3rd of Grekar
I have decided to start a Journal, Father Phillip thought it would be a good idea for me to to travel around the outlying areas of Timiro and get to know of the farmers and peasants. I am dubious about the whole thing but if Father Phillip thinks it’s a good idea I’m going to have to do it, even though it will cut into my study time. I was thinking of starting next week, but Father Phillip has decided that there is no time like the present and has sent me off to the Abbey just outside of town to get supplies for my trip. I’m not even getting a horse, I’m going to have to walk all that way. I will stop by a good tanners store and get a weather proof container for my journal and some more paper. It has been awhile since I have used any of my cartography skills, and in fact I think Father Phillip knows of my old hobby enough that this might be him giving me a holiday of sorts, as I have been working hard and I haven’t drawn a map in almost 2 years.
16th of Grekar
Dear Father Phillip
I am just writing to you to tell you that the start of the journey to Gedro has been highly uneventful, I have headed east to Sims. The people have been mostly farmers, and i have tended a few inured here and the to break up the monotony of travelling through farmland and to help defray the expenses i have incurred. Next stop will be Fort Ac, hopefully my nice quiet walk will continue.
24th of Grekar
Dear Father Phillip, Have finally made it to Ft Ac, it was a bit of a troublesome as I was kindly picked up by a moving family. Areyas, the young wife was very pregnant when we started out and just as we got to the forest she gave birth to a healthy young boy, so the family decided to stop for a few days to rest, after making sure all was OK I blessed the babe in a small private ritual with the family and decided to move on, I wished them the best of luck in their move to Gedro and continued on myself.
11th day of Majesty
Greetings again Father Phillip
Sorry for the long interval but my travels were waylaid by brigands, I had camped on the road near the river when the brigands surprised me, I managed by the grace of Isis to somehow run fast enough to make it to the river where I managed to grab onto a log and float downstream and thus lose them totally, but something told me that something was amiss, so when I managed to get out of the river and dry off I looked for and met a local farmer, and questioned him about the brigands in the forest. Apparently these dastardly dogs have been kidnapping children and then taking them up into the hills for who Lord knows what, so I decided I had to help. I retraced my path upriver and managed to find the group, and by this time it was getting dark, and as their intelligence seemed to be limited they lit some torches and immediately headed off into the forest. The torchlight was easy to follow so I tried to sneak around the camp, they might have been sub par in the intelligence area but they had really sharp eyes, and so I was discovered, captured and penned in a cage. What I didn’t know was these miscreants were selling the children to a witch in the mountains for use in magic most foul, and they didn’t seem to care that I was listening to their every word. When they mentioned killing the children I had had enough. In a righteous rage I called upon Isis in my hour of need, and her magic stunned the brigands. I wasted no time in tying them up and removing anything that might be used as a weapon from their person and that was when the witch appeared as a beautiful noblewoman at the edge of camp. This place was very out of the way so I was very suspicious of her first but she mentioned more children captured in another camp. I was pretty sure it was a trap but I had to know for sure. I gave the eldest child a weapon and told him to wait for help, and if any of the men started moving to club them over the head with a branch. Then the Lady and I traveled quietly for about 15 minutes and we found another camp. I told the Lady to wait and snuck around the other side. As my stealth skills aren’t the greatest I gave the camp a wide berth to hopefully avoid a repeat of the previous camp and I stumbled into a Boar. Now this isn’t your standard farming boar, this was a Boar with the cunning and survival skills of Cohan the Barbarian. I could tell, it had old scars down its side and its right side tusk was broken and jagged. It snorted its discontent at me and I started backing away from it slowly, like I was taught when faced by aggressive wild animals. This seemed to only anger it more so I turned and ran, I made about 10 steps before I collided with one of the camp guards who had just roused himself to come see what the commotion was. In the torchlight he saw me laying on the ground and a half to three quarter ton Boar bearing down upon him, and he did the only sane thing one could do in this situation. He also turned and fled, which angered the boar even more. It let out a deafening bellow and charged into the camp. I heard screams of pain and anger as it trampled the fire and charged the half-dressed men. I climbed the nearest tree and waited and after about 20 minutes the Boar came trotting by, with a bit of clothing hanging off his Broken Tusk. I waited another 10 minutes and climbed down and went and investigated the camp. Everybody was dead and trampled, the Boar had charged into a camp of 12 full grown men and killed them all. The place looked like a tornado had hit. While I was looking for survivors, I found a long bloody strip of Dark purple cloth, and fine cloth at that. I thought of the Lady who had led me here and I rushed to where she had hidden, but she was gone. I gathered a few more supplies and returned to the children at the other camp. There I found the Brigands had been beaten by the children and were injured and bleeding. I decided that moving the children in the dark was too dangerous. The kids helped make a camp for everyone and I stayed up all night, waiting for the Lady to reappear, but by morning she hadn’t come back to camp.
The kids were hungry so I made breakfast for them all and then headed off for the nearest farm. The brigands should be OK for half a day until I had found the Sheriff of the area. 5 painful hours later we made it back to the farm. The Farmers wife was overjoyed when she saw the returned kids but took me aside quietly and told me that there was another child missing, a foundling from the abbey further down the road. I shouldered my pack and said I would go and look again for the missing child. I walked back to the original camp I had made and rested, having been up for more than 24 strenuous hours.
And I awoke, my heart was going 1000 beats per minute, my hands were sweaty, my lungs sucking in air like I had just run . . . somewhere, it was slipping away, something bad had happened and whatever it was faded like mist in strong morning sunlight from my memory.
I had to go, I had to . . . make a cup of tea and figure out what the hell was going on. I got the fire started and was just starting to boil the water when I heard somebody crying. I put the fire out, grabbed my weapons and my torch and headed for the distant sobbing.
After 20 minutes of hard hiking I realized that even though I had moved a goodly distance, the sobbing was still quiet and off in the distance. I knew from following the Brigands the night before that my torch would be visible for miles, so I just shrugged to my self, said a small benediction to Isis and moved on. Suddenly I came out of the forest into a clearing that covered the top third of a hill, and it was cleared, there was no grass, and what looked to be an old twisted Oak tree at the top, next to a dilapidated hut, whose shutter was slowly creaking backwards and forwards in the wind. Then all around me it went dark and I started to feel afraid, but it was only clouds passing overhead, blocking off the moonlight that was letting me see. Then a thick black icy cold drop of water fell onto my hand, then another fell and hit my shoulder and then my cloak, and then it was pouring with rain, my torch guttered and with a weak hiss went out. I knew this was a bad place, but I had faith that Isis would see me through. I held my morning star in one hand, and my shield in the other and slowly walked up to the cottage. My imagination showed monsters in every darkness, spirits in every flicker of light from the occasional breakthrough of moonlight through the clouds and eventually I made it to the door of the hut, which was closed. Knowing the folly of it but being raised by strong willed parents I got ready to kick the door in, but I knocked first. Upon hearing nothing I kicked the door with all my strength, hoping to shatter it like the heroes did in stories, but to my shame all I did was hurt my foot. Note to self, don’t kick oaken doors. I tried the handle and the door wasn’t locked. Unbeknownst to me however I didn’t feel that faint prick through my gloves and into my cold numbed hands. I walked in, inside the hut was neat and tidy, completely different from the outside, and there were all sorts of . . things, I’m not sure how else to describe them, but things, eyes in jars, sheep fetuses, and that sort of thing. I swore that I would burn this unholy place to the ground, and then I heard a gurgling noise and turned to see the pile of clothes on the bed start moving. The Noble Lady was in the bed, but she was older, much much older. She said something to me in a language I don’t understand and started pointing her finger at me. I thought that this was very bad and tried to hit her with my morning star. My arms felt weak and tremblingly, and my legs quivered like a new born colts, but I smashed down my weapon of cold steel, and it just bounced off her, she gurgled and laughed a little and tried to rouse herself. Thinking that she had put me under some spell I grabbed a faggot from the fire and threw it on the rug, hoping to burn the place down, but all the log did was smolder and went out. I then put the spiked ball part of my morning start into the fire, staggered over to the cupboard and tried to make out the contents. My vision was fading in and out but a disembodied hand in a jar of liquid pointed to the jar below it. I nodded thanks to it without thinking and grabbed the jar below, it was filled with a funny black liquid with some whitish cubes in it. I turn and headed back to the fire and tried to undo the cap, but it was done up too tight. I said a prayer and smashed the bottle onto the head of the morning star that was still in the fire and suddenly there was a pillar of white blue fire shooting up into the air. It set fire to the mantelpiece and the hut wall. The witch behind me started screaming, luckily the morning star had a wooden handle and I was wearing leather gloves. The handle was on fire further up but I managed to pull it out of the fire. The spikes on the ball were read hot, and the topmost one was starting to sag from the heat. I smiled to myself and thought that the witch bitch was going to follow me into oblivion. I staggered over to her, she raised one arm protectively over her head as I swung with all my strength. Then some of the spikes on the ball started to come off like thick dough, as the morning start head was still burning with the blue white fire and my weapon crashed down upon her as I collapsed. I heard her scream has the flames immediately jumped across the bed and set her hair on fire. The numbing cold in my hands and feet had started spreading across my chest and I just lay there grinning like a madman. Indaris 1, Witch Bitch 0. I laid my head down and watched the pretty flames consuming the roof and peace slowly came over me, then I heard it again, that damnable sobbing. I called up reserves of will I didn’t realize I had and slowly stood. I staggered over to the desk as the sound seemed to be coming from inside one of the drawers. I tugged mightily upon the handle of the drawer and my hand slipped, I noticed that my hand was slippery with blood and sweat, even though it felt as If I was freezing to death and my wits came back to me in a rush. I tore the desk drawer open and there was a glistening white samite cloth covering something, I grabbed it and looked around, the hut was ablaze, even though I still felt cold, the inferno at the door would stop me from from exiting there so I kicked open the shutters near me, to my surprise this worked and I jumped out the windows into the rain and staggered down the hill. Here my senses left me, from the poison, lack of sleep or burns I don’t know. All I do know is that I woke to a beautiful woman, dressed in the shiniest of white dresses, with a delicate silver chain necklace was tending to my wounds. It was morning, with the tip of the sun just coming up, warming me with its life giving light. I went to ask the woman who was tending me a question and she gently put her finger over my lips and said, “Thank you from rescuing me from that evil demon worshiper, I know that you are injured but if I could ask a boon of you?”
All I could do was nod, her beauty had me entranced.
“My Sisters and I fought the blackest evil, and for this we were cursed. I would ask you brave priest of the Light to find my other two sisters and release them like you have me, and we shall help you in your fight against darkness.”
Well, what was I supposed to do, say no to the beautiful person who was tending my wounds.
I said nodded and said yes.
She smiled “Then head to New Haven my brave one, and find my next sister, her name is Aurora.”
I nodded and said “Before I go my lady, could I ask your name?”
She smiled even more and replied “Gloaming, but you are injured kind sir and need help. I shall get you that help, stay here and rest.”
I struggled to get up and help but a quiet lassitude spread through me and I slept like a babe.
“ARE YOU ALIVE”
I struggled to wake up and open my eyes, the floating cloud of comfort seemed to keep the aches and pains that I new where just nearby, waiting to make themselves heard
“I SAY MAN, ARE YOU ALIVE”
I groaned and opened my eyes, standing about 10 feet away was a dwarf. About then all the pains and aches I had came crashing back, but they were shadows of what they were the night before.
“IF YOU CAN GROAN LIKE THAT YOU SURE ARE ALIVE”
My head thundered with his talking, I whispered back, “Please be a bit quieter.”
“Had a rough one have you lad, up you get.”
I felt strong hands lift me to my feet, and then to a horse.
“Don’t worry about yer stuff, I’ll take care of it. The names Deklan, Deklan Stonerange, you get on the horse and I’ll fix the rest up for you.”
I mumbled my name back.
He replied sounding slightly amused. “I know who you are laddie, I wouldn’t have been out here otherwise now would I?”
“Where is Gloaming?” I asked as I got comfortable on the horse.
If there was someone else with you they aren’t here anymore, and the rain has obliterated their tracks so for now its only you. Now take your weapon and well go, pity about your shield, but it’s not fit for fighting anymore”.
“I thought my morning star would have been too damaged to use, like my shield.”
Deklan handed over the morning star saying that it was still in tip top condition.
I vaguely remembered it catching on fire and said so.
“That weapon hasn’t been damaged by flame” was the gruff reply as I took it out of his hand.
Wonderingly I held up my morning star and chain into the light. It had changed!
The Rod of the morning star and chain itself was now white and shining, and shaped into the form of a beautiful priestess, where the head would be however was where the chain links started and I followed them down to the spiked head that was my morning star, now it was the head of a beautiful woman, wearing a vicious spiked ivory crown. I whispered to myself, “Gloaming ?”
One of the eyes winked, and the face smiled.
I looked at it for a moment more and then asked the dwarf, “Sir Deklan, you wouldn’t happen to know the way to New Haven would you”
The dwarf sighed and said, “Yes laddie I do, and what’s more I will take you there, one of the kids you saved was one of my god children, so I owe you a debt of blood.”
“If you have children and a family to tend to Sir Dwarf I wouldn’t want them to have to go without their father for so long, so please if you want to repay me make an offering to the church of light, as it was with the grace of Isis that I lived through all this,” I replied. “I’m going and there isn’t going to be any argument about it unless you want to talk to the complaints department.”
I raised an eyebrow at this “complaints department”.
Deklan pats the axe at his side and smiles and replies “I never have had a second complaint”.
I smiled back then and said we should return the horse and go, but Deklan just shook his head and said “The horse is a gift from the families involved, he might not be the fastest horse but he has stamina and a good temperament.”
I smiled to myself and said “Well lets be off then good dwarf, I have business to attend to in New Haven”
And started the horse down the path to the east.