A Sapling Branches Out - Journal of Cia Briarfang
I am Cia Briarfang, druid of Silvanus and Acolyte the Circle of Nature's Watch from the Forest of Wealdath. Recently, I have travelled thousands of miles to the realm of Narfell. I have come here for a couple of reasons, one personal and one official business.
My personal reason for coming to Narfell is that of justice. Ambrose, my best friend and ally of my Circle was murdered. A wizard wearing red robes and summoning demons and fire killed Ambrose before me and took her tree. An elder of my Circle had a vision that the killer would make his way to Narfell. Though I know I will have a hard time bringing the murderer to justice, I must try. I will not be stupid in my search. I cannot do this alone. I will have help.
It will be my second reason to be in Narfell that will hopefully give me allies. My mentor, Elder Moonleaf, has asked me to reach out to the local druids. He hopes to build a bridge to share knowledge. I’ll apprentice to their Circle and bring what I learned back to home. And in the future, one of theirs will visit our Circle.
It is both scary and exciting to leave home. I hope that I will make my mentor proud. I hope that I can see the murdering wizard brought to justice. My journey in Narfell starts today, as I leave this inn.
May Silvanus guide me.
I should write more, but for a while there I just felt too burnt out to. That whole ogre army battle really weighed heavy on my mind for a while. And to follow up with more tragedy, I had traveled with some adventurers into the lizardman caves. Most of the trip went well, until we ran into this large and very powerful lizard warrior. He tore through us with such ferocity and strength that we can only count ourselves lucky to have escaped at all, though not without casualty. Within seconds half our group was killed or bleeding out on the cavern floor, including myself.
It left me feeling even more out of sorts. So after talking with Cecil about the ogre battle, I followed some of his suggestion on how to deal with it. Spent many days in the woods, re-centering myself. Enjoying the little things. Enjoy life, as he says. I do feel better, I’ll admit.
Better enough that when Cecil announced he planned a pilgrimage to that lost shrine of Shaundakul to find the the missing piece of the lance, I immediately offered to help. By Silvanus, what a crazy trip! We headed west from the city into the Giantspire Mountains. This of course meant we needed to fight through giants, and then ogres. And more ogres. And more ogres. Followed by bears and more ogres. Wolves too. And these little aquatic birds called penguins? I think we saw trolls as well.
The were also other adventuring parties trying to get to these ruins apparently. Many of them immediately attacked. I guess they were the greedy type who wanted only to loot the shrine and saw us as competition. Jerks. Dead jerks, I might add. We did make it to the shrine, and met this old man. Said old man turns out to have been an avatar of Shaundakul himself.
I have to pause on that again. While he wasn’t Silvanus, I have met a god.
I met a god.
Shaundakul tasked Cecil with using the lance to find and return a lost soul. We did so, though again we faced much danger. Another group who at least attempted to parlay, and then lots of powerful undead. We finally did react this place where Cecil was able to use the lance like it was a key, and it opened a gateway into… well… I guess the best way to describe it would be the place in between planes. There we found the lost soul, who was in the presence of a she-devil. The fiendish woman was trying to tempt him to follow her. We talked with him and tried to convince him to leave her, which I think he would have done on his own. A few members of our party instead got fed up with the fiend and killed her though.
I respect their conviction on doing so. She probably would have fought us to get that soul anyways. But killing her drew the attention of a great devil. He was bigger than the giants, more vicious looking than that lizardman warrior, and wielded more magic than any priest or mage I know of. We did our best to fight the great devil off, but we barely hurt him. In the end, we had to flee back through the gateway and close it.
Shaundakul has his lost soul back. Cecil has found out more about the lance he carries. And Shaundakul has seen fit to bestow on all of us who helped a gift of wealth and a wondrous little thing. It’s full of magic, and looks to be something I could use to enchant with, providing a means to do the enchantment without it being so taxing to myself.
What to use it for? A better sword, perhaps? Or maybe a better armor? I’ve got some thinking to do.
Things aren't always nice in Peltarch. At times, there can be conflict. The past few days showed me two kinds of conflict. Neither one is pleasant.
It first started a couple of days ago. I had just come to the commons and noticed a commotion near the southern gate. Curious, I walked over to see what the fuss was about. The city guard looked ready to arrest Aniril and another. I quietly asked Carol what was going on, she told me that some people were giving the guards a hard time.
The commotion drew the attention of a lot of onlookers, which got the guard nervous and more showed up. I went back to the commons since I didn't want to get involved. Soon after the guards escorted a couple to jail but that wasn't the end of it. More guards showed up surrounding the commons. All for our “protection.” It made me feel very nervous. Rary didn't help by suddenly casting a series of protective spells like he was getting ready for a fight.
I decided to leave, and spent the rest of the day in the woods. I still find cities make me uncomfortable. The sudden presence of a dozen guards all looking for trouble was too much. I found solitude in the trees to be much nicer. Well, not complete solitude, Shroud met up with me. I turned myself into a fellow panther and we had a nice hunt. We took down a deer for dinner and lounged in the trees. Sometimes I envy Shroud for her simple life.
I envy it even more after what came next after I returned to Peltarch. There were still plenty of guards about, though the mood wasn’t as uncomfortable as it was when I left. It seemed like it would be back to the typical kind of day. And then the boulders fell from the sky. Peltarch became under siege.
The ogres from the western mountains launched a full scale attack on the city. Hoards of ogre warriors backed by magi poured in through the city walls, which were smashed open by their catapults. Those same catapults launched numerous boulders in the sky, which would smash down on those of us defending the city, and set the ground on fire. I have never seen such an attack.
In the beginning, it was chaos. The ogres had caught the city defenders off guard. Perhaps it was because their attention was focused inward with that stupid commotion from the prior day? Adventurers who happened to be in Peltarch banded together to fight back, and I of course lended a hand.
The ogres were as brutal to fight as the giants from our treasure hunt. They are humongous brutes, slamming their oversized weapons into their foes. Yet some of them, the blue-skinned ones, turned to brains instead of brawn. They wielded magic as their weapon, and were quite effective with it. They made especially good use of dispels, stripping us of our protective spells to make us weaker. The flaming boulders never let up, always raining down from above, sometimes with increased ferocity.
The assault lasted for days, only giving us a momentary break to regroup and refresh spells. The ogres had this planned out very well, too well, if you ask me. Between the chaos of the battle, one ogre magi used his invisibility to try sneaking into the city hall to strike at the king! Though I tried to portion out my magic, it felt like I used up most of my blessings long before the fight was over. It felt like there would be no end to the waves upon waves of ogres. Adventurers used up countless potions to keep themselves alive, myself included. There were a few casualties, though I did save a couple lives as well.
In the end, the ogre army was pushed back and defeated, though the city took a heavy toll. The outer walls will need much repair, as well as many buildings that were smashed by the boulders. I fear to hear how many civilians were killed.
I still feel exhausted after a couple of days of resting. I couldn’t sleep well. The sights of fiery boulders raining down and the destruction the ogres left filled my dreams. I hear somebody slam something in the distance and it jolts me, my body tensing for another assault.
Perhaps I should take some time away from the city, and rest up at the glen.
Remember that venture into the sewers to stop a necromancer that I helped Cecil with a while back? I picked up some neat scrolls, spell crystals, and that oak staff (which has proven useful against skeletal undead). One item that Cecil claimed from the necromancer’s hoard was this broken lance. It’s an interesting lance, as I recall. It’s obviously blessed, and you can feel that blessing fill you when you touch it. At the same time, you feel a great emptiness and loss when you touch it, probably having to do with the fact that the lance is broken.
It looks like Cecil wants to see if he can find the missing piece of that lance. I probably would too, if I was him. He had a dwarven priest try some divination magic, and Caling also was helping out. It looks like they found where it could be, on some old corpse in some great ruins far to the west, if I heard correctly. That scrying gave me a bit of a fright though, as the lance seemed to react to something like it was going to fly away before Cecil grabbed it. Suddenly, the three of them vanished before our eyes! I think most of us onlookers feared the worst. I know I did. Cecil has been a good friend and a trustworthy adventuring companion.
Aoth began to prepare her own scrying to see where they disappeared to and look for a way to follow them. It turns out we didn’t need to do anything, however. While we were at the stream so Aoth could scry, we heard a loud crash back where the trio had disappeared from. We ran back to find them returned, apparently having fallen from the sky. From what Cecil told me, it sounds like they had gotten teleported outside of the prime plane. I’m not sure exactly how they found their way back, but when they did they were high in the sky. And fell, of course. The dwarve left a good size crater in the ground.
That dwarf is something else, I’ll say. His name is Juggs, and he has a couple of brothers. I met one of them, Benny. Juggs and Benny are pretty devout to their goddess Mother of Dwarves. The three brothers also know how to make the most delicious, succulent, savory, heavenly sandwiches I have ever had the pleasure of tasting.
I am being completely serious. All other sandwiches will pale in comparison.
Mages can be quite interesting. Some learn their arcane arts through the study of magic, while others inherit it through their bloodline. And so far in either case, they have proven themselves to be an eccentric lot. For example, there’s a gnomish wizard who seems to be quite excitable and quite proud of the fact that he can cast a spell to teleport. And then today I met a sorceress dressed in green who has a penchant for spells that create clouds of various debilitating gases.
I think I made quite an impression on her, Kania. I walked into the commons and smack into grey misty cloud that surrounded her. The mist didn’t bother me though, which surprised her. I explained that it was my druidic faith in Silvanus that kept the mist from affecting me. Kania was amazed at this and began testing all sorts of mist spells and even a Grease spell on me. The only one that bothered me was this blue misty kind that made my head a bit fuzzy.
Kania called herself a “gas-o-mancer” and explained that she often feels compelled to use her magic, like it’s a bodily function. If she goes by without casting her magic, she feels it build up and forces its way out. She and I talked about her magic, and my own magic and the druidic teachings I follow.
Later Kania wanted to venture in the sewers, as there are often cultists who gather in there. I decided to join her. In theory, we should be able to work together well, since I won’t be affected by many of her spells. A dwarf called Gnarl also joined us. He was a stout fighter, especially after Kania and I used our magic to strengthen the three of us.
The undead we found were no trouble for the three of us, as well as these huge clear cubes of gelatinous goo. The crystal-ish oozes were trouble though. They didn’t hurt much, but on the other hand our weapons did very little to them, if anything. It took us a while to defeat the couple we found.
The cultists were numerous, and while I think we defeated them easily, I could see how they could be trouble. A few of their priests did try to dispel our magics, and did manage to strip me of my stoneskin protection. However, Kania’s red mist spell melted them awfully quick. I’m guessing that spell is called, “Cloudkill,” that’s what I think she called it. It was like acidic fog.
While we didn’t find much more than some potions and scrolls, it was fun working with Kania and Gnarl. Both seem like good allies to have.
Today was a very druid day. Hah! I know it’s silly to put it that way, but that’s how it was.
First, Elder Aoth met with me while I was in the commons and we discussed how I was doing since she last saw me, which was when she had given me flying lessons. She seemed happy to hear of my progress.
After Aoth left, Leena then found me, and Imizel also showed up. Leena spent some good time with us finding out how we were doing and what progress we made. She took us to the caves of the lizardmen, to show us how some of their powerful warriors may hold pouches of diamon powder that can be used for the stoneskin spell. It’s a good thing to keep in mind if I have a decent group with me, though it might be easier to just pay for the stuff from that merchant in Peltarch. At points during the trip, Leena took opportune moments to test Imizel and I, and I think we managed to do pretty well
Leena also gave me a new task. My knowledge of various lore is woefully inadequate, so she has tasked me with studying. I’ll admit that it would be good to at least recognize what some various scrolls and trinkets are that I’ve picked up in my adventures.
I also met an interesting elf in Peltarch after my time training was done. Aniril’s body is covered with tattoos that are sylvan words. They spoke about himself, and as he explained it they were a gift from a regal Fae. The tattoos grow as he lives, telling his life story, and after he finally dies the queen will make him into a book for her library.
As I write that, I realize it is quite morbid. I do think that I can see how a fae might see that as a boon though. When his life ends, it is not the end of him. The story of his life will live on in her library. It’s a sort of immortality, in the poetically twisted sort of way that seems to amuse some fae. Still, I hope that it will be a long time before he becomes a book.
The sundial army has arrived. The commons are surrounded by sundials. I guess somebody got fed up with how quickly they kept getting smashed. I wonder if all of these will last.
I went on a treasure hunt today. It was a very dangerous treasure hunt, but we succeeded!
It started when I arrived in the commons (and marveled at the multitude of sundials). Thyr’qara and Kethro were with a couple of gentlemen who claimed to have a treasure map and were gathering some people to obtain it. According to the map, it wasn’t too far away. I decided to offer my help and we set off.
Apparently, the treasure was in a mountainous area filled with giants and manticores. I have not had much experience dealing with either before. Giants are understandably strong, they are huge and all muscle! Tough too, it takes a lot to chop them down. Manticores weren’t as tough to kill, but they can throw their quills with a snap of their tails. I think only a few of us did. The trip did not start off well, we were a disorganized mess. One of the dwarves even decided to quit and left us, and I can’t say I blame him.
It was at that point I decided to try to be authoritative and try to lead the group. I didn’t do much more than try telling people to stay together, stopping the group when it seemed we were getting too spread out so we could gather up again. We needed to follow the map and stay out of the valley where most of the giants were.
In the end, we were victorious and made out with a good amount of gold and some very nice items. For once, I had the first pick, and I chose a nice shield that I think will protect better than the one Leena lent me. I’ll have to give back the old shield. I also picked up some heavy darts that hit harder than normal ones, and a dagger that looked like it could really cut deep if you caught a foe off guard.
Keerla was interested in buying the dagger from me, but I couldn’t think of how much it would cost. So I gave it to her and told her to keep me in mind if she finds something druidy. A little while later while I was having a snack in the commons, she looped a belt around my neck. It’s not specifically druidy, but it certainly is a nice belt I can use. When I wear it I can feel a protective field around me that can prevent heavy blows from breaking bones. I must admit, I didn’t expect such a nice gift from our little exchange.
Today was a chilly and foggy day for some reason. Not that I mind, it’s nice to see the weather do something other than rain. There was a bonfire where the sundial should be in the commons. Nice for keeping warm, but that poor sundial! It seems like they can’t last longer than a month.
A few of the orphans came out to the commons. Their caretaker, Gringa, allowed them time outside as long as Raryldor was there, and fortunately he was. Seeing the orphans of course made me think of my childhood and how I myself am an orphan. So I decided to spend some time with them.
There was a girl named Dafnee and two boys, Rob and Dalen. Dafnee seemed to be the leader of the trio. Whenever Rob or Dalen would get a bit rambunctious or start arguing, Dafnee would scold them on how they should be nice.
Dafnee loved my hair, and she tried guessing what kind of person I am. First, she thought I was a paladin, which was not a guess I expected. She then thought I was a lizard, which turned out she meant a wizard, because I can cast magic. Another guess was a ballerina. Dafnee seemed to settle on me being a princess, because I have pretty hair.
It was nice spending some time with them. I think I will try to volunteer some time there.
After the kids left for supper and bed, I was with Carol and Keerla. I ended up talking about my childhood and life before coming to Narfell. I realized as I was talking about Ambrose’s death, that thinking about it still makes me feel hurt inside. While my parents’ deaths are sad as well, I don’t feel my sorrow for them threaten to burst out. Maybe it’s because it’s been so long? I had plenty of time to come to terms with their deaths. I had Elder Moonleaf and his circle to care for me. And I had Ambrose who looked after me and played with me and treated me like a sister.
Why did he do it? Why did he take her from me?
I ended up following a band of adventurers through the swamps and into the lizardmen’s caves the other day. I knew some of the people already, such as Thau’lira and Roslyn. A warrior woman led us, unfortunately I don’t believe I caught her name. She was very level-headed and practical, qualities I like seeing in people who lead others. The trip was fairly smooth and efficient, I think it helped that everybody knew what they should be doing.
After the trip and back in Peltarch, I met a woman new to the city named Starla. She seemed to be nervous and out of place, much like I felt when I first arrived. Thau and I talked to her for a bit and even gave her some advice on an issue she seems to be having with magic. From the sounds of it, Starla is likely a sorceress. I have to admit that I would probably be nervous of my magic if I was in her shoes. Unlike wizards who learn magic from lots of studying or priests and druids who beseech the gods for blessings, sorcery comes within the person’s bloodline. It’s like magic decided that you won a lottery. That can be a sudden thing to adjust to. Hopefully, Starla will find somebody who could give her some better advice on how to control it.
Today was a bit interesting, and thankfully without any undead. Thank Silvanus for that! Seriously, I’m a bit tired of undead.
I met Kethro, an elven monk today who was new to the region. He seems like a nice fellow. While we were talking, Leena decided to sneak up behind me and give me a good fright. Maybe that’s how she loses apprentices? She scares them to death?
We explored the swamps to the east of Peltarch where kobolds dwell. Also lizardmen as I found out later in the trip. Leena decided to have fun with the trip and turned into a big badger of furry death. During our exploration, I also decided to try out a spell that I know Leena has been fond of. And I can honestly see why she likes it. Just point at a kobold and ZAP! Lightning bolt from the sky fries him. There’s another kobold! ZAP! Another? ZAP! ZAP! ZAP!
Still gotta be careful if a lot of foes gang up, though.
Back in town, Leena got concerned about one of her friends. I forget his name, but he’s a really big guy like Cecil and wears scary red armor. Something’s happening to him that… well, I won’t say for now in case I lose this diary and somebody reads it and decides to do something drastic. He wanted to keep quiet about it, and Leena seems to think favorably of him, so I’ll keep quiet about it too.
We also ended up chasing a leprechaun. Mostly because of curiosity I think, but also Leena was worried that he’d end up in trouble in the city. Unfortunately, we kind of scared the little guy. I hope he doesn’t hold a grudge about it.
What is it with this land that causes there to be so much undead? Yes, again I found myself facing undead. Though this time it wasn’t quite as nasty of an adventure.
When I exited the tavern this morning, Cecil immediately called me over explaining that Aramis had reported that there was some necromantic trouble going on in the “old cat caves.” So again, I answer the call to help along with several others.
These caves were located in a forest which used to be a gypsy camp. It’s a beautiful place, with lots of trees. I find myself wishing I saw it when the gypsies used to be there. I certainly would not mind living there! But of course, that’s because I lived in a forest for several years already.
We found a spirit deep in those caves (which, yes, had many large cats). The spirit was pained, full of sorrow. He seemed to be locked in torment from his death. He kept asking for people to know him, to recognize him. But also his undead state would cause him to lash out in hunger for life. Some of the others who lived in the city far longer than I have recognized the spirit as a bard from the college. As they tried to placate the spirit, we occasionally had to deal with some fiery skeletons that would rise up from the circle of bones surrounding the body of the spirit bard.
Eventually, the spirit seemed to be eased. People recognized the bard, and his works. I guess that was what kept him from passing on to the afterlife. I can understand that. Nobody wants to be forgotten, and I imagine a bard would fear that even more.
While today didn’t have the element of danger my last couple of adventures had, I am quite happy to have helped this spirit find peace and rest.
A few weeks ago people have joked about Leena and how her apprentices keep disappearing. Often the jokes suggest she perhaps sacrifices them or eats them. Even Leena has joked that she can’t seem to keep apprentices. The joking is light-hearted and I do find myself laughing along.
But after today, I do wonder if there is a curse for being Leena’s apprentice. This land of Narfell holds many dangers and secrets. It is a land of trouble and I find that trouble easily finds me.
Cecil was wanting to go “adventure.” As a warrior, he does need to keep his skills sharp. After a quick discussion, we all decided to take up his offer to venture into a place called the “Keep of the Fallen.” I don’t think you need to be a bard to realize that such a name means there is going to be a lot of nasty undead.
Oh, the Keep of the Fallen did not fail to live up to its name.
This tower is located in the midst of an underground city called Oscura. This was my first time venturing into this city, and I must say I do prefer Peltarch. Perhaps it is because the place is dark due to being underground, but the city feels sinister. It doesn’t help that I saw slave pens near the docks.
Shortly after we entered the Keep, we heard a loud click behind us. Nobody seemed too worried, but my instincts knew better. I checked the door and found it was locked. While some found this alarming, we all figured we best try to make our way up the tower and hope we found a key or some way to open the exit.
By Silvanus, did we fight lots of undead. Lots of powerful undead. Skeletal warriors, spectres, wights, giant stitched together zombies… and many kinds of undead that I do not know the name of. It kept getting worse as we ascended the many floors of the tower. It was very taxing, and at times we nearly found ourselves on the brink of defeat. In one battle near the top of the tower, I found myself mentally overwhelmed by the horrors we faced, and all I could do was cower in fear. Yet somehow, I survived. I suspect somebody kept me from getting killed in my delirium.
Finally, at the top of the tower, we found a girl. Yes, you read that right, a girl.
Basically, she was like a manifestation of the tower. Like the tower was alive, and the girl represented it’s mind, and that it was lonely. It wanted to play, and saw us as potential playmates. If it wasn’t for the fact that it’s method of playing involved summoning undead to fight, I think I would have been happy to play.
The girl eventually let us out after we defeated the powerful mummy it set on us. We even got some gold and trinkets for our trouble.
As I noted earlier, I wonder about there being a curse on Leena’s apprentices. I’ve already had several situations where I almost died. Maybe prior apprentices all got themselves killed, or they could not handle the dangers and left the land?
There’s a fellow I met today who I can only assume is moon-touched. Why else would somebody use armor and weapons that are that rusted. The rust had it’s own rust!
Honestly, Leandro isn’t a bad fellow. He’s just a little too enthusiastic. He wants to be a “professional adventurer,” but completely lacks the discipline. And he wears the most rusted armor I have ever seen, and uses a weapon that is so rusted the rust flakes off when he hits with it.
He wanted an adventure, and a bunch of us went with him. Sadly, we didn’t have any good leadership. And Leandro was very impatient when we were trying to set up an ambush. Which failed, of course. The whole trip was nearly a disaster. And when we were trying to leave, Leandro instead took a few others and went off into other parts of the caverns.
I pray Silvanus gives me lots of patience if I ever end up adventuring with him again.
I couldn’t sleep well last night. I decided instead of fighting to get back to sleep in the pre-dawn hours that I would go take a walk. I found myself outside the city’s western wall, and heard a noise by the spot I had seen that red-robed wizard appear the other tenday. I took a peek, fearing the worst, but was pleasantly surprised instead. There was a woman who looked as if she was practicing a performance, and the noise I heard was her trying out some magic to see if it would enhance her show.
Her name is Carol, and we ended up having a lovely chat, and I got to see some of her performance. And she got to see some of my skill at handling animals as some nearby feral cats kept interrupting. I would like to talk to Leena about them sometime. Maybe see if we could relocate the cats? They must be suffering where they are currently living, as their desperation for food has driven them so close to the city walls.
Ferocious felines aside, it was nice to make another new friend.
Today, I witnessed the aftermath of an attack on orphaned children. Children! I cannot fathom how someone can be so heartless as to attack defenseless children. None of the children appeared to be harmed, but their caretaker was badly poisoned. Fortunately, Leena and Rary were able to save her life.
It pained me to see this especially because I’m an orphan, I think. All this was done as ‘revenge’ because Leena and some of her friends have been trying to stop a criminal gang. Utterly disgusting. I’m not sure if I’m more disgusted at this display of heartlessness or by Ambrose’s murder.
Leena asked me to join her in going after the person responsible. I would have liked to go, but I felt to shaken up. All I could think about was the orphans and Ambrose. I would have been a liability if I could not focus. I hope Leena’s not disappointed in my decision to stay.
I was able to clear my head and set aside those dark thoughts for a while. Keerla asked for some advice about gifts for druids. The problem though, is that we are a varied lot. What I like is different than what Bloodclaw would like, for example. A true gift is something that reflects on how special a person is to you. I tried to tell her so, but I don’t think she understood me. I suppose I’ll try to think of some better advice.
Oak Father, give me strength. Ambrose’s murderer may have finally arrived.
The day started off well. I found elders Leena and Aoth, and asked them both for some help and advice on learning some new animal shapes. We were joined by a halfling druid named Wick, who follows Chauntea, the Great Mother. We started my lesson with a cow.
Honestly, not the form I was hoping to learn first, but at least they are mostly docile creatures to work with. The form was lumbersome and bulky. Probably good for hiding in a village, but not a form I prefer to take.
We then went into the woods to find some birds and flying lessons from Aoth. Our lesson was interrupted by some nasty spirits in the old town ruins. They were being created by something we couldn’t see but Leena did and attempted to destroy. Aoth, Wick, and I fought off the spirits coming from the ground. There was one nasty shade that was brutal. It almost killed Wick. I almost died as well, though I didn’t realise it. The shade drained much of my spirit.
After banishing the evil spirits, we resumed my lesson of being an avian. Flying took some getting used to. Having wings for arms felt odd. I fell a lot at first. Finally, I got the hang of it. I’ll need to practice more.
Leena and I headed back to the city of Peltarch. Along the way I asked about her parents. She mentioned them briefly when she gave me the armor and scimitar I now use. I expected both to be druids, but only her father is. She said her mother is a sorceress. And a werecat? That is intriguing, I bet. She also mentioned something about her mother that I don’t think I quite understand. Her mother was a part of somebody else, I think?
I also talked about my parents. It makes me a little sad, I can only say so much about them. My dad was one who believed in working hard. I remember loving my mother’s cooking. I lost them when I was seven summers old. An orc warband attacked, and Dad told me to run into the woods. I ran in fright until I couldn’t run anymore, finding myself at a great oak tree. As I sobbed, this beautiful woman made of wood stepped out and took pity on me. That was how I first met Ambrose, and later met the druids who took me in.
Ambrose… who was killed by that red-robed wizard.
I feel scared. Why do I feel scared? I came here to see justice done, I should be glad that Riverdream’s vision was correct. Yet, I am hoping it was just my imagination or a coincidence.
While talking to Leena in the city, there was a flash of fiery magic and a wizard wearing a red robe appeared and walked into the city. I couldn’t see his face, and yet seeing him filled me with dread. Leena decided we should follow, though I was hesitant about it. We lost the wizard in the crowded streets of the city, but later we saw smoke in the air to the south, in the direction of the Heart tree that Aoth showed me soon after she first met me.
We ran to the grove, and found many fire elementals and mephits burning the woods around the grove. We subdued the fire creatures and made sure the grove was okay. Thankfully, it is heavily warded and kept the elementals out.
A wizard with red robes. Fire creatures attacking the grove. I want this to be a coincidence, yet in my heart, I think I know it. He is here.
I need to prepare.
After reflecting on the events in the cavern, I feel that I’ve learned a good lesson. I need to think more tactically with my spells, and not be afraid to use them sooner, especially protective spells. While I cannot say definitely if it would have kept me from being captured, I would have stood a better chance.
Today, I put that learning into action. It served me well, I think.
Cecil is a warrior (a very tall and large one) in the employ of the city, as I understand. There were reports of a necromancer in the city sewers, and he took it upon himself to gather a group to go deal with the heretic. Since the act of creating undead is something unnatural and against the teachings of the Oak Father, I answered the call to arms.
We had a good sizable group with a variety of talents, I think. A spry halfling by the name of Margot, a dwarven priest named Thorin, a priest ( or paladin, so somebody said) of the Great Mother named Roy, an irreverent fellow named Rathuill, and that Scott fellow from the other day.
The sewers stunk. It is yet another thing that baffles me about cities. Cities are so large that they need a series of man made tunnels to funnel off waste. There was no need of such a thing in a small village nor in the forest. And of course, they hid wasted minds as well. There were some cultists among the undead we found. Disgusting people for a disgusting place.
From the sewers, we entered a series of tunnels that were more carved in the ground rather than built with stone blocks. These were ancient burial chambers, as I understand it from the various stones proclaiming who was buried where. It makes sense that a necromancer would desire such a place. I called on my blessings to protect me with bark and stone, and gave a couple other barkskins and strength blessings as well. The blessings proved useful against the various undead monstrosities that assaulted us. I also made use of ability to adopt the form of a bear at points, all the better to maul the foul undead when my blade could not.
At various points, the illusion of the necromancer would appear. He was watching us, and taunting us. He seemed to take some interest in Roy and I, claiming that our parts would be useful in creating his “perfection.” We had no plans to allow him to do so as we delved deeper to his lair. He summoned more powerful undead as we fought on, including mummies. The necromancer also tried some tricks to stop us, including locking doors on us and releasing several terrifying undead at us.
Still, we were undeterred and finally found the villain. It was a long fight to defeat him, as he had many protective spells himself. Roy managed to dispel one of the them that kept us from damaging him, but still, the necromancer was tough to kill. But we prevailed (obviously, as I wouldn’t be writing here if we failed, right?).
In the room was a large crystal ball, which I decided to examine. This was how he was watching us, I could see every room and tunnel of the barrows. One room caught my eye, it contained several headless servants and a few ghouls. There was a table with a lifeless corpse on it, missing some bits. I suspect that is what the necromancer wanted Roy and I for.
Since we could easily keep watch with the crystal ball, we all rested and then proceeded to the room. It was another nasty fight, I didn’t notice there were also vampires in the room, they must have been in the coffins. One of the undead was also a fearsome thing that looked tainted with fiendish body parts. Cecil almost fell in the battle, but again we were victorious.
I came away from this adventure with a large stash of spell crystals. Apparently, you can cast a spell on them and they will absorb the magic that you can then release at a later time. Quite handy, I plan to put some spells I don’t often prepare in them for emergency use. I also got a beautiful new cloak and an enchanted oak staff. It’s not a very impressive staff, but will help if I need to bash something rather than cut with my scimitar.
Reflecting back on today, I think I’m doing well. I’m improving myself, and I hope I am making some good friends. I look forward to tomorrow.
Yesterday was a day that let me truly glimpse at why the land of Narfell is considered to be so dangerous. I’m sure Bloodclaw would be insulting me for what happened underground. Perhaps he’d be more accepting of how I did in that fire portal later in the evening?
Why am I wondering what he’d think? He’s not here to approve or disapprove of me, yet I really just want to prove him wrong.
While sitting in the commons area of Peltarch, a few adventurers were discussing where they would like to head out. This land is full of monsters and dangers which often need to be kept in check. I overheard them mention a creature I never heard of before, “kuo-toa”. I curiously inquired what they were, and was told that they are something like men, but with fish features. I was then invited to join them so I could see these strange things. Since the group seemed to be competent and I was truly curious, I followed them out.
Vick seems to be a highly skilled scout, and often led by guiding us through. Theaon is a powerful priest of Yondalla and apparently a general of an army here (The Legion?). I owe him my life, as I’ll explain later. Caling is a paladin of Sune, though I must admit she is nothing like what I would expect a paladin to be. Perhaps that is because Sune is the goddess of beauty and love instead of law or justice? Fabian, a skilled warrior, was the last member of the group.
They led me into a cavern south of Peltarch, and soon after descending into the caves below we encountered the kuo-toa. They are as every bit bizarre looking as I imagined. They were like giant fish who grew arms and legs. At first, the ones we found were not much of a threat, but as we explored deeper we found them to be more skilled. Our group was well organized, however, and easily repelled the kuo-toa.
We reached a point in the caverns that more dangerous creatures well. “The underdark” as Vick called it. Where beings such as “umberhulks” and “skin dancers” dwelled. We decided to take a chance at seeing an umberhulk, and so prepared ourselves and moved on. We did find one fairly swiftly. It looked like a bug crossed with a giant. Big brutish arms, body covered in carapace, large pinchers on it’s beetle like head. The group easily brought the beast down.
And this is where things went bad. Vick and Theaon heard noises of fighting ahead of us. We decided to investigate and slowly moved forward… where these deranged looking dwarves ambushed us. They easily overwhelmed us and I was swiftly cut down, unconsciousness claiming me.
I should have died. I expected to be dead when I woke. Instead, the evil dwarves surrounded me, gleeful at capturing me. I overheard one of them talk of sacrificing me to their god. Logan was it? Whoever their god was, I did not enjoy the thought of being a sacrifice. One of the dwarves tried to cast a spell to dominate my mind, but I was able to shrug it off. Still, that did little to improve my situation, being outnumbered and badly hurt. Fortunately, another umberhulk charged in, distracting the dwarves. Unfortunately, the hulk smacked me as I tried to drink an invisibility potion, knocking me out again.
This time however, a brilliant yet comforting light surrounded me, healing my wounds. I heard Theaon shout at me to run. I wasn’t about to argue and ran, hiding when I found Caling. Theaon and Vick took care of the rest of the dwarves I think, and the hulk. The dwarves apparently were traders, they had a lot of valuables on them which we claimed. I gave my thanks to them for rescuing me (and repeated my thanks a few more times when on the surface, especially to Theaon).
Our trip back was met with more kuo-toa resistance, including powerful mages. It seemed the fish people prepared a sizable ambush in our path that Vick spied from the shadows as he scouted. While we tried to figure out a plan to handle this ambush, it seemed Tymora decided to favor us with some luck. A fellow named Scott walked through the entrance, apparently having taken care of all the kuo-toa mages and priestesses that had been waiting for us.
We returned to the surface and the city, glad to be alive and well. Richer, too, thanks to those evil dwarves, “duergar” I think I the others called them? I sat down by a tree in the commons to rest a while.
As I thought about heading to the inn for some sleep, a strange voice yelled out. This large fire elemental ran around the commons screaming with a dwarf chasing it. The dwarf claimed the elemental came out of the forge in the crafting hall. A group of us went to investigate, and found the hall swarming with fire elementals. I could hurt the smaller ones, but the larger elementals shrugged off my attacks. Finally, they were defeated and an elf wearing silver and symbols of the elven god Corellon stabilized the portal that apparently had formed in the forge. I believe others called him Rary? Rarylder?
He could not close the portal, however, something on the other side was keeping it open. We needed to go inside to solve this problem. One of the crafting hall’s masters gave us all several potions to protect us from fire. I am glad he did so, I know I used all of them. In hindsight, I’m sure I should have stayed. I hadn’t gotten to commune with Silvanus after my trek through the caverns and had few spells left. However, I desired to help, and so I entered the portal with everybody else.
Even with the potion’s protections, where we were was quite a hostile environment. Heat, flame, and smoke was everywhere. It was hard to see. It was also hard to move, though I don’t think it was the fire that caused that. The portal closed and a wizard taunted us behind some barrier of light. He proclaimed that we would burn, and our realm would follow. Rary tried to shoot the wizard, but the barrier stopped the arrows.
The wizard kept summoning fire elementals and creatures at us while we slowly searched about. I could fight the smaller ones, but the larger and found these strange glowing devices. Caling activated one and it started emitting a blue light. The wizard sneered at us and kept chanting his spells as we stumbled about trying to keep from getting burned, fighting off attacks, and activating more of those devices. Finally, all were active and the area filled with a soothing blue light, pushing away the heat.
The wizard was still protected by the barrier of red light, however. It took more searching, but Vick found a stone with runes that seemed like it would affect that barrier. But there was another that we had to find. Caling found it, and both Vick and Caling tried to deactivate the barrier.
And tried, and tried. Seems it needed to be done at the same time. And it was hard for them to concentrate when fire beasts kept attacking. Caling seemed to struggle the most. I was trying to keep the beasts away from her. Still, she kept messing up. I almost shoved her aside to give it a try myself.
She and Vick managed to do it though, and the barrier came down. The wizard had some powerful magics protecting him still. It was a long, long fight to eventually defeat the wizard. All the while we still had to fight off fire beasts that would appear. Still, we managed to win, and then find a way to reactivate the portal so we could make it home before the place we were in crumpled away.
I still wish I had my spells with me to help in that fight, I felt like I couldn’t do much. I know what little I did was useful though. And for my trouble I earned a few neat trinkets. A healing potion and an elemental protection potion. There’s also a potion which has a label that states it will create a fiery duplicate of myself. That… that is fascinating. I also picked up a couple of scrolls, one has a powerful fire storm spell and the other… I’m not sure of. The writing twists and turns, like it’s ever changing. I think I will show it to Leena and see what she thinks about it.
I think I will take another bath now that I’m up. I already bathed once before going to bed last night and I still feel soot on me. After that, well, let’s see what the day brings. Hopefully, no dark dwarves or fire. I had my fill of those.
I am back in the city. I considered seeing about taking up residence in Norwick in the south, since it is closer to the druid grove. However, I decided I shall continue staying in the city for now.
Firstly, I feel it would be good if I try to at least acclimate myself to this place. As a druid, I’m sure I’ll do most of my work in out in the woods or on the plains or in the mountains. However, it will be inevitable that I must deal with people, and that means that there will be times I need to be in the city. Therefore, it would be good if I can at least be comfortable here.
Secondly, the city of Peltarch is a place visited by most people in this region. It would make sense then that Ambrose’s murderer will show up here if Riverdream is correct that he will come to Narfell.
Thirdly, I need allies. I should not look only to the Circle of Quercatha Terr for them. It is certain that I won’t be able to fight the murderer on my own. He may likely have his own allies. Since there are many people here, it is a naturally an excellent location to make friends.
I’ve met some potential allies already. Obviously, there is Ny. And Keerla. She’s a skilled hunter, however she seems to be pretty young by elf standards. There is also Hedia, she’s a priestess of Sharess. I do have the impression that she is strong in her faith.
I should try to meet more people. Perhaps another wizard that could help counter my foe? Warriors would be good too. Maybe I should see who Leena and Aoth trust. To be honest, thinking about this bothers me. As much as I want to see that man brought to justice, no amount of justice will bring Ambrose back.
A drink and snack, then bed. And just worry about making friends first, justice later.
I met with Leena, Imizel, and Korra today. At first, I had to wonder if I interrupted them at a bad moment, as it it seemed like Leena and Imizel had a disagreement. Such occurrences are inevitable when you bring people together of mixed faiths and backgrounds. I rarely got along with Bloodclaw in my own Circle, for example. In my defense, he’d be the one that started our bickering. Usually.
I was pleased to see Imizel came to a mutual agreement with Leena, if only it’s that they disagree on whatever matter that was the issue. I think it would not sit well with me if the members of this Circle of Quercatha Terr could not have disagreements and still respect each other.
I spent much of the day with Leena and Imizel. First, Leena took us to her home and then to the Circle’s grove and allowed me to see a great menhir that was blessed by one of their own elders to access the ley lines. Though my own Circle has no such menhir, Elder Moonleaf did once talk to me about the ley lines. Leena also lent me some items to help me out in these lands, including an armor that was blessed by a faithful of Silvanus. When Leena asked if I would like to accept an apprenticeship with her Circle, I readily accepted and chose to have Leena as my mentor. I could have chosen Aoth as well, and I’m sure I could do no wrong with either elder as a mentor. Truthfully, I expect to learn from both.
Leena and I traveled north again, meeting up with Korra who gave a warning that some vicious gnolls were blocking a bridge. The three of us confronted the beasts who demanded tolls. Of course it ended in a fight, and Ny also joined in as he happened to be nearby as well. It was a battle that we easily won. I’ll be honest that it was probably Leena’s own spells that kept the fight in our favor. I find that impressive because before we approached the gnolls, she commented she did not have all her blessings prepared. If she considered that performance sub-par, she must be quite strong in Mielikki’s eyes indeed.
I have sent word back to Elder Moonleaf to let him know that I have arrived safely and already had good fortune with finding and joining the druids here. While I doubt he would do so, I wish he rubs it in Bloodclaw’s face.