2nd day, 2nd ride, April, 1372 DR
After heading west towards the Desertmouth Mountains, the landscape changed rapidly. Less wooded and more hills. All those hours of walking in silence allowed me to think about what I wanted to do with my time in Abaddon’s grace. I can’t help but feel that I’m wasting my time here, patrolling these forests, helping an underequipped militia find out when their inevitable doom would come marching up to their gate in the form of a Zhentarim invasion. What am I doing here? I was never meant to stay long, never meant to get involved in the politics here, only meant to make some coin and move on in search of Heron.
Heron. It seems like another life since I saw him last, traveling east chasing the storm.
I know he must have come through these lands. It’s unlikely that he traveled further east, past The Ride and into the desert beyond the mountains. No, he must have come south and into the Dalelands. It’s likely he came to Daggerfalls, but having talked to various people who might have encountered them and getting no positive response, I doubt he stayed long. Voonlar, Shadowdale or Tilverton should be my next stop. As soon as I’ve made some coin, enough for me to support myself for a while. Another few weeks, tops, then I’m back on the road.
We’ve had a pretty good routine set up while traveling. Roland took care of setting up the campfire and cooking. Oddly enough, Abel decided to take up hunting, mostly small game, to supplement our food supply. Roland would dry and collect firewood for the coming day so that we could keep our fires to a smokeless minimum. Unfortunately, with some people not carrying their weight, like the young, brash Ebon, Roland decided to leave the camp when Ebon wouldn’t follow orders. I guess Roland tried to do to Ebon what we did to Roland, only it backfired. Now we’re down one hell of a cook. Oh, and Hazel left us after the fight at the Zhent camp as well, leaving her blanket behind, which I’ve kept with me and put it to good use.
At night, we heard rumbling coming in from the west. I thought my prayers answered, until we saw the source of the thunder and lightning; a magical storm laying waste to a small settlement to the west. When we got closer to investigate after the storm has dissipated as quickly as it had arrived, we found the smouldering ruins of the settlement, complete with charred bodies and crumbled palisade. Whatever did this, it was powerful. When we investigated the camp, we found dead Zhentarim and a small excavation site leading to an underground tomb. This was probably the purpose of the settlement, to safely excavate the ruins underneath.
Roland showed up again, got shot by Ebon (great!) as he refused to identify himself, and then promptly ensorcelled Ebon into running off like a lunatic.
We discovered a book in the ante chamber of the tomb, covered in strange writing. There was also a door leading further into the tomb, but Abel, Roland and Ebon (who seemed to be friends again when the thought of riches presented itself) found that the door was heavily trapped by magical warding. We decided to take the book and make camp a little ways away. With the help of Abaddon’s guiding insight I managed to read the strange markings and divine their meaning. It was a research journal of a man called “Dialan,” an alchemist of the days of old, searching for something called the “Nether Scrolls.” He was wealthy and influential and had devoted his life to finding these artefacts but had never achieved his goal. He was buried in the tomb. We decided to try and open the tomb door at first light.