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A Coward’s Journal: Part One

Having been travelling for two days we have arrived at an abandoned Aldonar Waystation in the Summer Meadows, battered and bruised. For the previous days we have been chased by mists and green-skinned horde. We have already used two of our Elixirs of Life. Several times we have been forced to abandon our camps in the cold wet meadows for fear we be overtaken and consumed by the mists that creep all the time close to us; threatening to engulf us.

Driven in fear as we were the Waystation presented a welcome refuge. However the Waystation has been inhabited by Towerless – who bear the mark of the organised group led by the vagabond chief known as Monk. These we killed to gain access to the relative safety and warmth.

We have just discovered a rather addled man with an interesting hat in an upstairs chamber. He says his name is Reginald and that he is from a Valley group that journeyed to the Summer Meadows not long after All-Hallows. He claims that he has been imprisoned there by a Towerless man named ‘Trapper-Jack’. Shaun Gillins is currently trying to circumvent the many traps and wires that hold Reginald there.

I have just been threatened at knifepoint by some Shadowsfall! I don’t know when I have been more afraid for my life. I was questioned of my knowledge of the Dym-Wan in the area, one of our warriors was taken away, questioned forcefully then Slept. Why would the Shadowsfall be after the Dym-Wan in the Summer Meadows?

Shaun Gillins has recovered a couple of Magical and Power items from the room upstairs; Mage Viosh was able to dispel the ward holding Reginald. He is telling us how his group were waylaid by towerless with an ‘M’ tattoo. Elba a veteran Crusader was slain by magic as was Snotrag, Half-Orc warrior. Their Hospitaller, Sandy gave Reginald their remaining Elixirs and charged into battle – and was cut down. Reginald lost consciousness at that point, apparently and woke up in the ward. This ‘Trapper Jack’ comes back almost every day to improve the wire traps and bring gruel and water for Reginald, so he must live locally.

We have just been assaulted by hordelings casting fire magics.

Undead towed by a Dym-Wan Necromancer have just tried to gain entry. Our front line scattered before the abominations and one broke my arm. I recall nothing more of the fight, save the pain in my arm and tell of Cupris detonating the sneaky ghoul-creature. Our Aspirant-Hospitaller had wisely transferred power from the warriors before joining battle.

Kalid Steelwind have turned up, led by Hatamoto Toranaga-Sama. We have offered him refreshment and he has warned us that to turn our back to him will be considered insult; stare openly at him will be a challenge to combat, and to touch him will be considered an attack on his person. Seems a little touchy – he has white face adorned with colourful tattoos. He tells us that we have travelled too close to the mists – that we have been touched by them. By the Ways – does this mean we will turn into Hordelings?

He is saying that he no longer holds the position of Legion Commander, whatever that means; that he has travelled the mists. He says this has changed his perception of Orin Rakatha, though retaining loyalty to the Steelwind. He is concerned that there is an item which should protect this Waystation – it’s probably the one that thief Gillins found upstairs. Toranaga-Sama says it should be placed up against the door of the Waystation and the door bolted – he also says the power of the Talisman is waning, but should provide a few days protection yet. He has just said that those more bestial in nature are more susceptible to the mists with a madness on setting. We have noticed violent tendencies in our Half-Orcs – more so than usual: it seems we truly are doomed.

It will take potions of highly specific knowledge to cure – as a Mistwalker Toranaga-Sama has this knowledge. We have asked for his assistance and he has brought up the question of politics between our peoples; is he taunting us? Phew – he sees it as dishonourable to let a warrior die from an unpreventable disease – maybe he will help us. I don’t want to die. Orlando has used diplomacy and careful words to encourage Hatamoto Toranaga-Sama.

He is telling us of a rift, ministries of left and right- suspects leaders of MoL are not working to the “Greater Good”. MoL are the Spiritual+Might+Mind of S/Wind. As it’s not honourable to seek out without proof – evidence of wrongdoing. MoL members – the Harrow are present in SummerMeadows – he would be interested in what their un-sanctioned presence might be. He would have us discover what they are doing in return for the potion ingredients/recipe. Sun Tzu is speaking as an intermediary and is performing admirably – he had met this Toranaga-Sama before.

Representatives to meet with us in the morning.

We have been attacked very late into the night by Monk’s towerless. Unfortunately this was shortly after an honour duel between Orlando and the Oni that accompanied Hatamoto Toranaga-Sama and also Sun Tzu and HT-S. Therefore two of us were not as hale as possible and two more were asleep.

This morning a goblinoid named Milip has arrived and bade us follow herto the nearby marshes in the Summer Meadows (?) – where we might also find ingredients for the potion of salvation.

More of Monk’s men have attacked us this morning – they wanted to know what had happened to their companions who were staying here.

I stupidly let slip about my reasons for being sent from the Tower – they have been doggedly trying to find out my crime. Scis-ssor claimed I have killed my brother, then ate his liver and strangled myself with my own innards. Scar believed him and now is making my life truly horrible. It’s a good job they didn’t find my manacles.

We have journeyed South West a short distance to where the road becomes more swampy – as promised. Here we would find the ingredients; from out of the tree line emerged Hordelings. Scattered our group fought not as the cohesive warrior battalions of legends, but as a series of small groups with no obvious affiliation. In my limited experience – even the ground we chose was poor – allowing the Horde to surround and taunt us.

I feel we triumphed trough sheer bloody-mindedness; that and they were Hordelings.

Closing on a likely location and advised by Milip – we had to engage lizard-like creatures that drew on Brown Magic. Again these things were allowed free reign to cavort through our lines, fortunately Viosh was on hand to cast a number of Magical Skins and Blades. We recovered three oversize orange-spoor-berries from the swamp itself.

Next we pushed up to where Dym-Wan were holding a ridge-line: ‘doing things’. After a false start against a zombie that was immune to our damage – and led by Arithis – we pushed and pushed – eradicating the undead – admittedly the Dym-Wan had sauntered off by then, but this in no way lessons the victory. Gawetic was able to dismiss the Rank Three zombie, our scout Shaun Gillins took care of the ghoul with a little help from the Neutral Way.

Our acolytes have retired to meditate, although why here next to a swamp escapes me.

Milip surprised us by being able to mend Orlando’s broken shield.

After their meditations we discovered that there were more undead- possibly the necromancer had been busy. Another of the difficult zombies plus some skeletal things. Having defeated her – her minions fell. She had been communing with a strange altar so our scouts tell us. Unfortunately one of our scouts – Sun Tzu, was brought down by a towerless who slit his throat. These towerless seem to be working with the Dym-Wan.

Requiring blood of an entire person as part of the ingredients as we did; we sought to chase down some towerless. Unfortunately our warriors stupidly lost sight of the fact that we needed a whole person and slew all and sundry – ignoring Arithis’ bellowed orders.

One of our Half-Orcs – Scar, had met some hordelings and because he is more bestial in nature – or because he is rather more stupid than most, became convinced he was a hordeling. The hordelings had some herbs that we needed – so they died in their little holes in the ground. Scar thinks it is a castle; I think he is mentally deficient.

A Dai-fah-Dyne is here named Fasel-Ibn-something-Ibn-Abraham. He is after some ingredients from a lake nearby, if we assist him he will trade us some ingredients he has that we require. These ingredients are guarded by more of those magical lizards we found earlier. The ingredients were some tadpoles from the lake – possible the young of these lizard-creatures.

With darkness closing in we had but a short time to get to the altar. He we had to pledge a person’s blood – and I was top of the list. Both Scis-ssor and Scar who have been tormenting me without relent wanted me to be sacrificed. Orlando decided to give his Spirit Strength for the group- rather than force anybody to be taken. As he pledged and touched the altar – there was a dark flash and Orlando’s body had been sucked dry, only a husk remained – the body beyond an Elixir’s capability to restore. Atop the altar were three bottle of blood – still faintly warm. As I write the body is propped in the corner sitting as we are, back in the Waystation.

Shadowsfall are here, they are asking what we have been doing and why – they also ask why did not slay Monk’s men who were here when we returned. Arithis has told everything – including that we are sorely weakened by our day’s mission.

Scar, Scis-ssor and Cupris think I am Derlin in disguise – I cannot tell if they are joking or if they truly think this. They think I am criminally insane.

Milip has returned with a large Goblin-like creature with a huge nose. Somebody said it’s name was Custardbelly, she is here to make the potion to save our existence. Arithis looks less than pleased about this Custardbelly being here. She is performing a ritual involving a potion to resurrect Orlando – it’s worked!

The concoction has many strange ingredients and rituals – some involving tea-bags, jelly and mushrooms. Arithis is positively glowering at our saviour, I wonder if he won’t go into apoplexy. Meanwhile Scar seems to think he’s on a promise with this man/woman/goblin creature. Now we have to drink it! It didn’t taste as bad as I thought it would – quite sweet and alcoholic in fact. I have gone back for seconds – just to make sure.

We must now journey with Milip to where this secret meeting is going on, it is dark outside and I am quite worried and afraid that we are going to our deaths. We must find a Teleport site – but Milip will guide us.

The Teleport was guarded by a couple of Knights of the Doth Lodass; it took most of our Power to defeat them – but we triumphed. Ina-Kara valiantly took a beating for the group, fortunately Cupris, Gawetic and I were on hand to prevent her from falling. There was a circle of white which we stepped into which took us to a cavern deep beneath us – I think. Rather than waiting to overhear the meeting – which was between the Harrow Ministry of the Left and some Doth Lodass that nobody caught the name of – we revealed ourselves. The Doth Lodass left after persuading Arithis that he was far more hard than him.

The fight with the Harrow was very close – our injured were lined up against the cave wall at the end.

Now that we are back at the Waystation, the cold of that cave is receding from my memory. The cave entrance was a small hut not far from the Waystation itself – as we pushed back the fingers of mist seemed to creep like a ghoul across the grass – almost obscuring our goal.

Here in the warmth Fasel was here to greet us, we managed to persuade a trade for a resurrection potion to bring back our fallen; also we have discovered that we had acquired a powerful sword from the Harrow.

There are Drow here. They have come from Annach Morrananill, and are of House Agrathaan: Coven Nightshade, 9th High Priest and Anduran Deathstrike 16th Assassin according to Viosh who has more of a handle on these matters. Apparently they wish a message to be delivered to Wolfhold, specifically to Lord Black Rod.

Apparently there was a mission about one year ago where some artefacts were recovered by a Valley group. One of House Agrathaan’s warriors was slain and something put upon him to permanently remove his Spirit Strength. He can only be raised as a corpse, they seem to want Alabrion from the temple of Earth delivered to them to answer questions regarding this, that or to answer for his crimes – I’m not sure.

It is morning and we are all rested after our day’s exertions. All I need to do is survive the trip back to the towers, then there are three more missions I will be forced to go on within the next twelve moons. Word has come that there are Dym-Wan massing by the hut, we must engage them to get past them. The others have left I will have to hurry to catch up…

SCRIBE’S NOTE: This was unfinished when it reached the scribes and has been faithfully transcribed – it is known that Nero was slain and brought back to the towers. He is currently recovering in the Hospital.

Appendix A:
GROUP CONTINGENT:
Arithis of the Eternal Order (Leader)
Orlando of the Crusaders (2IC)

Wolfhold:
Scar, Aspirant to Iron Guard
Viosh, Mage to the Black School

Valley Alliance:
Orme, Warrior
Ina-Kara, Warrior
Toppa, Warrior
Bobbyo, Warrior
Shaun Gillins, Aspirant Pathfinder
Cupris, Monk of the Middle Way
Gawetic, Aspirant Hospitaller
Scis-ssor, Acolyte Grey path
Sun Tzu, Aspirant Monk
Lau Tse, Aspirant Monk

 

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