The Wilds Await

OPERATION: HUMID STROLL

A report by Cpl. Kogan

This report is written by request of Deacon Andreth Norien who collected a group of new entrants to Lord Westingford's Company, including myself Corporal Kogan formerly of the 3rd Legion of Usan(my service record and medical discharge papers are properly lodged with the Sergeant-At-Arms). The other members of our party were; Ivan a skilled goliath fighter, Pin a gnomish scholar and arcanist, and Villo an elf of indeterminable sex. The purpose to which Deacon Norien gathered us was to escort him to one of the new realms beyond the Wall to reconnoiter the land there because he had not seen it before. I believe this to have been some sort of hazing ritual.

Upon arrival in the new realm we disembarked from the crystal skull in a large clearing strewn about with ruins. On some of the stonework a previous party had inscribed directions to a safe camp site some miles to the east. We headed straight north instead because there were rumors of a beach in that direction and this was good for the aging constitution of the Deacon.

The trees of this land are truly evil. Taller than the keeps of men, thicker than a castles round tower and covered with vegetation. I kept my eyes on them throughout our journey just incase they tried to pull any tricks. They're also full of snails around the size of house-cats, they have very brightly coloured shells which tends to indicate an animal is poisonous or otherwise dangerous.

On our first rest stop I overheard Ivar talk about his skill with beasts, I noticed this because it made a change from his endless enthusiasm for iron-infused gruel, so I challenged him to make friends with one of them. To my surprise he made the attempt and climbed a tree to entice one of them, it did not like him very much though and spat horrific darts at him.

During our second day we found the coast and enjoyed the sea breeze as we calmly followed the beach eastward. About half a day in that direction we found a natural harbour about a mile wide protected by coastal headlands. We stopped there to do some fishing briefly but the party decided to move on after determining that the fish were larger than war galleys. The party had a similar feeling the next day when we discovered footprints so large that Ivar could lay in them without touching the edges. After which we turned back and began heading south.

On our fifth 'day' of traveling uneventfully the party discovered a large artificial structure of worked stone and investigated. The architecture of this structure is immense and grand, a comfortable size for giants. After dispatching some wildlife from within it, two large lizard creatures the size of horses, I set about butchering the creatures for meat while Pin took to examining the carvings and symbols. The gnome determined that this was the temple to a local deity, a deity of blood sacrifice to judge by the carvings of creatures and humanoids being tossed into a flaming bowl.

Ivar then took up our kills and dragged them onto the altar, setting them on fire. I gave formal protest about consorting with strange blood drenched deities. Which you would think would be Andreth's job, what with being a cleric of Kastus and wielder of the fabled Sword of Truth but I think the humidity didn't agree with him. Elderly humans seem to prefer a more dry heat to function properly.

After receiving the sacrifice the being awoke and spoke with us, calling itself the Goatshame and ranting at length about it's love of blood sacrifice. Especially humanoid sacrifice, with the proviso that they be willing. Now back when I was in the legion I remember a young lieutenant getting a chewing out for fraternising with one of her privates, because the power imbalance muddied the waters of clear consent so I'm thinking a blimming God saying "Oh go on, burn yourself to death on my altar for me." is more than a bit creepy. However after extolling the virtues of sacrifice it started to go on at further length about the Masters and how it'd risen up against them centuries ago along with it's siblings and been soundly defeated. After learning that fire was the greatest discovery of the local population I am hardly surprised.

I did manage to ask it if there was any gold nearby, or other precious or strategic metals. Its understanding of gold was limited to sacrifice and so Ivar emptied his coin purse into the altar. Up until this point I had rather like Ivar given his dedication to proper diet and physical fitness. I was a bit annoyed about sacrificing our dinner but the gold! I could hardly believe it. Goatshame the blood god was pleased by this however and offered that there was a large amount of bronze cached far to the west. Bronze is a good metal, no steel of course but still very useful. Might be an idea to go and get it one day.

Following this announcement and after having Ivar swear fealty the god went back to it's slumber. After which Ivar thought of asking it where it's siblings dwelt and so the party decided to go on a hunt for more sacrifice so we could speak with it again. I enjoyed the idea of a good hunt at least so I set about tracking. I found the indications of a small group of the horse sized lizard creatures along with what seemed to be the tracks of a group of people. The party began following the Lizard tracks and I explained how one of the beasts, an adolescent by its size and injured by the lay of the tracks, would make good prey if we could seperate it from the rest. Ivar balked at this idea and called it dishonorable and refused to keep hunting. Madness. Honour is civilised behaviour between civilised people, not dirty stinky horrible evil dwarf-eating wildlife!

So we turned back and started following the human tracks. Not sure what we were hoping for, maybe that they'd gladly flambe themselves so that we could ask Goatshame for his Sisters' addresses or something. Pin kept piping up but after arguing about hunting the lizards we just wanted to get something done and ignored him. When we caught up to the people it turned out they weren't people but undead spirit zombie things and that's what he'd been trying to tell us the whole time. Villo threw a dart at them, the first time I'd seen her do anything besides sigh and to be fair it was a really good throw. After that we came home.

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Zilar

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