A Merry Band of Adventurers

Olorein's Journal

Year 2334 On the 14th day of the sol of the fern.
It has been a year now that I have spent in the grand city of the Kingdom, and I have been searching for an answer to the council’s problems. I have read through the majority of the tomes in the main library, but to no avail. I have taken up my cause with the king, and he has allowed me to work in the confines of the castle’s high library for the latest sol. In my studies here, I have befriended the members of the royal family, but they have remained blissfully ignorant to the council’s cause. Today, I had taken to reading about the degeneration of the pinkspurt wildflower when I was joined by a toadman who looked to be distraught. We shared a table as we both read our respective tomes. We were joined by the princess Kayah, who had come to request the help of this toad who called himself Mort.
I found myself joining this misshapen party that had been on the trail of gang activity within the city. Apparently they had been involved in a plot that concerned the princess’s brother. The captain of the guard, an unsightly giant, joined us with plans to take a gang stronghold. We walked through the city, and I must say, in all of my previous entries, I have never described the marvel that is the city. It has many high towers, with large walls, that tower over you as though you were in the belly of a great canyon. The city itself bustles with life and activity as any great capital does. As we walked to wherever the beast was taking us, we passed by many a friendly face, and I cannot help but smile at the goodness that fills the hearts of the citizens here.
We arrived at the door of the supposed stronghold. We have a foolhearted man of the guard named Bryan that the giant had brought along for good measure, and began to attempt to gain entrance to the gang’s stronghold. As I looked at the arrangement of the stars, the oaf decided it would be prudent to place his foot through the wooden door of the holdout. What a sweet fellow that one. We gained entrance due to crafty words from the giant, and found ourselves in a party. I don’t know all of the details, but the giant began to dance with the ruffians, and I found myself lightly chatting with the one that appeared to be the leader. Things escalated quickly between us, and I found myself screaming at the brute. This drew the attention of the entire room, and we were quickly labeled enemies of the party. As quickly as it started, it was over, with the princess’s mighty strikes, and the lighthearted cadet’s valiant efforts to stay the hand of the leader. We were able to vanquish our foes, and bring the leader into our custody.
The giant removed himself to deal with business of the city guard, and we took to looking about the room. We noticed a large cage that appeared to have recently housed the prince, and we thought it fitting to place the brute in it, carried by the young fool. As we walked back to the castle, an ominous message was written in the stars. I wrote it off as an old fool that I am. Upon our return to the castle, we noticed that things were amiss. For starters, some of the guards were slumped against the wall, appearing to be slain. All along the halls, and I pick the pockets of the guards that had fallen, for they no longer had any use of their gold. We came to the foyer before the throne room, where some of the guards were still alive, attempting to force their way into the throne room. What they said was not important for soon we were standing face to face with a large skeletal dragon in the throne room. We fled at Mort’s council as the king and queen battled the dragon. He kept shouting “It’s a dracolitch! It’s a dracolitch!” as we ran away from the terror. We fled to the river and made our escape to a border town called Hommlith, which housed a family member of the oaf. We shall rest here for the night, hopefully our situation improves.

Year 2334 On the 18th day of the sol of the fern.
I hope they catch up quickly. There is only so much waiting that an old tree can do. It is light on my mind, so details of this journal will be sparse. We interrogated the leader of the gang, and found that he was a mere minion. Whatever else he told us seems unimportant now with our arrival at Pittsborough, a village in the Northern part of the Kingdom. We were following the trail of the prince, and suspected that he had fallen into more dastardly hands. On our way to the village, we were beleaguered by a tentacle faced man in the forest that seemed intent on killing us. We fought him, and incapacitated him in the cage that we had taken from the gang’s hideout. This man is a sour sort, but seemed trustworthy enough so we allowed him to accompany us to the village. Upon getting here, we came across what appeared to be a town meeting. The village was ragged and seemed to be worn tired from some kind of strife. Of what that was, I cannot say at the time that I write this journal. The town meeting adjourned, and the sulky looking fellow stalked away. The larger man, who we found was named Garath, began to talk with the giant Ga’kril. Whatever was said was not important, as I continued to observe where the sulky man was walking off to. When the talking was finished we ventured to the prophet’s quarters. I was suspect of the gangly creature from the beginning, so while the giant made to question the man, I snuck into his tent, and found some objects of suspect. Before I could continue my search, I heart raised voices outside, and emerged to find the giant attacking the small man. The guard was prepared to arrest the giant when I stepped in and helped the fellow out. I pointed out the crate that I had dug up, and we found limbs inside. Before we knew what was happening, the so called prophet was fleeing, with the aid of some demonic magic. We pursued him out of the town, and vanquished his minions. As the others debated what to do, I gave chase until I came to an opening in the woods. I realize that this pursuit was an act of stupidity on my part, and await the arrival of my friends, passing the time by writing. I do hope they come to my aid soon, for I fear great peril lays ahead.

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Captain's Log 2

Captain’s Log
1st Bear of the Grim Moon

Some fancy maneuvering, reinforcements from town, and a pretty arrow design in my armor later, we earned access to the cave we saw the prophet run into. I’m not sure who’s animating all these undead (Maybe the prophet? Would explain his fetish for corpses we found in his tent, but that would take a lot of time and energy, and he has only been here a couple weeks. Coulda been Aldric too – distracting the townships with undead is a good move.) but I’ll have to remember to thank him or her later – these bastards are way tougher than some ruffians in town. Mort was too weak to carry on, so we left him at the mouth of the cave with the townies. They said it was in the hopes that Mort could use his healing runes to patch people up, but I have a feeling that was code for Mort was too terrified of the creatures to go any farther, just like when he ran back to town when we first saw their den. I don’t know why Princess Kayah insisted on bringing him along.

As we gathered together and prepared to enter the cave, Beredjek started mumbling something about being hungry. I pressed him and he said he hadn’t eaten for the couple days. While I understand not eating while on a hunt, there’s a plentiful food supply all around him. I’m not sure what’s stopping him. The princess seems a bit repulsed by his eating habits, but I’ve seen stranger. The way I figure: if Beredjek is strong enough to survive action taken against him when he feeds and the brain in question is too feeble to ward him off, then nature is just doing its job. I’ll keep that in mind as long as he’s in the party; never know when he might decide we look like a tasty snack. Maybe we can feed him Mort if he tries to run off again.

The cave opened up into a large featureless cavern. The lack of rock formations or any discernable natural features led me to believe at least part of this cave was dug. Oh, that and the fact that somebody had prepared a welcoming party for us: Zombies and skeletons and rot wings, oh my! A horde of zombies raced towards us, skeletons drew bows at us from atop a wooden perch, the rot wings eyed our fleshier parts looking for a chance to swoop down and strike, and in the back something was hurling up snot balls and looked ready to chuck em at us. I think I’ve seen Beredjek do that before… After an uplifting war-hum from Olorien, the fight was on!

Kayah burned away the first wave of zombies before anybody else so much as moved. Olorien charged straight at the next wave, kicking one in the face. Knowing he couldn’t take too much punishment, I ran after him, steeling myself for the fight to come. He and I got mixed up in an intense melee with the zombies, distracting me from the real threat – I got raked in the back from the rot wings and took a snot ball to the face. Apparently it had acidic qualities because it burned hotter than that Lizardfolk gumbo those Bullywogs had me try after our hunt. Things were looking grim as Olorien and I were overpowered by the zombies’ sheer numbers.

Suddenly, something changed in Olorien. I saw in him something only a seasoned warrior like myself could recognize – the lust for battle. Olorien used his hand to launch into the air. For a moment, time seemed to slow, as Olorien’s body gracefully whipped around in the air and birds flew out of crevices we didn’t know Olorien had. Then he brought his legs round to bludgeon all three of his foes, leaping off the last one to land a few feet away. It happened so fast I could barely tell what he had done. Seeing his blood lust renewed my own; I let out a mighty roar and waded back into the fray.

I took a quick look around to get a picture of the whole battle in between sword swings. Beredjek had overwhelmed one flank of skeleton archers, but another was still taking pot-shots at us from the other side of the cavern. The sound of bones snapping brought me back to the more immediate problem – Olorien had struck one of the zombies so quickly that in confusion the zombie swung at one of his mates. I figured we might as well polish these sods off before planning our next move. A few sword strokes later we had a pile of zombie appendages at our feet. Beredjek and the acid bomber appeared to be in some sort of duel. Wizards – you leave them alone for two minutes and they start throwing snot at each other. Kayah, meanwhile, seemed to be handling the rot wing problem – her blinding flashes of divine light kept them from flying around properly. However, I saw that the remaining archers were lining up a shot at our intrepid casters. It did not look like they could afford that kind of distraction right now. Pointing them out to Olorien, I grabbed two of the zombie heads lying on the floor and booked it towards their wooden platform.

The skeletons hesitated a moment as they watched their shafts sink into not Beredjek but the heads of their own mates. The emotionless bastards casually nocked more arrows and lined up shots for my head. Fortunately this kept them from noticing Olorien until he had already leaped into them from the side and knocked them off the platform. Olorien and I were able to take out one fairly quickly, but the other had fallen out of view on the other side of the platform. Just then I heard magical explosions coming from that direction, and decided to put a stop to it before anything nasty happened. I knocked out the supports of the platform and collapsed it on top of the last skeleton, and then… silence. Beredjek had finished off the acid spitter. Our group had vanquished yet another horde of undead.

I took stock of my condition. The arrow shafts that had lodged into my armor in a decorative pattern were gone; I must have used them to stab somebody in the heat of battle. Other than that my scale armor was holding up just fine. Hardy stuff; worth every gold piece the tiefling I took it from spent on it.

With a moment to ourselves we had a chance to look around and plan our next steps. The cave continued in a series of tunnels, but most of these were blocked off by rubble, maybe a cave-in. I could’ve tried to clear them, but it is unlikely the prophet bothered to block up a tunnel after him. There were two tunnels left open. Somebody had scrawled “FLESH” over one and “BONE” over the other, both in Common. I’m not sure who could’ve written it – these undead don’t seem to communicate with each other. Nor do I know why. I suppose it could have been a sorting process for the necromancers – have your minions harvest the caracasses and send bones to one tunnel and flesh to the other for a quick and simple reanimation process. Our group started discussing their options. Olorien and Kayah pointed out that we’ve been through a lot already and recommended reinforcing this position and setting up camp for the night. However, for every minute we stopped moving the prophet got a minute farther away from us. I wanted to press on, and Beredjek announced that he was also eager to get moving. We stood there bickering for a while, until I was about to defer to Kayah – at the end of the day I’m still responsible for her health above anything else. However she saw what I was doing and put a stop to it: “Gak’ril, why do I have to make every decision! I’m sick of it! Make up your own mind for once!”. I didn’t need to be told twice; I ran off down the “FLESH” tunnel. Kayah chased after me – “Gak’ril, that’s not what I meant!”

Kayah and I followed the tunnel until it spit us out into a hallway. Well, it was like a hallway – one with zombie-filled pits in it. Between us and the other end of the tunnel stood a corpse cornucopia, as if somebody had taken a bunch of bodies and smushed them together to form one creature. Kayah called it a “flesh golem”. I have to hand it to whoever is in charge of the undead here – they’ve got a wicked sense of humor. While Kayah and I stood there bickering over what to do, the golem… it’s hard to describe. It sort of oozed its way toward us. At least somebody in the room knew how to get things done. I pointed as much out to Kayah, “See, bold moves win fights!” She seemed rather more concerned with the giant blob of flesh advancing on us. Rolling my eyes, I stepped in front of the beastie. It either had to go through me or fall in the pits. It decided I was the better option. It picked up speed and raced straight towards me… and bounced harmlessly off my shield. I laughed as the creature tried to figure out a way around me as Kayah brought the heavens down upon it, flesh falling off it en masse. This was going to be a piece of cake.

Then the creature formed a huge arm and batted me aside. I crashed into the wall. Stupid. You never let your guard down in a fight. Not for a second. Kayah trembled as the golem advanced on the girl I had vowed to protect. One so different than the scheming tricksters The Kingdom called “politicians”. This girl had within her the same valor and noble spirit her adopted parents showed when they stood against the Dracolich Aldric. Memories played out in my mind: sorting through the carnage, unable to tell my own brother and sisters from my vilest enemy because the bodies had been so horrifically mutilated; returning home to find all the tribes’ tents in flames; forced to watch our children die as I desperately tried anything to staunch the bleeding. As the flesh golem began to beat Kayah, that same rage I felt on the day I lost everything surged through me, commanding me to kill. The purpose for the strength I constantly seek became clear. I only had one thought: Not again. Never again.

I threw myself into the creature, knocking both it and I into a pit. It threw me off, once again into the wall, but I barely felt it. I was up again. I threw my shield and charged again, prepared to chew my way through it if necessary. I was about to leap back into the pit with it, until I realized the creature had stopped making noises. My shield had embedded itself into the wall. Sitting atop it was the creature’s head.

As if from a great distance, I heard Kayah say, “Well, that took care of it, eh, Gak’ril?” I looked toward her. “Gak’ril?” She was safe. I fell to my knees. The bastard had apparently hurt me worse than I thought. “Gak’ril, are you all right?” The last thing I remember is the floor rushing towards my face.

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From the Tome of Beradjek, Entry Chunk 18

Entry 43:

I finally figured it out! I’ve got the bastard! Asshole thinks he’s got it all under control… But I’ve got a handle on his one loose end! I found the princess! She left the city last night with an entourage and I think I can track her down… If I could only isolate her, get her away from her guards, I could take her back into The Kingodom once that jackass enchanter thinks he has a solid claim to the throne, and then I’ll show the townsfolk their precious princess! He’ll have no claim to the throne and every citizen of The Kingdom’s going to tear him apart!

Entry 44:

Just checked back on The Kingdom. Might not be enough citizens to fight the enchanter. Going to need to rethink things here.

Can’t keep eating livestock. Head’s starting to ache.

Entry 45:

They left the village and went into the forest, and let some pretty big guy out of a cage. At least it looks like they take prisoners. Went back into the village.

Adversary’s Ashes, I’m hungry. Have to write with my hands and fingers now. Dammit.

Entry 46:

They’re moving northwest now, just set up camp. Looks like they’re running, not sure where. The amount of refugees is going to make it hard to attack them without causing a commotion.

Entry 47:

Still going. Too many people to try and take the princess. There’s a forest up ahead, I’m going to try and ambush them there.

Some refugees left an old man behind this evening. He was… Delicious. My strength’s coming back.

Entry 48:

Alright, new plan.

I’m sticking with the princess and her entourage. There was a slight setback, and escaping in a forest is slightly more difficult than escaping in the tunnels of the Underdark. It sounds like they want to take the big bastard down too, and I told them that we could use some things to do that:

First, we need some firepower.

Then, we’re going to need a member of the bloodline.

After that, we need to figure out where the skeletons in the palace came from, and if the enchanter or his army have any weaknesses to exploit.

Last, we’ll need an army.

The toad’s giving me funny looks… I’m not sure he’s seen someone write with their tentacles before. How the hell else does he expect me to write while I walk? He needs to cool it about the whole “incapacitating” thing.

It’s seeming like the people on the surface don’t live under constant threat of attack… Which might make what I did seem pretty personal. Not looking forward to when the big guy wakes up, either. He probably won’t be happy when he does…

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Captain's Log 1

Captain’s Log
Seventh Wolf of the Grim Moon1

Incomplete

The princess and I went out searching for word of Prince Jared. There are so few people I can talk with that it would be a miracle to hear anything. Especially with her around: she likes to think that concealing her skin makes her unnoticeable, but its not everyday one sees a gloved and veiled woman walking alongside an armored tower. The treks let the princess feel like she is doing something, though, so I endure them.

On our way to see Barnes at the Rusty Barmaid the princess and I overheard a commotion in the Desint Library. We shared a quick look and sprinted towards the racket, eager to disrupt the monotony of our search. Upon arriving, I noticed a Bullywug quarreling with some thugs. A Bullywug—I hadn’t seen one of them since… Well, I hadn’t seen one for many moons. Regardless, the whole bunch was obviously disturbing the peace – the librarian was cowering behind the desk, books and papers were strewn everywhere, and the lot had even managed to spill food all over The Kingdom’s only copy of Super Secret Magicky Stuff. Plenty enough legal reasons to give them all a good thrashing. Of course that means the princess has to intervene here and start telling me to save the Bullywog; apparently he’s a good luck charm or something. I personally didn’t see a problem with crushing the lot, but right as I’m about to dole out some punishment the largest, hairiest brute of the lot blurts something out.

Among my people large and hairy is a compliment; but I have learned that amongst humans this is usually a sign of low intellect. It holds true in this case, as the thug yelled at us, “You don’t wanna mess with the Bloody Knuckles gang! Yeah, we the ones that kidnapped the prince!” Very intriguing. I managed to convince the man that I could help him move his “property” and arranged a meeting for that night – my team could easily extract more sensitive information under the cover of darkness. Just as things were finally looking up the princess decided to mess it all up. Apparently a creature she has never met is more important to her than her brother: she refused to accept dealing with the ruffians because she was certain they had attacked the Bullywog. I’m still struggling to understand the value system here in The Kingdom. At least it meant I got a fight out of the day. Rolling my eyes, I geared up for a quick scuffle. Protecting this princess is nigh impossible – all she ever wants to do is run straight towards danger and tell it how naughty it is being. Fortunately I was able to clean up the gangsters fairly quickly while the princess and the Bullywog watched in amazement.

1 Gak’ril uses his former tribe’s calendar to tell time. Each month, or moon, consists of three ten-day cycles. The first is always called the hare, and is considered to be a time for growth, development, and the ideal time to embark upon a new journey. The second period is called either the wolf or the stag at the chieftain’s discretion. A wolf generally indicates that the moon has been and will be tough for the tribe and they must accordingly act fiercely and decisively. The final cycle is always called the bear, and is a reminder that all things end and begin again. It is a time of renewal for the tribe. Hunts or scouting trips are generally scheduled to return around this time; those participating taking a few days to rest and spend time with their brothers and sisters before setting out again. Every new moon there is a celebration in which the tribe gathers together and tells stories of the month’s exploits, feasts if times have been good, and competes in traditional contests. Finally, the chieftain is responsible for naming the moon. This name would be announced at midnight of the new moon festival. Because his tribe was wiped out, Gak’ril has taken the responsibilities of naming the weeks and months upon himself as a way of keeping a bit of his past with him.

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