Tag: Leman

The Future

5th day, 2nd ride, April, 1372 DR

After our crazy fight with the werewolves in the Border Forest, we finally made it back to Dagger Falls in the late afternoon. Abel decided to swing by the garrison immediately to report while I first made a stop at Dulwar’s to drop of the half plate we lifted off the Zhent a few days prior. He said he’d fit it for me for fifteen gold pieces and would require two days — his work was backing up so he didn’t have as much time. That’s also probably the reason why his prices are so damned high! That cut-throat!

To be fair to Dulwar, he’s a smith and a leatherworker, produces some fine quality and in this strange town filled with strange people, he’s quickly becoming a welcome face in my day. Abel is a good fellow, I appreciate his intellect and wit, and he makes for a remarkable conversational partner, but other than him, I don’t know if I’d choose to spend any time with any of the others. So far Dulwar and Abel are the only ones I truly appreciate, though Roland is rubbing off on me a little bit I admit.

After joining Abel at the garrison we had a short conversation with Sir Ariton Delmis, trying to decide our next move. I’ve been feeling particularly restless of late. Staying in Dagger Falls was never a long term endeavour and I have written before how Heron still occupies my ambitions. I decided I’d stay if it made sense — financial or otherwise — and Sir Delmis wasn’t really helping me make my decisions. The jobs he came up with were stale (more patrols) or laughable (finding a missing tax collector, which I refuse to do.) I asked him about the tower that stands in Dagger Falls and why it isn’t occupied, hoping to find a job there. Unfortunately, much to my surprise, Sir Delmis told us that the tower was cursed and that there was little to be done there. We decided to sleep on it.

In the mean time, Roland had taken care of our lodgings at the Teshford Arms and even managed to get us a sizable discount from Olavia in return for a performance of his. I have to admit that I slept through most of it, not because it wasn’t good, mind you, but because the hearth was warm, my stomach was full, and I hadn’t enjoyed the comfort of a cozy inn for almost a ride. During the evening a girl woke me and asked me if I wanted some company. I’m not in the habit of attracting girls with my roguish good looks so I was suspicious of her sincerity. I tried to make light of it by telling her that she wouldn’t be able to handle Abaddon’s fury and she left me to my nap. Hours later I woke up in an empty inn, cold and dark, and I went upstairs to find my room. Much to my surprise Abel was still awake, studying the potions and scrolls we had lifted from the Zhents. He showed me some of the new things he discovered and while I disapproved of his frivolous use of such powerful magicks, I was too hungry for my bed to object.

Thank You, My Lord

10th day, 1st ride, April, 1372 DR

Having been sent out on patrol in the Border Forest again looking for Zhentarim, it strikes me that either we have heavily underestimated the amount of Zhents lurking in those woods, or Beshaba, Lady of Misfortune has simply dealt us a really bad hand. This is has been the third or fourth camp of Zhents we’ve encoutered in these woods. The camp counted maybe eight Zhentarim thugs and a mage supervising them. They were halfway through completing another landing platform in the branches of a tall tree, probably allowing Zandos to land his mount there so he can resupply the various groups in the forest.

After much bickering back and forth over the plan we settled on the simplest one; we’d concentrate our ranged attack on the mage in order to drop him as quickly as possible, while Thorim and I would keep the thugs from attacking the rest of the group, giving them enough time to take out the mage. Unfortunately, when the battle finally commenced, we didn’t get the mage down quick enough and he managed to unleash his unchecked arcana in the form of a large, fiery explosion. Many of us managed to jump out of harms way, but my bum leg didn’t allow for such nimbleness. For an instant, my world exploded with the fury of a thousand suns and my exposed skin blistered and cracked. The fire ignited all the air around me and sucked it out of my lungs and only through the grace of Abaddon did I manage to remain standing long enough for the fire to die down and the cool, forest air to tickle my tender skin once again. This Zhent mage had laid waste to half his own troops as well as myself, but I was still standing but he went down soon after.

Rounding up the rest of his crew was a piece of piss after that.

For the longest time after the fight, while I was nursing my wounds a discussion was raging about what to do next. Roland was strongly in favour of setting an ambush for Zandos by trapping the landing platform and engaging the mage when he’d arrive. While I saw the reasoning behind the plan, I had a hard time justifying it in the face of the bad odds we were facing. Abel didn’t want to and I felt hesitation coming from Thorim as well as Ebon. We thought we needed more information and there was some accusations about why we didn’t leave some of the Zhents alive for interrogation. I entertained the option of asking Abaddon to allow me the possibility to commune with the dead, to get answers to the many questions we had but the mere thought of dealing with the non-living made me deeply uneasy.

Bodies were looted and I managed to obtain a fairly well fitting half plate armour set. Some documents were obtained from the corpse of the mage, but unfortunately they only held arcane formulae and no trace of any Zhent troop movements, tactics or strategies. Some other items and baubels were pilfered but it all went too fast for me to notice what it was.

The platform was sabotaged and we left the rest. We’re planning to travel further north before heading west towards the Desertmouth Mountains.


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.

Dialan’s Final Resting Place

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

Opening the door to the tomb turned out not to be so difficult. We found a spacious room beyond filled with bookcases that were so old they were barely standing. Some had collapsed underneath the weight of the decaying books. The books were brittle and decomposing, much like the journal we had found previously. All were written in the same, incomprehensible language that Abaddon allowed me to comprehend for a few short hours the previous evening.

A stone slab held a huge, stunningly beautiful map of the great desert to the west. Markings along the mountainous western edge of the desert, roughly where we were located, were scribbled in the same language and were probably locations where Dialan had been searching for the Nether Scrolls. Roland decided to make a replica of the map, scaled down in size.

I was transfixed by the map. I have always liked maps for reasons I can’t quite comprehend. From simple travel maps to intricate, tactical maps used by generals to direct armies and supply lines. I asked Roland that if he were to ever want to get rid of the replica that he’d consider me as a first buyer. He agreed.

As beautiful as the map was, it didn’t allow us any further insight into the life of Dialan and neither did any of the books. There were two more doors leading to other parts of the tomb, which were both trapped in a way we could easily avoid. One lead to a treasure chamber holding three chests. I opened one of them and got hit by a wave of ice cold air that knocked me off my feet and gave me cramps down my spine so badly I thought I was going to break my own back. I was chilled so badly that I decided to exit the cold tomb and move back into the sun to warm up, but not before seeing that the chest held three golden bars, undoubtedly worth a lot of money.

In my absence, the two other chests, also trapped, were opened and they revealed some finely crafted daggers and a strange orb-like magical device. While the last two caught the interest of my companions, most notably Ebon and Abel, I was thinking about those golden bars. I could support myself well with those and I could focus myself fully on my quest to find Heron.

The other door in the tomb was opened as well and lead to the sarcophagus of Dialan. Ebon looted the body of the old alchemist and paid for it in a most peculiar way. When he emerged from the tomb his hair was thinner, his eyes more weary and he had lost the spring in his step. It was obvious that whatever had hit him was meant as punishment for disturbing the dead.

We decided that with Ebon’s foolish mistake, it was time to leave that place. It wouldn’t be long before the Zhents would show up there and take command and control of the excavation once again. We decided to head straight for Dagger Falls. We had prevented a magical device of unknown origins to fall into the hands of the Zhentarim. That orbs were probably the sole purpose for their excavation, unless they were looking for more information on the failed research Dialan had conducted into the Nether Scrolls. We thought it would be prudent to report this to the militia. It would then probably also be a good time to leave.

We headed back into the forest once again.

Fucking Fairies

4th day, 2nd ride, April, 1372 DR

Rain had come and I was feeling much better, even though my body was aching and painful all over from the fight with the Zhentarim a few days back and that icy blast coming from that strange, infernal chest in Dialan’s tomb.

We had made camp in an old, overgrown hunter’s lodge. A young, sapling tree had been growing out from the lodge’s ground and had pushed its way through the roof, allowing rain to pour in but allowing us enough space to stay dry and start a comfortable fire.

Taking Abel’s advice, Ebon came to talk to me about possibly doing something to cure the ailment that had been inflicted upon him during his bout of greedy desecration. I told him that I didn’t know whether Abaddon would grant me the power to undo what that curse had done to him. That it wasn’t up to me to decide and that I couldn’t possibly predict the outcome of such an exercise. I told him that I would have to take some time to study the weather, to look for signs of Abaddon’s intention with Ebon. I also told him that it would mean he would be indebted to Abaddon for the rest of his life, and that if it pleased Abaddon, what he would bestowed upon Ebon could also be taken away from him.

Abaddon certainly doesn’t judge the actions of men, but he also doesn’t undo the negative consequences of their actions nor fix their mistakes.

Halfway through the night I was awoken by Abel indicating sounds in the distance. I couldn’t hear anything, but he and Ebon assured me that there were sounds of battle and that it was coming closer. We woke everyone up and I quickly donned my armour and moved outside to get a closer listen. We hear wolves howling and… other sounds that we couldn’t readily identify. I was waiting to get a bead on the direction the battle was taking, trying to determine whether it was coming closer or moving past us, hoping to intercept and take a look. Right when I decided to start moving, a woman appeared out of thin air. She was long and lithe and radiant and beautiful. She was unclothed and her hair was auburn and tangled, but still she was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. More beautiful even than Kessla. She beseeched me to help her and her companions against their attackers. She couldn’t tell us who the attackers were, but told us they were wolves but not quite. Thorim then emerged from the lodge, just as the woman sank back into the woods and out of sight.

I made a mistake and told him that a lady of the forest was under attack by werewolves. He charged into the woods towards the battle. I realised at that point that the attack on the dwarves at Eagle’s Eerie some time back could have been purpotrated by werewolves instead of wolves. His cousin was killed in that attack, so his rage had been understood. We quickly followed him and found the battle fairly soon.

Before engaging I asked Abaddon to heal the wounds of his injured son and was suprised at the response I got. I felt rejuvenated and ten times better from one moment to the next. I felt his favour coursing through my and I banged my hammer to my shield, igniting it in Abaddon’s light and allowing the sparks that rang off it to protect and shield my body. I engaged the first wolfman I saw, a gnoll I thought at first. Ebon and Thorim killed one. Abel, Roland and Wren incapacitated another and I fought a third. They were attacking a whole host of different creatures. Small women no bigger than my forearms with the wings of butterflies, led by the lady of the forest.

The fight was short and brutal and afterwards the lady of the forest thanked us, but couldn’t tell us more about herself except that she just wanted to keep the forest safe from the invading werewolves. There were more and they had been getting bolder and more numerous, attacking anything in their path. Before she disappeared back into the forest together with those fairies, she gave Abel a token of her esteem. A strange, feathered talisman that could “call forth the power of the oaks,” whatever that meant.

We returned to the lodge and continued our rest.