin was once a normal horse, but wandered into the mists. There the horse found the ancient soul of a man sworn to duty beyond death; Valdin. As was the man’s want and custom he took possession of the horse and so Valdin could leave the mists once more to seek a means to complete its duty. It seemed to me that Vladin had done so before, being many horses over the years. Thus I thanked Valdin, not Sheik for the favour of company as it was Valdin who chose to go of reasoned free will, an ability more horses ought to practice in my opinion. Yet I returned empty handed, not knowing what men would eat. However Ida had success once more and came back with two birds to be plucked, cooked and consumed.

A man came to us at twilight, a word used to set time and not scene for indeed the sun does not set in Sarek this time of year, and instead lingers red in the north before riding once more. The man was as the tent; clad in leathers and hides, and seemingly without forged metal. So it told he was a hermit and by closer inspection Sphere found the figure male, with amber eyes; slitted like those of a cat. He spoke to us, naming himself Hirkar, shaman of Hess, and likely it seems too. He calls me spawn of the beloved of Kine and warns me of entry into the forest, and yet he is willing to guide us. We all make camp around the tent and in the morning Hirkar leads us into the hills and the forest beyond. The branches seem to move out of his path and well is that, for here no mortal may travel unhindered, and, says Hirkar, her children would shred us bone from tendon. He leads us on and we seem to lose track of time, travelling ever deeper. We come before a house, old, unkempt and filthy with refuse, trash and old bones, even humanoid ones. Hirkar leads us inside to a circular room where he has a desk. He mixes a potion and explains that once he drinks it we shall have words with her, and that she has limited time. I ask that I go first, for I seek not only to rid myself of Lithar's mark, but others as well. They graciously agree, and so I am allowed to make my attempt as Hirkar downs the potion; blood and herbs all. His eyes roll back into his skull; showing a white which we thought not there, and he then speaks…

Hess is much like seraphs, and, I think other gods, for she does as she pleases in her own manner, and starts by addressing us all in turn, calling Ida daughter of Koros, me a spawn of the belowed of Kine and of Sheik and Eddon as children of Voros. She speaks her hatred of the Masters who supposedly sowed the first seed of my people, she speaks of Sheik's and Eddon's gods, and that she is saddened by their fate; not being able to come with them as the dwarves' progenitor did. I attempt to ask my favour, and she seems almost insulted that I thought one such as myself, a Colossi, would be allowed to enter and leave her domain alive. We talk of Lithar, his purpose is made clear; to hunt those who waste and take where there is no need. It seems to me a just cause and I explain that we did not mean do such in the ruin of the cave, for we saw not food in the human meat, we saw not shelter in the cave, but a dangerous hole in which some monster might lurk to prey upon the hunters and providers of the land. So we learned one of the wills of Hess; that one take only what one is owed by the land. She says that if one in the party would speak for me, and take the mark upon themselves, there to be inactive for a year and a day, to be removed upon the completion of a task, she will indeed agree to remove it, but not from all, just me alone. The others she says, shall have to come before her themselves to seek their freedom. I dare not ask this, I do not ask this, of any of my companions, yet Ida unwaveringly speaks up. She says she seeks her own boon of Hess, and that she will take on this task, in exchange for powers that would grant her passage through the lands of Sarek. Hess agrees, and sets Ida the task of finding and slaying a man, a poacher and, in her eyes, pest upon the land. Ida agrees also, and though I make clear that I expect no such sacrifice on her behalf for me, she makes the bargain. Hess turns to the remaining two, but they would ask no boon of her, and she says she is sorry to hear so, for there is much they could ask, and she answer.

So Hirkar regains his senses, and sets about mixing another draught. He offers it to Ida and it is he who explains her task, to find the man, two days north of here where the children of Horsh dwell, and to slay him. He sets the deadline; one year and a day, and bids Ida drink. She does, and her eyes turn into those of a cat; yet blue still. I find them unique and when she asks me I say so. Her final boon from Hess is a single hair, a foot long, to be used for a shrine in her name which Ida wishes to build. Thus Hirkar leads us out of the cursed woods, and I ask that he tell me Hess' wish that I might write it down, for it seems to me that the people of the land are not as aware of her wishes as they could stand to benefit to be. Yet he would not for Hess does not wish her word writ, but rather learned, she wishes not to make scholars, but wise men and women; survivors. So I am told to tell of my story and meeting, and so I agree to do, as the people of Sarek ought know what Hess thinks wrong before they do it, and so choose with open eyes their own path. Ida consults with Hirkar, and they seem to be in understanding with one another, she names him brother fore we leave.

She now takes us east, to the sea indeed. But ever dangerous is Sarek, and here lay ship smashed upon the shore, bodies of men thrown up on the shore. And not by storm of Vondal, but by creatures of the sea; they have been stabbed by spear and dagger, and their chests crushed in by suction-cupped tentacles, others broken by claw and force. This may well the work of the Draugr; sworn enemies of Thane Rolf's people and foe to all of Volkenheim. Not wishing part of this fate we leave and make camp elsewhere. So we come to the river where it meets the sea and west by few miles we find a bridge to cross by. We pass by due east of the Blood-axe's Fane and so come finally to Volkenheim's lands. Here I ask that we detour to meet the Thane, for I wish to bring him news and tidings. And Ida also, has business there and so our course is set. I tell Sheik and Eddon for the blood they take and inspect, to make sure enemies do not pass over their threshold, and how they do not keep the blood after, but destroy it. Eddon would still go, but not Sheik, who would wander the shore with Valdin for some time. Sphere stays with them as messenger in need, and we approach the settlement of Volkenheim. The sentries go to fetch Thane Rolf and he greets us warmly as always, but, again as always, insists that the test be taken. Ida turns her head so her eyes might not be seen, and I attempt to cover for her by telling loudly of our adventure, but Hildr, mother of the Than and seer of Volkenheim, bids her meet her eyes and so Ida is revealed, but instead of fear or anger, her change is taken as proof of our story, and so my words, that Hess, goddess of Life, Death and the Natural order, wishes that all take only that which they are owed and not waste. Thane Rolf, wise and understanding of my purpose sees the need for this to be known, and so bids that word be spread of this. Ida and Hildr talk, and it soon becomes clear that Ida has commissioned a totem, animal heads in pole with Hess' on top; in there to be entombed the single hair of Hess. She wishes it raised by the platform so travellers from Westmarch may give tribute and service fore setting out, and perhaps take wisdom from Hess.

I introduce Eddon to The Rolf Wyrmbreaker, and they exchange cultural and titular knowledge. For the rites of the Sarek people are not as ours, yet not alien. They select ruler not by trial of arms by other men or by succession, but by duel, the Holmgang. A ritual battle, duel even, between two who would settle a dispute, take territory or defend honour. It seemed a kin to the duels of honour we have, but Eddon explains that we rather use lines of succession and a system of nobility, where those who rule teach their children the task and set them to it in their stead upon their death. Thane Rolf would know if that means one cannot take rule by force and if perhaps one ruler would set men against another's in what the Thane seems to think, and I agree, a waste of life. Eddon iterates that this is not the custom, but that war, battle, is something which happens indeed, but that those who so claim power, are named usurper and so not always seen as just. Such is not our system of duels however, and Eddon details that nobles hold the right of trial by combat, whereby they may prove their right by arms as the gods shall see fit that the on in the right wouldst win such a contest. I mention that indeed our duels of honour and the Holmgang seem similar enough to me, and as Champion, representative in duels of honour for the Earl Westingford of Westmarch, it is my business to know such. The Thane warms greatly to Eddon, and tells the story of how he came by the name of Wyrmbreaker. A giant breed of wyrm, as snake and dragon crossed, lives in the oceans of Sarek. They are mayhaps of Vondal for they may breathe thunder and lightning. He details that they grow to be as long as sixty foot, but the one he fought and bested was fifteen. It sounds a great deed and "It would not crawl onto land here in Volkenheim to face my wrath now would it?" said Thane Rolf when I inquired if the fight was at sea. So we learn the serpent was fought not on land, but at sea, swimming, and the feat takes on heroic proportions.

Thane Rolf makes gift unto Eddon a pelt, one from the summer's Dire Bear hunt. A massive thing with bone plates protruding. I carry it for Eddon who gives thanks and return gift of a flask of oil, as he is not in store of gifts on his travels. The Thane shows some interest in the material used to make it and would offer us room and board for the night. I decline, saying that we left one of our number wandering the shore and that I would not leave him there alone by night. Neither will Eddon and though the Thane had hoped to spar with him, to which Sir Eddon modestly replies that he could not think himself of ability such as the Wyrmbreaker, and we make our leave, being given food for the journey. Ida rejoin us and we set forth. We take the shoreline as our guide and travel south and east. We meet Sheik and so continue along the shore for some time, picking seashells and talking. The bear pelt, being in excess of one hundred and fifty libra pondo is laden upon Barakus as we travel onwards. Sarek has not shown its face fore blizzard and claw have marked you, and the claw makes its attempt as we are set upon by Antseli. Feral and cunning as ever they come upon us from what must be caves or creases in the rocky shore and as a larger pool is inland, they manage a flanking attack. They go straight past me; targeting Ida with ferocious abandon, but she stands proud; calling on Vondal and maybe now also Hess as she turns them away with her divine powers. I bid her step behind me also, and so add the burning of fire to that of the divine light. With Eddon and Sheik stirring their mounts into the foray we defeat them with ease. So we strike an arc around the hills and head up to the platform; now ready to be home at last.

Thus ends my telling of events. Know that not all has been set forth herein as much was said and done which is of less import.

Notes: We found a dead stag somewhere on our journey; I do not recall when or where but I took its antlers.
Early on our journey we also saw more of the pit-traps, now obvious and open as the snow has gone.

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