Category: Leman

A Change of Routine

6th day, 3rd ride, March, 1372 DR

The night was uneventful with the exception of four horsemen coming from the Flaming Tower. Roland was on the verge of collapse so we let him sleep some before the horsemen arrived. We decided to change our routine and sleep during the day and walk during the night. It was getting to be quite cold, so walking during the cold and resting during the warmth seemed logical, also, this way we hoped we’d go largely undetected. We didn’t want to make Zandos’ task too easy for him. When we left camp and continued on our trail we encountered the horsemen again, this time heading back towards the tower. A little further up ahead we found their abadonned camp.

Late at night we spotted an Orc camp along the river. Roughly six Orcs by Roland’s guess, too many for us to handle, so we moved into the woods and passed the camp carefully.

Seeing the horsemen got me thinking; I love horses. I have always dreamt of owning a horse…riding a horse…grooming a horse. Before the war Damarans were well known for their horse-riding. Perhaps not quite as formidable as the Riders of Narfell, but Damarans have always had a close bond with horses…it’s been in our blood for countless generations, and though I’ve never owned or ridden a horse, I feel a nostalgic longing, perhaps a sense of national pride, and I would like to purchase a horse, soon. I want to learn how to ride.

During the war all healthy horses were used for war, and all the old ones were used to flee, and later for food. In the beginning of the war you’d see officers riding horses across the battle-field, and even whole charging units of riders. Near the end of the war, and for years afterwards, horses were scarce, and only the richest or most formidable warriors were able to afford them.

I promise this to myself and to Abaddon, that the next time I see Damara and my beloved Steppenhal, I will be on horseback.

The Flaming Tower

5th day, 3rd ride, March, 1372 DR

We knew that our approach to the Flaming Tower was imminent, so I recalled some of the mercenary bands and their history for us to adopt as our own. We decided on a band called Leon’s Pride, out of Yulash. Leon, the commander of the group (or Pride, as he likes to call it), was a high ranking officer of the Yulashi troops before they were overrun by the Zhents. Coordinating an effort to reclaim Yulash from the Zhents together with troops from Hillsfar he got increasingly jaded when not only the effort to expell the invaders failed, but also when he saw the troops from Hillsfar had no intention of ever leaving Yulash once recaptured. He and his men joined the underground Yulash freedom fighters, but quickly fell out with the leadership and claimed they had a lack of vision, tactics and were too trusting towards what he by then came to call the “invaders from Hillsfar.” By the time he left, many of the men had become loyal to him instead of Yulash, and they left with him. Since then he’s been roaming the Dalelands and around the Moonsea, hiring the Pride out to whoever could afford it.

We were three of the Pride, who broke away in order to escort a merchant from Yulash to Teshwave. Our orders were to come to the Flaming Tower after our job was done, to hook up with the Pride. Leon claimed the Zhents were hiring and he was looking for a piece of the action. The last thing I heard the Pride was still locked up in Melvaunt, so the chances of running into any of them was slim.

The others took false names, Owen Drake (how pretentious) and “Rod.” I decided that the chances, though slim, were still shockingly big that I’d walk into someone whom I knew, or had worked with. Taking on a false name wasn’t such a good idea. So I was just Leman.

The Flaming Tower looks more like a large fortress. It’s probably twenty-five feet high, fifty feet broad and fifty feet deep. Abel quickly calculated how many people that could house, after a few seconds I had completely lost what he was talking about. I managed to figure out that the bottom line was; lots. At the top of the tower there was a large flame, shooting high into the sky. It’s odd to think that this used to be maintained by Fire Giants, with a large floating fortress chained to the tower. Apparently a group calling themselves the Knights of Myth Drannor put an end to the Giants’ rule, unchained the Flying Fortress and left the keep abadonned.

I unchained and undid many of the lighter pieces of armour that ocvered the scars, tattoos and marks showing the history of my mercenary affiliations. Abel, under the assumed name of Owen Drake, told the guards at the entrance of our trip from Yulash to Teshwave and our rendez-vous with Leon, bluffing our way to some food.

We were told to go to the mess-hall where a lot of soldiers and officers were eating, playing cards and waiting. Waiting. I have waited quite a bit in my life. I know how annoying it can be. You need something to distract you with, whether it gambling or talking, or taking up a faith, if you don’t, you’ll go stark, raving mad in no time. All that damned waiting.

While “Owen” was rubbing shoulders with the officers, I got him some food from the chef, making it seem like he was in command of our merry threesome. “Rod” quickly fell in line as the rookie, which he did very well by vomitting up all the booze we were offered by some of the grunts I got to talking to. I’m not sure he meant to, but it couldn’t have been better timing. While the grunts were laughing at him, I got a little heavy-handed with him, telling him to go clean up his mess. That broke the ice, and I found out a fair bit of information from the grunts.

Within the next two or three weeks, so one of them said, they’ll move up into the forest, closing in on Daggerfalls. They make between eight silver and two gold a day. There were about three hundred soldiers here, almost all of them veterans of at least one campaign. Having them sit on their arses was going to be costly, so it could never be long before the Zhents would move out.

“Owen” found out that there was a high priest of Bane in the fortress, named Manx, as well as a mage named Zandos, the one that flies around on a griffon the whole time. This seems to be a very well-oiled, well-funded campaign. Gunmar, the commander of the tower, has orders to rebuild the tower and get it into prime working operation.

We declined the “offer” of us staying the night at the Flaming Tower (for ten damned pieces of gold!) and found some lodging against one-fourth the price at the Zhentilar “woodcutter’s” camp. (Read: slave-camp.) I happened to offend Roland (again) and when I found him to apologise, he was carving a symbol of Hoar into the blade of his sword. The God of Retribution seems to be an odd patron for such a meek man.

According to one of the loggers, a woman arrived at the tower and was immediately permitted entrance. She sat down with all key people in the tower. Gary, the logger, decided to find out more about the woman and find us some provisions, at a price of course.

These travels, these hardships, these new experiences have lead me to a deeper, more profound part of my faith. I am a better, more loyal follower of Abaddon, trusting further in his patronage, trusting mor ein Him to guide me. Coupled with my renewed, mor profound faith comes with what I can only percieve to be my reward – not that I expected any, of course; I feel his presence inside of me. His energy rumbles through me in unimaginable ways. I feel so strong…so potent. Abadonned be praised!

The raven-haired woman, Gary talked about, came from Teshwave, though isn’t from there. She visited the tower once before, preceeding Gary’s arrival at the tower, and her name is Gwynneth.

After leaving the camp in the middle of the night we made our way to the edge of the woods and there “Rod” reminded all of us of the items and map we burried along the game trail we followed towards the Tower. (We thought it wouldn’t be wise to carry incriminating information with us into the Tower.) We spent little less than an hour trying to find the trail but gave up, decided to trust in Thorim’s ability to have reached Daggerfalls with the original map.

Dead Demons and Faeries

4th day, 3rd ride, March, 1372 DR

Took a cold bath in the stream nearby our camp before moving out. On the road we found tracks of a few riders, coming from the east, presumably the Flaming Tower. On that trail, which even I could follow, we found a dead satyr, or so Roland calls it, but I wouldn’t put it past him to make that stuff up. It looked to me like a small hairy demon, with cloven hooves and horns. Later we found two dead pixies, again named by Roland. I have no idea how to describe them. They were like Gnomes, only smaller, more frail, like butterflies.

At a certain point a large bird, as large as a horse, flew over head, most likely the mounts of the flying wizards of the Flaming Tower that we heard mention of. I’m beginning to think that the attack on Eagle’s Eerie was simply one of these wizards, who summoned the animals of the woods to his call with his nefarious magical powers.

Another hour later we stumbled upon an abandonned, yet semi-permanent campsite.

A few hours after that we moved about a hundred yards from the trail to make camp. No fire after dark. Two-man guard shifts. During the first shift, while Abel slept, we could see a soft yellow glow shine upon the clouds from a few kilometers to the east.

The Ogre and the Bracelet

3rd day, 3rd ride, March, 1372 DR

I woke up to the smell of left-over rabbit stew. Nice. After cleaning up camp we headed east again. Around noon we found the rest of a small camp, having housed more than five men. Judging by the way the camp had been cleaned afterwards, these were probably some Orcs under Human leadership.

More cautiously than before we continued on, but didn’t find anything special or remarkable until, after two hours, we found a dead Ogre body, dressed in simple garbs, stabbed to death. From his simple, rope belt hung a dented helmet, the object whose glint initially caught my eye. Roland claims the helmet to be Elven made. Inside the helmet Roland found an intricate, gold bracelet, seeming to me to be quite expensive. The design was that of two entwined snakes.

Abel suggested we make an early fire, during the late sunlight hours, make food, then sleep without a firelight tonight, since we were getting very closeto the Flaming Tower.

I had third watch and the night went by without incident.

Roland’s Progress

2nd day, 3rd ride, March, 1372 DR

Beautiful weather; overcast, rainy, with a low rumble in the distance. We headed east after having travled mostly north since we left Daggerfalls. I was so curiously content while hiking that I failed to notice the worstening moods of my companions.

After having a thirty minute break to eat something and allow their weary bodies some respite, we continued on along the treacherously slick patch. Mud-covered rocks and moss-covered branches proved to be most upsetting. Roland seemed to take an active interest in the woodlands, mostly having to do with finding and collecting edible plants and herbs.

After about two hours we found a small cave set in the side of a small hill. Upon carefully inspecting the entrance to the cave I was completely surprised to see Roland sneak up, grab a pebbel, cast an enchantment of illumination on it before hurling the pebble inside with the greatest nonchalance!

The now illuminated cave showed a large sleeping bear. We decided to leave the cave and let sleeping bears lie. Later that afternoon we found a large, fallen tree, which proved to be sufficient shelter.

We started a fire and Abel provided Roland with enough rabbits to keep us fed until it was time for us to leave the next morning. The both of them are quickly adapting to outdoor life, which is a relief. They keep their clothes dry and their bellies full, which are steps one and two in the wilderness survival tradition.

Roland took first watch and when he takes first watch, or any watch for that matter, I normally get a little nervous, but since his performance has been alright lately, I have him the benefit of the doubt. Roughly half a day until dawn and he was supposed to take no more than three hours on his watch. After five hours, I woke up as he approached to wake Abel. I told him not to bother because Abel had been having a hard time, so I decided to take second watch, giving him some continuous sleep. I woke him about two hours before dawn.