Corean's City of the Mithril Golem

Recap and stuff

This is stage two of our journey. From Zath Shore to Bogcotton farms – home of Daire Bogcotton, younger brother to Ibar (Littlethorn) Bogcotton.

Zath Shore is a muddy patch of land rising out of the swamps and resting where those murky swamp waters drain into the endless depths of Lake Zath. We arrived late on the first Charday of Enkilot. In the night sky, Belsameth's moon formed a perfect half-circle and rose high overhead, while the nameless orb was only slightly more full and lay like a hateful reddish eye low on the eastern horizon.

We entered the first inn we found, and possibly the only one in such a small town. The Cattail, as it is called, boasted a larger crowd than I expected and while most of us sat for a drink and some warm food, Ezeek and Percival made their rounds speaking to some of the halflings who were busily dicing their wages away. It was Percival who returned to the table with the information we needed and with directions to Bogcotton farms secured we bedded down for the night and woke for an early start on Belsaday.

It was a miserable morning. A downpour soaked the swampy land around us turning swampy mud into soggy and sludgy swampy mud. We made our way east along the south road; it felt foolish going deeper into these unfriendly and smelly swamps, but this group is as driven and focused as any soldiers I have ever come across. It is odd to be observing and traveling among Vigilants of Vesh; long have I heard tales of their chicanery, their sabotaging ways and their foppish demeanors, but I saw before me a group of well-trained soldiers who were, though a bit disorganized, focused on their mission's success beyond everything else.

We reached Flatbottom ferries after about three hours of travel; the rain was finally letting up just as we approached the old wooden jetty that was thrusting out into the waters of Crawbug Creek. Ezeek took to speaking with Julewyn Fairmeadow, the aged halfling woman who seemed to own, or at least operate the ferry barges docked here. According to Julewyn, there were no other adventures who had come to visit the Battle-mage save for some heavily cloaked and hooded skinny man who seemed to give the ferry lads the willies.

We paid for our passage across the creek (and our return trip) then loaded our mounts and ourselves onto the barges. They were strong, sturdy halfling youths who poled and rowed us slowly across those waters – I was happy for the barges as the water was dark, muddy and completely something I had no yearning to wade or swim through. The journey across was just over a mile by my estimation, but the trip took us the better part of two hours. Finally across, we made our way down the single raised road that cut east into the Swamps of Zath.

Only about four miles further led us to Bogcotton farms, a sprawling bit of murky bog-land surrounding a stately manor house that was built against a stone tower that looked as though it had stood in these swamps for centuries. We saw the halflings, both young and old, (members of the Bogcotton family) working the land and we were met by three of the Crucible Guard soldiers shortly after we crossed the bridge onto Bogcotton land.

Ezeek assured the guards that we made the journey to speak with Lord Ganthes – adventurers who were coming in response to an advertised need of adventurers. We were led to the farmhouse and were soon led in, passing by an ancient and angry old halfling woman who sat on the porch. She cursed the Crucible guards and further cursed Lord Ganthes, referring to him as General Kres – which showed that her mind was dwelling some twenty years in the past.

We met with Ganthes and he sized us up. Asked some questions about our exploits and accomplishments and seemed to come to the conclusion that we were the right group to hire – claiming that he had turned away two other groups already. He offered us to bed down at the Bogcotton's storage house and we accepted – he also suggested we speak with some of the Bogcottons to try to get a better fix on the location of this Dead-Bog where the wooden trunk he was after is thought to be held.

Our best information came from the Bogcotton's cook – a simple, swamp-dwelling halfling in his middle years, Garcine Dusuau. Master Dusuau certainly knew his swamp lore and seemed well versed on local superstitions as well. He also seemed to have a powerful love for the taste of crawdads – those hideous looking swamp vermin that lurk in the shallows of these bogs.

Master Dusuau, eventually grew to trust Ezeek and spoke more freely of his hatred for Lord Ganthes, specifically, for the man's treatment of the Bogcottons. Arresting "Lady Eluned" seemed to have been the last straw for the seething cook and, together with Byelo Bogcotton (the addle-minded old woman on the front porch), he had concocted a plan to poison the battle-mage with a potent brew of water hemlock he had extracted from the roots of that deadly swamp plant.

For a while, it seemed as if the group was giving Master Dusuau the go-ahead on this plan. Initially, we would attack at dawn after the Calastians had breakfasted on their poisoned morning meal, but gradually that plan changed, particularly after we spoke with Byelo's husband and Ibar's brother, Daire Bogcotton, patriarch of the family and the true lord of Bogcotton farms. 

Daire was plain and simple farm folk, he wanted no trouble and he certainly wanted no killing. He simply wanted to work his land and have some land to pass on to his children when his life was over – these simple dreams seemed unlikely to occur with the Calastian Battle-mage laying claim to the land and calling the family slaves.  Daire was dead set against killing those Calastians and I assumed it was futile to try changing his mind; but Ezeek, with the calm patience of an inquisitor of Madriel, eventually led Daire to our way of thinking and the aged halfling grudgingly agreed to accept our plan of killing at dawn.

I am not sure why, but we scrapped that idea and decided we would lay waste to the battle-mage and his men, but we would do so after we had procured this sphere the vigilants want so badly. We slept through the night in the Bogcotton's storage house. It smelled of dried peat logs and old hay, and probably smelled like bogcotton, though I have never sniffed the stuff before and none of the bulbous buds had bloomed yet for me to sniff.

When we awoke there was a large blue heron or crane stalking the hard-packed earth just outside the storehouse. In its bill was a rolled up sheet of parchment. Sola approached the heron and it instantly placed this parchment into her hands, gave a great squak then flew off into the marsh. The letter seems to have been from this Chery man I have heard spoken of, it said the following:

“I’ve got it! The plan is simplicity itself! We can rescue those enslaved without killing a soul and get you closer to Shelzar in the proccess! 

I am in Zath Shore now, when you have concluded your business in the swamps, find me at the Bogger’s Bayou. I have received the help I need from the Goodman and now I am gathering the help we will need to execute my plan!” 

I assume "the Goodman" to be Goodman Haylord, the kindly priest of Hwyrdd who saw to our getting a scroll to heal Ezeek's eye. I am not sure what to make of this letter or this cherry man, I will follow the course set by Ezeek and the other Vigilants until we are safely out of the Heteronomy. 

Master Dusuau provided us his flat boat and a small row boat to make our way into the swamps. Percival was invited to take breakfast with Lord Ganthes, who seems to see Percival as being closer to his equal than the rest of us. I know nothing of Percival's history, but I now suspect that he is nobly born. After breakfast we made for the boats and ventured into the swamps, and it was awful.

Hours into rowing down that muddy, winding river, we were beset by two massive, boar-sized mosquitos coated with spindly barbs and a hellishly long stinger. Even worse, after they rose up out of the high reeds, one of them mesmerized Orwena with some high-pitched drone, making her fall lifeless to the bottom of the rowboat she shared with Sola and the wolf. We archers let fly; me and this squad's archer captain, Micah Angelo, both found our marks with arrows that imbedded into the massive insects, but did little to slow them down. Sola's arrow skipped harmlessly off of their insectile hides, Ezeek and Percival explained that only magical weapons could strike these creatures true.

These wiley, wicked creatures only seemed to want blood and with Orwena lying helpless, they made her their focus. At first I thought Ezeek was mad for abandoning the boat and wading through that vile water to engage one of the creatures, but one by one, the other vigilants followed suit, first Micah circling around to get a clean shot at one of the Blightspawns (as Ezeek called them). He waded through the water unslowed by muck or liquid, moving as freely as if he were on dry land. Sola and Percival soon followed into the cold, murky waters, wading after the spawn who had its stinger buried in Orwena and was beginning to fly away with her.

Just when it seemed the spawn would not be reached before it drained every drop of our halfling's blood, Micah hit it with a winning shot and it dropped dead into the bristly reeds where it had landed to sup upon Orwena's lifeblood. When we arrived at her body I was certain she was dead. She was clammy and pale – as pale as a newly blossomed bud of bog cotton. I was certain we had lost her, but the healing powers of Micah and his goddess Tanil brought her life. I saw color rush into her cheeks and shortly thereafter, her eyes opened and she rose from that murky bedding of reeds. I could not believe my own eyes.

Though we had survived without casualties, the blightspawn had wreaked some damage upon our group. Orwena was still weak and light-headed from her loss of blood, something that Micah said might require a few days for her to fully recover from. Just as frightening was Ezeek's foggy-minded reaction to the Blightspawn's poison. It seemed that their poison attacks the mind, and the normally sharp and insightful inquisitor was making very little sense and was lost in a haze.

We had to make a long-term camp sight and see to these wounds. Sola pounded my iron spike of safe passage into the earth of an elevated patch of ground and we hunkered down for several nights. Micah and Sola woke us that first night and the group dispatched a sickening mound of pulsing, acidic ooze that was slowly creeping its way out of the swamp and into our camp. Thankfully he spotted it before it reached any of our sleeping comrades.

For two more nights we rested on that swamp, battling nothing save clouds of mosquitos and the dreadful noises of bog frogs, insects and whatever other frightening creatures lurk in these dark waters. After that needed respite, we were back in our boats and after two days of trouble-free rowing, Percival spotted the clump of dead trees that Master Dusuau had indicated as the first landmark to reach the dead bog. We pulled our boats out of the muddy river and secured them to these dead trees. It seems that the rest of our journy will need to be made on foot.

~ Chuchuk, Commander of Fort Vinous Archer Brigade, Leader of the Vineroost Rebellion.

 

 

 

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Inquisitor's Interest
How to Kill a BAzeek!

Step 1. Capture a BAzeek (it is easier when they walk right in your front door).

Step 2. Pluck out his eyeball.

Step 3. Scry on him mercilessly using his own eyeball. (this is due to your poor lack of supervision. BAzeeks are known for the craftiness and thus he escaped).

Step 4. Show up unannounced and kill him. (this part is more difficult than this step implies).

Names have been changed to protect the identity of the BAzeek.

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The tragic tale of Honeyboy Hardy

Let me begin my tale right from the beginning. Were we seated in the Torro warehouse vault you would see seven great oaken barrels lining the subterranean walls. These barrels are tall enough for a grown human man to walk through without the need to bend his head or duck. From left to right the barrels are plainly labelled: I-II-III-IV-V-VI-III.

Yes, there are two third barrels and let me explain why, for therein lies my purpose in coming to you. Go back to the years 130 and 132AV – twenty and eighteen years ago when I was still a spry lad helping my father and grandfather in running the winery. We had nearly sixty local men and women working our lands and with that many people gathered, there was bound to be problems, but we never expected anything like what happened during the harvest of 130.

Now to clarify, each of these barrels contain the fermented grape from a different year. We bottle or cask our wines from one great barrel per year, rotating each year so that every harvest ages in the barrel for six years before being bottled in the seventh year. When barrel one is emptied and bottled, the barrel is thoroughly cleaned and prepared to hold that autumn's harvest, which will sit there until barrels two through seven are emptied in subsequent years… Am I making sense so far?

Okay, so back to the year 130 when a passel of rowdy working lads both took to fancying the same woman; now this woman, Dora-Donna, was promised to marry young, Honeyboy Hardy (to this day I can never recall his real name – everybody just called him Honeyboy), but at least two other lads wanted her hand, including the son of a wealthy land owner. It was well known that Honeyboy and Dorra-Donna were mad in love with each other and would have already been wed if Honeyboy hadn't insisted on waiting until he had stockpiled enough coin to buy himself a small plot of land and build his soon-to-be-family a cottage to dwell within.

Of course, with so many love interests and so much drinking of wine and the Idran beauty of Dorra-Donna, this story does not have a happy ending. One day, as the hands came in from the vineyards and the hills, our foreman, noticed that one head was missing. This happened now and then, so when Honeyboy didn't return it was assumed he broke off early to tend to other matters. But days soon went by and the well-liked Honeyboy was missed more and more. Dorra-Donna in particular was in a fit of worry and before long folk from all corners of Vineroost gathered to search for Honeyboy. Even rival vineyards released their laborers to aid in the search – I remember myself and a group of friends venturing along the Vine-Stream in the hopes we'd find Honeyboy off on an excursion or some such, but we had no such luck, neither did any of the other seekers.

It was two years later when Honeyboy's remains were finally found. Bottlers and caskers were emptying great barrel III but were having a devil of a time getting the wine to flow out properly, but it wasn't uncommon for sediment to stop up the taps, so our chief wine-man used a great oak pole to push at the area around the tap in hopes of undoing the blockage, but instead of clearing away sediment his pole repeatedly struck something large, soft and mushy.

By now you've worked it out for yourself – there was poor Honeyboy, under our noses all of these two years. The poor fellow's corpse was stowed away in that vat, not to be found until it was time for bottling. Now, a good 3/4 of the wine from that vat had already been emptied into casks, smaller barrels and bottles, but that which we found Honeyboy submersed in was discarded. We had a choice to make concerning the bottled wine taken from that vat and my grandfather made the choice to ship and sell it, though our chief wine-man objected.

It was not surprising that the wine from that vat had a fetid smell and a sanguine taste to it. Many who sampled it said they could taste rot to the root of their teeth and many compared that year's vintage to drinking of blood. Vat three was thoroughly washed, scrubbed and cleansed then put back into rotation despite the morbid story behind it. It wasn't until the year 139 (seven years later) when that next batch of vat III wine was bottled that we got the same complaints. The wine had a subtle but distinctive grave-like aftertaste, despite the cleansing and cleaning.

My father, who now ran the winery was set to discarding the fresh grape that was filling vat III and have the vat destroyed and removed, however, before he could do this, a visitor from the necromancers at Hollowfaust arrived asking to purchase the remainder of our stock of 132 wine. When the story was shared with him, he beseeched us to keep the vat in use as the flavor and energies of the wine seemed to have some otherworldly appeal to the Hollowfaustians. 

Still my father refused, but when the the price this man was willing to pay continued to increase, my father had to give in, as it would be folly to cast aside such a fortune. To this day we continue to use vat III, but only bottle it's contents every ten years, with last year (149) being the latest shipment of that stock – and just so you know, even this latest shipment retains that cadaverous after taste.

Now, why I need your help. My family still holds two casks of the original 132 Red – the first and most potent batch from vat number III – the actual wine that poor Honeyboy's body was dunked within. Now we would never drink it, but the value of this very rare vintage is extreme. Sadly, with the local banditry plaguing our community, the soldiers of Fort Vinous confiscated a small bit of my stores. Unfortunately, one of the 132 casks were taken, leaving my family with only one!

I ask you to craft this to help in safeguarding this last cask – not solely because of its monetary value, but because we see it as a part of our family's history. If you could do this for me, I would gladly meet your price and recommend you to some of my friends in Calas.

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A Journey Undertaken

We are now in Calas, a city where friends are few for Vigilants. We embarked on a journey to find the Necrotic Sphere even though we weren't technically the ones assigned the mission. We all agreed that we knew more about the situation than any of the others. We also felt we had the best chance of tracking it down since we were there and had first-hand knowledge of everything that led to the need to find it. We were taking a risk going down this path, but we were given a very strong hint that we should embark on this mission with all due haste. It took a bit of subterfuge to give Ezeek the chance to slip away from his guide to Durrovar. The rest of us made it to the boat very early in order to get underway before anyone noticed we were gone. When I saw Ezeek heading down the docks I knew we were on the right path.

So, we started on a journey down the Eni river. We ran into some encounters along the way, but we managed to pull ourselves through them. So far on the way to Calas we have managed to rescue a young boy, save an inn full of people and save a young hafling lass from certain abuse.

 We made it to Kassel Downs, where we were to leave the boat. When we arrived, the place appeared deserted, but we eventually ran across a young man who worked for Mirt Kassel. We found out from the young man, Piquay, that the family that ran the place had some unfortunate luck and were killed by the Mirt. We discovered that Piquay was also infected with the same disease as Mirt. Rowena, Percival and I went into Deriz to try and find a scroll of Remove Disease. We ended up at the Yearning Tomb, a temple of Belsameth, for the remove disease scroll. Of course, we had to do a job for the priest in return for the scroll. We were successful, and we managed to save the boy. We bought horses in Deriz and headed West.

We stopped at the Inn of the Full Moon one evening hoping to relax and get a good night’s rest. During dinner, we noticed everyone in the place was acting very odd. The innkeeper was very friendly but didn’t seem to want us to linger any longer than necessary. We ended up investigating and found an undead wight with a ghastly flock of ghoul stirges. He was holding all the guests at the Inn, so they could murder a traveler as a service to Belsameth. This place is crazy. We killed the creature and his flock, and this allowed everyone to leave.

One night while camping at a Shrine of Tanil we heard a female cry for help. We investigated the area where the scream came from and found tracks leading off into the forest. One set of tracks looked small, perhaps a child or halfling and another that was clearly a donkey. We followed them to a cave located across an open field. We skirted around and much to our surprise we ran into some coal goblins watching the cave entrance. I am not sure why we didn’t kill them outright, but we ended up meeting their leader. She wanted one of the bandits because she believed he was cursed with the bite of a werewolf.

The bandits had the people we tracked and believed them to be held hostage. The goblins wanted one of the bandits. Being unsure of the bandit’s strength we agreed to join up with the goblins at midnight the next evening. We returned to the shrine of Tanil where we were camped and had one of the hostages tied up. Ezeek continued to question him and learned that around noon most of the bandits, known as the Vulture Kettle group, leave to watch the road looking for more potential victims. We used that time to move into the cave, rescue the hostages and kill the two remaining bandits that stayed behind. We found an alchemist’s lab and took all the important items and trashed everything else. The captives were a man named Devvik and his ward Lucindra. We left the goblins and the rest of the bandits to fight it out themselves.

While traveling Ezeek and Rowena got the distinct feeling the Devvik did not have the best of intentions for Lucindra. They felt his show of concern was all an act and wanted to keep her a virgin so that he could fetch a good price for her. I wanted to kill him outright but Ezeek told him to leave. That piece of filth does not deserve to continue breathing as far as I am concerned. If I ever cross paths with him again things will end differently.

We brought Lucindra to Oakdale and left her in the care of Keerlyn – The High Gatheress of Hwyrdd. While at the temple we saw an emperor stag, Faelan, sent to the Gatheress by Denev. It was a magnificent creature. We met up with Wathcman Hellok and he informed the other vigilants we were to meet that we arrived. We were to come back that evening and sneak into his office through a window. We would meet the others there.

Rowena and I snuck and much to my surprise I found Rowan, my brothers’ best friend, sitting behind the constable’s desk. She didn’t seem to recognize me, but I was much younger the last time we saw each other. And then I heard him. His voice came from the other hall. I couldn’t believe it but when I turned around, there he was. My brother, Rillobante, was standing there right in front of me. I have not seen him in so long I just stood there for a moment not truly believing my eyes. Then I ran and hugged like I did when I was a little kid. Then I punched him in the arm and he shoved me like we have always done. Ri told us that we had earned our Vigilant medallions and that we were lieutenants now. I was so happy when he pinned mine on me I was about to burst. He seemed a little less than pleased and even said he had to wait years to get his. But I think he was still proud of his little sister even though he wasn’t exactly showing it. Ri then informed us that we needed to Goodman Haylord in Calas. He also warned us about maintaining our cover and not getting caught in these lands. I think he was mainly talking to me because he still sees me as his baby sister.

My brother, Ri (ree), has always been my idol. When we were kids I tried to do everything he did. I am much younger than he is, so he thought it was pretty funny. I tried to do something exactly like he did and normally ended up on my ass or stuck somewhere or was just too little. But that never stopped me. My whole family was so proud when he went to train as a Vigilant. Then he joined the Beltanian Vigil and continued the family tradition. There has always been a representative of the Celstis family in the Beltanian Vigil (harkening back to the days when Beltanian was the only Vigil). My brother decided to transfer to the Pelpernoi Vigil to be closer to his childhood friend, Rowan. I don’t know why he did it but it made our father, Thalek, extremely mad. Actually, many members of our family are not too happy with him.

I don’t know why he did it, but I know he had a good reason. I am still proud of him and one day he will tell me his reasons. I hope our journeys lead us to him when we have a bit more time to spend together. For now we will continue on the path of the Necrotic Sphere and return it to the Vigil stronghold in Shelzar.

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A Long Winter

Looking back at the past several months, I am saddened by all the loss but also proud of myself and my fellow Vigilants.

Over these past months, the Metyrian, Lolharden, Hornswythe and Beltanian Vigils helped dismantle an organized effort to find the Bracers of Khorzad in Old Amalthea for some unknown entity referred to as the Merciless Overlord. A horde of two mercenary groups, The Legion of Ruin and The Grim Hunt, descended upon the ruins of Old Amalthea to seek out the bracers. These units formed a loose alliance and seemed to be led by Rochukin the leader of the Legion. Each of the vigils mentioned played a role in uncovering the plot that was unfolding in the ruins. Each vigil sent back vital information that warned Amalthea that the horde was coming. Many sacrificed their lives to get information back to the Council.

The only vigilants that returned to Amalthea were those of our group that traveled the Canyon of Souls on our way to Amalthea for our first assignments as probationary vigilants. Percival, Ezeek, Michah and Orwena and I worked together over the next several weeks to assist with the threat beyond Amalthea’s walls. Nijen Farial and I made the tough decision to leave the rest of our squad in “The Pit” after receiving a message from Sir Throazigh. We knew if we didn’t leave we risked not being able to get the information back to Amalthea. It was of vital importance and though I still feel a deep regret I believe it was the right thing to do.

We regrouped with the Lolharden vigil in Summer’s Grove. The remaining vigilants from the other squads rendezvoused in Summer’s Grove as well. Ezeek, Micah, Percival, Nijen and I worked with the Lolharden vigil to ambush a Legion of Ruin supply caravan.  The Lolharden vigil and Nijen took the people we rescued from the caravan to the Ganjus forest to wait out the winter. Orwena had a bit of a falling out with her squad so her leader, a Corporal Chanty, had her return to Amalthea with us. Personally, I felt Orwena was better off with us. Chanty seemed to be somewhat unstable and I questioned his ability to lead his squad. It appeared that the squad deferred to Firenni Aellan for matters of importance and so I felt that the group, and those we rescued, were in capable hands.

On our way back to Amalthea we found a small campsite, where we captured a bard, who turned out to be the apprentice to Aeldraed. Zumzai gave our first clues as to what was happening.

We journeyed back to “The Pit” and discovered the fate of my squad. Sir Throazigh Offen and Liriel Jinani met their end making their last stand fighting the spider-eye goblins. We retrieved Sir Throazigh’s long sword and holy symbol and Liriel’s harp, Wildnote.  Our mission was to collapse the tunnel that was allowing the spider-eye goblins access to resupply the troops in Old Amalthea. That was a success as well as killing the bitch Quodorix, the Spider-eye matriarch, and found we Ikaja in her lair tortured, eyes gouged out. We got her back to Amalthea and the druids were able to restore her sight.

After putting all the pieces together, we came up with a plan to infiltrate the ruins. Our objectives in order of importance were to retrieve the bracer, capture or kill Aeldraed and retrieve his journal. Our plan worked extremely well and thankfully there were no casualties. Unfortunately, Rochukin escaped but we were told he was later killed with the small band he escaped with.

We also undertook a personal mission. We discovered that Esyllt was still alive and being held captive by a group of bandits. Traveling through the heavy snows we made it to where Esyllt was last known to be alive. We followed bloody animal tracks that led us to a wounded wolf. I approached cautiously and found him to be more intelligent than a normal animal. We healed his wounds and gave him food and water. The next day, with Tanil’s blessing, I spoke with him. He was afraid for Esyllt and had been trying to reach her when he was wounded. Together our group along with the wolf infiltrated the bandit camp and rescued the halfling, Esyllt. We made it safely back to Amalthea to wait out the rest of the winter.

While we were very successful the cost in life was great. I mourn the loss of so many brave men and women. Those souls that have moved on are Giannia Bonnwick, Gwygan Werfosemar, Alladine Gossenite, LIriel Jennan, and Sir Throazigh Offen. I also learned that my former squad leader Prospus Volcan was killed in the spider-eye goblin cave. While I did not agree with his methods I never doubted his dedication. He died trying to rescue our squad and deserves to be remembered for his efforts.

I am spending my time left in Amalthea trying to track down any information I can find regarding a legendary bow of Tanil named Toloc Sorte. I am also assisting Percival in the training of my new companion Onyx. He is a beautiful wolf and I find his presence comforting during this time. I have offered my services to train any of the standing army or volunteer militia in combat or in the handling of animals. I periodically lead a patrol outside the gates for my own peace of mind and to work with Onyx.

We will be leaving Amalthea soon and heading to Bloodhollow for new assignments. I will miss my friends but know that where ever they end up they will be striking a blow to evil.    

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Letters from the Ganjus

To the Vigil Home Commander of Amalthea,

Bleak tidings from the Ganjus Forest. Of my squad I can account for only three and I fear the worst for the rest. Vigilant-Lieutenant Ilum must surely be dead as he ordered us onward at fierce speeds while he and brave Butcher stayed behind to forestall our enemy.

Here the Metyrians divided further, with Essylt and her brave but trundling mount, Cobber, being sent east into rugged snow-covered hills and poor Percival and his un-named steed being ordered south to hopefully reach the vigilants of the Hornswythe at Ramshorn River. I cannot speak as to their fate, but my fears and prayers have never left them; hopefully you have heard some good news that has yet to reach my ears.

The remaining squad hoped to outrun the swarms of worgs and reach the safety of the Ganjus forest, but so reckless were we in seeking speed and the enemy at our heels, that we left ourselves vulnerable to an attack from our fronts. I have heard horrific tales of blood reapers before, but these did not live up to the terror that comes with meeting this fiend in the flesh. The mantis-like hunter rose out of the snow before us and set into poor Harper with a vengeance. We dared not slow to fight and we likely would not have survived if we had, so we surged forward, finally outpacing this horrific creation of Hrinruuk, though his hellish wounds left Harper slowed and lame.

I gave the order that we would slow our pace and remain together rather than abandon Giannia and Harper to their fate; this met heavy objection from Oblivion, and I thought we might come to blows over this decision. For the next day he remained deathly silent, however, he obeyed my command and kept Popskull reined in so we would remain with Giannia. That night, as I called for a brief rest, again Oblivion urged me menacingly to rescind this order and let the two of us ride at haste to the Ganjus. I ignored him for the most part, wanting only a few hours of sleep.

It seems that as Oblivion and I slept, Giannia took the decision out of my hands. That dear, foolish Darakeener, took her hampered mount and left in the night, likely because she did not want to slow us any further. Oblivion caught the barbed side of my tongue when we set off west, but he stayed with me at first. Within hours he stopped, dismounted Popskull and with a slap sent the mount surging into the open plains to the south by himself. Oblivion assured me that we would never reach the Ganjus before the worgs overtook us; he said it was imperative that at least one of us survive and decided that that one should be him. Aided by his pass without trace spell, he ventured north leaving only the tracks and scents of me, Byrn and Popskull for our enemies to follow.

I cursed him for the devil that he is and vowed to Byrn that we would run the coward down one day, then I dug my heels in and further vowed to Tanil that my horse and I would make the Ganjus. No flea-bag Khetan mutt was going to overtake us!

We had almost a full two days of travel. I will not go into the details of that weary voyage, but I will only say that several times, when Byrn seemed ready to collapse and remained upright against all laws of life, stamina or common sense, he continued onward. What’s more, after each short rest I allowed my mount, he seemed fully charged and refreshed as if he had spent a week being pampered in the stables of Bloodhollow. Through this divine assistance of Tanil, we made it to the forest, being aided by a jordeh druid and a contingent of oak knights just as the worgs came upon us at the forest’s edge.

Oblivian made the safety of the forest two days later and though the elves reunited us, neither have spoken a word to the other.

The oak knights refuse to make the journey to Amalthea until the snows lessen and the heart of Winter passes, and I will not ask Tanil for the second miracle that it would take for me to make the mountain on my own. Together, some oak knights volunteered to join me in a search for Giannia and Harper. Sadly we found the bard’s body violated, defiled and torn asunder by hungry worgs. We gathered what we could of her remains and she now rests in the peaceful bosom of Denev’s forest. I never found Harper and it saddens me that mount and rider cannot lie together in death, though I have no doubt that they now ride together through the green plains of Myrtana.

The elves tell me that two members of the Hornswythe vigil arrived in the forest to the south; like me and Oblivion, they are also slowly making their way to the village of Kara-Fae, which borders the Amalthean Valley. I should be united with these vigilants when we arrive there; I pray to Tanil that the rest of their squad are safe. My prayers also go out to the squads Beltanian and Lolharden; I trust that our scouting was a limited success and that warning reached Amalthea in time to prepare for this surge of evil.

Whoever you are reading this, remember that you now represent all of Vesh. Be you a seasoned corporal or a lowly probate, you are the Vigilant Home commander of all Amalthea until another arrives to relieve you of this duty. I will return as soon as I can and hope to aid in whatever way  possible.

Vigilant-Corporal Alorielle Edringar, Metyrian Vigil

 

We were not expecting so many refugees within the bounds of our small community, but we never once considered turning away so many in need  – and never our dear allies of Amalthea. Our hearths are warm, our spirits are strong and our forest shall provide nourishment for all.

 

We regret that our numbers and the weather forbids us from sending aid to our friends in Amalthea, we suffer your every loss and will do what we can to help. We temporarily house a squad of vigilants of Vesh and I offered to send a letter from their leader, a corporal Chanty Levesque. His response was brief and I decided to include it in this missive:

 

“I’ll deliver it myself. We leave for Amalthea within the hour.”

 

~Lady Ssivette, Keeper of the Autumnal Glade

 

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Sola's Struggles

I made it! I am finally a Vigilant and have become a member of the Beltanian Squad. I am beyond excited and hope that I have made my brother proud. He has been my inspiration since, well, my whole life.

My squad consists of 6 members including myself. We had been patrolling the area north of Almalthea and realized that we needed to try and stop the raiding being perpetrated by small bands of spider-eye goblins. Unfortunately this decision caused us big problems. We managed to capture 3 of them and  our leader Corporal Prospus Voclain set about torturing them. This caused me to question his leadership. Both Lirel and I tried to stop him but he said the information he was getting was too valuable and he would not stop. Being young and new to the squad I stopped my protests but it was still not sitting well with me. When he ordered us to keep his activities a secret from Sir Throazigh Offen, I knew Prospus was fully aware that what he did was wrong. He felt the ends justified the means. 

As soon as Throazigh was awake I sought his council. He was as appalled as I was and took the information to Vigilant-Lieutenant Illum. In the end Prospus Voclain was expelled from the Vigilants. I was worried that the others in my squad may feel that I overstepped but in the end most believe it was the right thing to do. I believe we must uphold a higher standard or we will become the monsters that we now fight. Many may think me foolish and that there are times that a line may have to be crossed. I cannot and will not believe that. If we cross one line how much easier will it be the next, or the time after that. Before we know it we have become what we seek to destroy.

We were sent on our mission and discovered information about the  pit. Unfortunately we had to leave several members of our squad down in the tunnels. I fear for them, and don't want to leave, but we must get our information back to those in Amalthea. It is so difficult to leave when you know  it is very likely they will never make it out. This is an aspect of being a vigilant I had not given much thought too. I am so torn between what must be done and what I want to do. In the end I realized that if the information did not make it back we would all have died for nothing. I did what had to be done but it totally sucked. Only Nijen and myself made it back to the Summer's Glade. 

We arrived to find several members of the Lolharden squad asleep. It appeared they had been there for quite some time and when trying to wake them we got the feeling their slumber was unnatural. We did manage to wake them and discovered that 2 of their members were not with them. Orwina and Ryvian eventually returned and told a fantastical story about unicorns and fairies. Both insisted this to be the case and I eventually came to believe them and felt that Orwina had been enchanted into following the creatures back to their grove. The leader of the Lolharden squad, corporal Chanty Levesque, seemed a bit off when we arrived. At first I thought it was due to the sleep they had been subjected too and the fact the they were left vulnerable by 2 of their squad. But as time passed it became clear that he was a bit off. He seemed to think his squad should run off and start harassing the army that was passing through. I thought for sure this would be suicide. After speaking with several others that seemed to be the general consensus. Ezeek and I both felt he was not fit for command. He did how ever seem to defer to Firenni Aellan in matters of importance. I am told he is an outstanding tracker and hunter but I fear he will get his squad killed with his crazy ideas.

This is now the second squad leader that has given me pause. With Prospus, I felt I didn't do enough to stop him. It has left me with some amount of guilt. I was not going to allow Chanty to lead his squad to their deaths. I questioned and challenged his reasons and perhaps his sanity. Ezeek assisted as well and in the end it was Firenni that made the upcoming decision as to whether or not we attacked the supply caravan. 

We are now back in Amalthea and with a little time to finally relax I find myself saddened by all the recent loss of life. It seems that our little group that traveled to Amalthea together is once again back together and perhaps may be fighting side-by-side soon. Looking around at my companions I wonder which of us will make back as war looms just beyond the walls. 

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Ezeek's thoughts

4th of Enker- My new and temporary squad entered the Canyon of Souls today.  We were led by a bit queer, perhaps mad, guide named Zavi.  Guides for this canyon hold the title of WIndwalkers, and the locals seem to have some reverence for them.  To me, it seems that their connection to the canyon may be more show than authentic, as many merchants pass through the canyon and the trip is apparently quite lucrative for these Windwalkers.  Still, Lt. Illum gave us the coin to employ Zavi specifically, so we obeyed orders.  The canyon seems to live up to its reputation.  The winds are both fierce and cold, biting deep to the bone.  It is nearly impossible to predict how strong gusts shall be from moment to moment.

               As for the vilgilants, there are four others besides myself.  There is Sola, a girl somewhat close to my age.  She is an archer and skilled in woods-craft as handling animals.  Micha is an “Ironbred”, apparently a horse-headed titan-spawn race indigenous to the wilds of Hallowfaust.  Micha is a priest of Tanil and seems to constantly be testing those he meets for ugly attitudes directed towards his heritage.  Orwena, a halfling mage of some sort is clearly unused to the wilds.  It seems she is from a wealthy family and quite used to an easy life.  She travels with a seemingly unending menagerie which includes a pony, an ass, and a cat which is nearly the size of a pony.  Lastly there is Percival, who is a cavalryman. 

 

5th of Enker- I write this in the morning.  I have seen my first truly unnatural abomination, an undead archer who had at its command four skeletal hounds.  They attacked us last evening while we were bedded down.  There were a few injuries but were easily healed between Micha and myself.  Percival demonstrated the power of a horsed warrior during the battle and had the thing down before I could grab my armored coat. 

One note of interest is that as I put the archer to rest, I discovered a bone with runes amongst its things.  We were uncertain of its nature but Orwena took it for examination with little caution.  I must be sure to inquire as to the nature of this bone wand, if it is such a thing, and ensure none of us are corrupted by any evil influence.

 

This afternoon we sought shelter in a mine.  I thought it odd that there would be a mine in this howling hell, but Zavi says that this canyon was not always so inhospitable.  The passage was safe enough but were attacked by a monstrous crab of some sort which attacked from a perch high up.  It shot a web like strand onto Orwena’s back (presumably as she is the smallest) but was slain by arrows afore it could do much harm.  We bed down tonight and plan to stay for perhaps another day to ride out the icy winds in the open canyon.

 

10th of Enker- I have neglected my journal for several days, though truly it does not seem that 5 days have past.  We have spent these days wandering back in forth in this canyon at the whims of Zavi.  In observing him, I do believe he is working some sort of magic to commune with the spirits of this place, or perhaps spirits in service to Enkili.  It seems as hedge magic as it lacks the traditional form of organized faith, but this might be common to a goddess such as Enkili.  His indecision followed by apparent certainty may well be a result of his connection to his god, but still it keeps me uneasy.

               The event that turned my mind to recording the day was the encounter with a minor air elemental, impish in appearance.  My understanding of air elementals that they are more passion than reason and this one has not changed my thoughts on the matter.  Admittedly my focus has been on fiends and possessing spirits, but clearly devils and such are not to only threat to mortal kind.  The small beast summoned a twin and the two discharged electrical attacks whilst attempting to claw at us.  Praise be to Madriel and Tanil for their gifts of healing after a hard-won battle and the death of the elementals.

 

13th of Enker- Yesterday we made Ontenzau West and stayed the night out of the winds.  I found myself waking during the night as if I was still hearing winds only to fall back into uneasy sleep.  This morning, we travel south to Blood Hollow, the Vigilant fortress and should be there mid-tomorrow.  At least this region is likely to be safe for camping.

 

14th of Ender- Ants the size of dogs attacked us last night.  They came up from a hole, presumably their nest.  After slaying three, we sealed off the their tunnel with rubble and several large boulders.  Owrena seems insistent on fashion a decapitated ant-head into some sort of headwear.  Still no mention of that bone wand.

 

19th of Ender- Over the past several days, we arrived at Blood Hollow, got provisions, and headed north back to Ontenazu West on our way to a temporary (the winter?) assignment in Amalthia.   The trip beyond Ontenazu has been quite pleasant and peaceful, and the folk are welcoming of Vigilants.  Despite our probationary status, Gold Knight Cordad has given us permission to display our Vigilant Amulets to ease our interactions with the locals.

               This evening, I sit in local hospitality in the form of a farmer’s barn.  Though there are rumors of some bandit activity in the region, my sense is that the area is free of evil creatures, elementals and the like.  Tonight is likely to pass without incident as the farming families here appear to have little need of defenses.  Something excites the farm's hound as we speak, no doubt a racoo…

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Canyon of Souls

The sight before you is awe-inspiring yet frightening at the same time. Beyond you stretches not just a canyon, but a maze of canyons great and small. Jagged pathways, natural, but twisted stone bridges, gaping holes in the earth and an empty openness as far as the eye can see. As if witnessing this miracle with your eyes was a cue, the winds rise to greet you like a cold and blustery wall.

The chill in the air reminds you that you have been traveling steadily upward for the last two days and that these canyons exist among the lower peaks of the mighty Kelder Mountains. To the North and South of this wind-swept canyonland can be seen the purplish blue rise of the Kelders themselves; at this elevation no trees grow upon the mountain sides and a year-round blanket of snow coats the rocky surfaces not much higher than where you now stand. Of course, along your western journey, among the canyons themselves, nothing grows due to the constant blasting of these winds.

The Wind walker gathers close to you and, surprisingly, his voice is clear and carries over the wind, which he has obviously grown used to battling over the many years:

Caution young friends. Caution is the way of the wise. The canyons are a living and hostile being. The wind, it is her breath. The rain, it is her drink and foolhardy explorers, they are her supper.” He gives a crooked smile, claps you on the back then speaks a prayer of guidance and good fortune to Enkili as he takes his first steps forward. He maintains this nonsensical and repetitive prayer for the first several miles of your journey.

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5. Write your first Adventure Log post

The adventure log is where you list the sessions and adventures your party has been on, but for now, we suggest doing a very light “story so far” post. Just give a brief overview of what the party has done up to this point. After each future session, create a new post detailing that night’s adventures.

One final tip: Don’t stress about making your Obsidian Portal campaign look perfect. Instead, just make it work for you and your group. If everyone is having fun, then you’re using Obsidian Portal exactly as it was designed, even if your adventure log isn’t always up to date or your characters don’t all have portrait pictures.

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