9th Day, 2nd Ride, 9th Month, 1374th Year – 10th Day, 3rd Ride, 9th Month, 1374th Year
I have been feeling very low as of late. After returning from the High Pass Keep with all of our treasures I found that Quentyn had gotten a letter from his family in Cormyr. I don’t know what the letter said, whether it brought good tidings or dark words, but I felt myself so envious that I feared I would not be able to hide it.
I locked myself away in the laboratory in order to use the bounty of precious materials we found at the keep to finish the arcane lockbox. Once finished, we stored the bloodstone in it and David used the power of Ilmater to shape the very bedrock upon which the mansion stood to bury the box beneath the laboratory. The stone could not be detected, the demon inside the stone was weakened, the box could not be opened without our blood, and the box was hidden safely inside the foundation of the mansion. It was all we could do to guard it at that time.
As much as Quentyn’s letter had drained me emotionally, completing the arcane lockbox had drained me physically. For days, all I could do was catch up on my studies. I transcribed the arcane scrolls that we retrieved from the High Pass Keep. I tried to start reading the Netherese scrolls of Sigmar the Deathless, after having used the box of mending to repair the salvageable scrolls, but it was too much for me to handle. I had to rest.
A quick summary of notable things that I should not forget:
- I received a so-called Apprentice Ring, which grants me many interesting benefits, the most important of which is a resistance to the magical effects of other wizards.
- I managed to identify the great club we took off the guardian, called Goran’s Great Club, as well as a Box of Mending, which, at the time of writing, still has sixteen charges left before it will have to be recharged.
- On our return to Glister, at the cairned camp, we were ambushed by gnolls and ogres. Of note was that one of the gnolls wore a magical set of leather armour, while the other was a servant of the Yeenogu, demon prince of gnolls.
- The leather armour was identified as having many different properties that benefits rangers.
- Upon arrival at the Newmark it appeared that different traders had reached Glister for their last voyage before winter.
- I managed to purchase two casks of wine from Fergal.
I managed to get past the deep depression which had afflicted me and prepare for Highharvestide, a very important Fulcestershire tradition. Fulcester might not keep my in their minds and hearts, but Fulcester was in mine. I’d be damned if on this holy day I would forego giving thanks to the Mother Creatrix.
I ventured into town by myself and headed towards Chauntea’s grove, a pleasantly wooded area in the south-western part of the Oldmark. A lot of Glisterians had gathered there, and it seemed that Gustav’s daughters were the designated matrons of the ceremony to decorate and paint a crude wooden statue. They are clearly not particularly devout, but they seem to be taking great pride and satisfaction from performing this duty.
The statue was carried to the standing stones in a festive procession. At the stones a cow was slaughtered in a ceremony lead by David. The actual slaughter was done by Quentyn, which he did with great showmanship.
A few Cormyrians from Oak Hill had come down to Glister to join in the celebrations. Some of them seemed a little uncomfortable in the pagan way the Glisterians were celebrating Highharvestide, and so I decided to invite them as well as Quentyn and anyone who was willing to join in to perform a more traditional prayer to Chauntea which I had learned at my time at the Temple of High Worship. I performed the prayer in high Cormyrian in the hopes that the people of Oak Hill would feel a little better at home.
Some of the Glisterians didn’t seem to accept the way I performed the ritual so readily, but I thought it was important that they understood that things would have to change a little bit to accommodate the newly arrived Cormyrians.
When the rituals were conducted, the procession continued on south towards the Shadowed Lake, along the Farmhand’s Dyke to the wall of the Thar, where in one of the many caves that dotted the wall the statue was placed and locked away behind a crude door, painted in bold colours.
I managed to chat to Ser Fosco about his religious affiliations. He talked about paying proper respect to the Triad: Tyr, Ilmater and Torm. He spoke about Chauntea and how Tempus had kept his group safe during their trek to Glister. He had some trouble accepting the latter’s influence on the people he lead to Glister. He accepted that the group had turned into a group of mercenaries, but was uncomfortable with that fact. He seemed to have lost some of his faith in the journey to Glister, and hoped that now that the group had settled, they could be steered back on a more wholesome path.
1st Day, 1st Ride, 10th Month, 1374th Year
Godric came to disturb me in the study of the mansion. He had been sent by David in order to be taught about one of the five chivalric virtues; faith. I thought it strange, since faith isn’t one of the five chivalric virtues. The closest one was probably wisdom, so I gathered a selection of books on the subject of faith, gods, portfolio’s and pantheons and made sure that they were slightly more philosophical in nature.
Later that day I spoke to the others about what to do next to secure a prosperous future for Glister. We quickly agreed that it would benefit Glister if we would take care of the surging troglodyte threat coming from the south-east. A large group of them had gathered at the Lizard’s Tower and was threatening safe passage to Hulburg.
It was interesting to note that while we had gone to liberate High Pass Keep, vanquishing a dangerous threat there and opening up better routes to Vaasa, we had let the threat along the Hulburg route grown and fester. I wondered whether my lord-father was ever forced to make such a hard choice. It felt as if we were on a boat which had sprung many leaks, and we’d have to triage which leak to plug and which leaks to let worsen.
The choice was clear; we would have to deal with the threat at the Lizard’s Tower before it grew beyond our capability to handle. It would make the area safer, drive back the surging threat of the troglodytes and open up a faster route to Hulburg for traders.
2nd Day, 1st Ride, 10th Month, 1374th Year
I did research on the lizards in order to verify their exact nature; troglodytes. Smaller, standing about 5 feet tall instead of the usual 6 or 7 feet of lizardmen. They are far less sophisticated than their larger cousins, but have a nasty ability to secrete a powerful discharge from glands in their neck that causes violent nausea.
I found a recipe to help defend us a little better against that awful stench, which required some common and less common ingredients which could reliably be found in the wilderness around Glister. I shared the formula with David when he came to the laboratory to pick up Goran’s Greatclub. He agreed to talk to Jago and find the ingredients. I was secretly very happy. I had not yet recovered from my malaise and wanted to stay indoors as much as possible before going on our expedition to the Lizard’s Tower.
Jago came to the laboratory with all the ingredients and we made ointments together while we spoke about his connection to the mysterious animal that was stalking Glister’s territory. We ended up making 49 measures of the protective ointment, which could be rubbed on the face, especially underneath the nose, to protect against the burning sensation in the eyes and the nausea that the troglodyte discharge caused.
I told Jago that I could help him make a more concerted effort to contact the animal through a series of guided meditation before sleep each night. The animal comes to him in his sleep, which makes me think that it could be nocturnal, perhaps mountain lion of some sort. Before sleep is when the animal is awake and when he is tired and hopefully well-fed and ready for sleep. It will likely be the best time to help him reach out to the animal.
I found out something interesting; the troglodytes worship Loagzed, the eater of souls, the devourer. It’s a toad-like demon from the Abyss.
In the evening the question came up of where to go, how many people to take, and what we were capable of achieving with the force we could muster. Were we going to be a smaller and more nimble scouting party? Or were we going to be a larger, better equipped fighting force?
I asked Blackwing if she could go and scout around the Lizard’s Tower for us, so we could see the lay of the land and see how many troglodytes were out there.
From Oak Hill:
- Ser Fosco
I did my first session of guided meditation with Jago, which seems to already have a large measure of success. I think his connection to the animal is much stronger than I had initially understood. I doubt it will take long before the two of them will meet.
3rd Day, 1st Ride, 10th Month, 1374th Year
The Blackwing returned in the morning with news from the Lizard’s Tower. She found another camp on a hill north-east to the tower. The tower had several dozen troglodytes, while the other camp was slightly smaller.
We decided to make our way along the Thar so we could more easily surprise the troglodytes. Most of the rest of the morning was spent in preparation of our departure.
At night we made our camp upon the Thar, probably several hundred yards away from the edge to prevent from being seen, in a small hollow. We decided against a fire so that the light wouldn’t carry across the edge of the Thar, nor attract some of the trolls that we know to live on the heath of the Thar.
After Jago built another cairn and carved the image of Gwaeron Windstrom into it, and afterwards we did another session of guided meditation, which seems to have met with great success, yet again. Satisfied, I fell asleep, only to be awoken by a loud thunderclap as we were beset upon by half a dozen troglodytes!
4th Day, 1st Ride, 10th Month, 1374th Year
The fight was short and we managed to fight off the attackers, but unfortunately some of them managed to get away, scurrying over the edge of the Thar to the waters below. So much for our stealthy approach. As they climbed down the wall of the Thar, I saw, through the eyes of Blackwing, that one of them used a leaf of a Tharthistle to whistle something, probably in warning to other raiding parties scouting upon the Thar.
One thing that I noticed was that there was a higher variety of different troglodytes in this party than we’ve seen before. There were smaller, more roguish troglodytes who fought with blowpipes and darts from a distance, stalking around the edge of the battle scene. And then there were larger, more brutish ones that seemed bred for war.
A good thing I discovered during the fight is that they indeed seem to understand draconic. I speak high draconic, and they probably have a lower form that they speak, but I could hurl insults and threats at them, that Lord Quentyn was “Laogzed’s herald” who would “devour their young” and “poison their waters,” etc. I must say that it worked rather well.