|Table of Contents|
|Day 6 out of Fallcrest|
|Day 7 out of Fallcrest|
|Day 9 out of Fallcrest|
|Day 10 out of Fallcrest|
|Day 11 out of Fallcrest|
|Day 12 out of Fallcrest|
|Day 13 out of Fallcrest|
|Day 14 out of Fallcrest|
I am stealing away a few moments to write about the events that have transpired since I last wrote. You will undoubtedly note the missing pages; trust that while pages are missing, content is not. I fell victim to the spirits last evening and while I do not remember much of what happened, the journal entry I had scribed provided little illumination.
Prior to the debauchery, however, my recollection is clear. Upon arriving in Meadowbrook, we were confronted by some guardsmen. Jebat dared not let William out of his sight, so Jessamine and I accompanied him and the guards on the way to the mayor’s manor. The others—- Grimlor, Bjorn, and Allister—- went off to investigate Meadowbrook on their own. We came upon some bandits harrying a trader and fought them off. Apparently, Bjorn and Allister happened upon a similar scene. It seems that a tribe of bugbears and hobgoblins have also been recruited by the Banites to keep the townsfolk in line. In addition, we learned that the mayor C. Richard Runn has been captured by the Banites himself.
Obviously, an alteration to our plan was in order. After regrouping and conferring with what is left of the town’s leaders—- Kenneth, a priest of Pelor and Vanessa, a captain of the guard—- we believe we are up to speed with the situation in Meadowbrook.
- The mayor had apparently been trying to appropriate the mine for himself through the hiring of this mercenary splinter group of Banites, who may or may not be operating outside of the chain of command of the organization.
- The Banites have since captured the mayor in a coup and attained control of the mine themselves. Their number is estimated at roughly one hundred strong.
- They are using peasant labor to mine the gold and have somehow convinced or coerced the presiding wizard of the town, Magesto, to turn a blind eye.
- Several monstrous humanoid tribes have been employed by the Banites in order to maintain control over the area, including the Rat Fang Gang.
- Kenneth and Vanessa, in a stereotypical fashion, disagree on how to proceed. The warrior demands action; the cleric, patience.
We all agreed that one hundred foot soldiers of Bane was too tall an order for our small band, even with the aid of the Meadowbrook partisans. After acquiring some provisions (including some curious items of a seemingly magical nature from a peddler known only as Ringo the Gringo who seems to deal in some form of reputational currency), we retired to the Dew Dropp Inn to formulate a plan of action. Cue the debauchery.
Before passing out, we settled on routing the remaining goblinkin in the area so as to ease the passage of potential reinforcements and establish our presence in the area. Here is where things get tricky…
Our companion, Jessamine, has until this point neglected to inform us that he spent several years imprisoned or possibly in the employ of the goblins in this area. I do not think it a leap to conclude that all of us had our doubts about the young man. Still, this rattles me to my very core! To think that we could easily have had an agent of the enemy embedded among us for the past few crucial days! When my mind wanders to these thoughts, I need only remember that the young man could easily have slipped a dagger into each and every one of our spines as we slept, eliminating the threat we pose immediately. No, he is not truly an agent of the enemy. Or of the Banites at the very least.
As I turn over (and over and over) this new information in my head, the more I come to sympathize with the young man. We are not so different. He was forced into servitude at a young age much as I. Neither he nor I had much recourse. As I think about burning Nimozaran’s tower to the ground, I realize what he must feel about razing the goblins’ lair. It is truly regrettable that we must engage in these violent acts at all, but I have come to realize that in some situations these actions serve the greater good. Still, it will be hard on the young man. Jebat’s pious preaching will not help matters either. There is no hope convincing Jessamine that what he has done is right or necessary. This is a wound that will heal only with time. But make no mistake- a wound as grievous as this will leave a scar on this young man’s psyche. He will not be the same…
In our latest battle, Hang Jebat suffered a bite from an infected rat (Rattus dirus). The diagnosis strongly suggests filth fever. He soliders on, but we must be careful. Plagues such as this can have dire consequences indeed. When we return to Meadowbrook, we must allow him ample rest. A full day. Perhaps two. Hard to say.
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Page mostly torn out. The scrap left bears some fragments of what appear to be unintelligible scrawling and crudely drawn stick figures. On the facing page there is an illustration clearly traced out in an uneven hand. It details in arcane shorthand the somatic portion of a spell. Underneath the word “BOOM!” (also in an uneven hand) is crossed out and underneath is written “Projectile Conflagration?”
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No rest for the weary. After last night’s escape, we awoke this morning to find ourselves set upon by what I can only assume was the remnants of the Rat Fang tribe. About a score; archers, footmen, even arcanists. Seven Hells, there was even a Bugbear in tow (Goblinae Gigantii). My memory of the proceedings is hazy at best. I was struck dire by the blade of a foot soldier, losing consciousness for what my comrades assure me was only seconds…
I shall be blunt. What use is a journal but for laying one’s soul bare? The whole affair was… troubling. The event makes me question this path I have chosen for myself. Is freedom truly worth risking life and limb? Until this point, I had not truly considered it a possibility, although seeing hale Jebat struck down half a dozen times should perhaps have done more towards driving home the reality of the situation. Was Nimozaran truly so bad? Which is a greater waste of one’s gifts: toiling in obscurity and destitution for decades or seeking to earn fame and fortune and the short lifespan that often accompanies such rewards? For now, the point is moot: I must continue on for I dare not venture back to my master alone. I must put it out of my head. And endeavor not to be so easy a target for those who would try to take my life.
Marilyn continues her advances with little to no discretion. Perhaps in light of recent events I should be “grasping the bull by the horns” and tasting the fruits of the opposite sex before it’s too late. Still… I am not in the right frame of mind to explore that avenue. We shall put a pin in that.
Now, the business at hand. Let us review what we know:
- The Brigade of Bane or a splinter faction thereof has seized control of the apparatus in Meadowbrook, i.e. the mayor Cornelius Richard Runn and the wizard Magnificient Magesto.
- Ostensibly, the goal is the recently discovered gold mine and the wealth and power that accompanies its ownership.
- The name Warduke is bandied about as a leader of the marauders, although the exact chain of command remains opaque to us.
- The Rat Fang Gang of goblins has been hired to blockade Meadowbrook from outside visitors, shedding light on the events of these few days past.
We will press on to Meadowbrook in the morning, arrange an audience with the mayor, and hopefully develop a strategy for how to proceed from there.
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[Day 11 out of Fallcrest]
We started off towards the Rat Fang Lair this morning, our new companions in tow. The dwarf Bjorn Hamcrusher seems to be amongst the devoted of Moradin; another priest to keep Grimlor Godefroy company. Jessamine is a young halfling who claims to have been traveling to Meadowbrook to join some family there. He had been traveling with a caravan, but it was attacked and the members held captive by goblins. To his knowledge, he is the only survivor after escaping their captivity. By all rights, he should not be traveling with us into the heart of the lions’ den. Not only does it put him at risk, but he could prove a liability to us. However, he would fare much worse on his own and so he remains at our side…
Along the route we were attacked again by wolves. Perhaps the goblins are keeping them hungry somehow so that they will unwittingly assist in making the roads more dangerous for travelers. But the wolves were of secondary import. We were also ambushed by a pair of ogres. Huge, monstrous fellows, these! The sketches do not do them justice. We were able to fell one; the
other fled after surrendering5. From the ogres we recovered an amulet with the letters “M.B.F.” on the back. Seems magical in nature, but it bears further study.
Another half day’s journey brought us to the Rat Fang Lair. As we approached, formulating a strategy for our infiltration, we were discovered by snipers! Our mission of paramount importance, without thinking I conjured a spell that devastated their ranks—- it disturbs me how easily these destructive spells have started to flow forth. The element of surprise had been wrested from us. We entered the cave and heard the screams of a young woman. Grimlor Godefroy and I, disturbed by the presence of this additional hostage, followed the screams down a passage. We discovered that a beautiful young woman was being held by a Hill Giant at least twice our size. I tried to lull the Giant to sleep with a charm as Grimlor Godefroy courageously (or foolishly) advanced. The Giant battered my comrade with a swift smash of his club! Thinking quickly, I ran forward to aid my fallen friend. I used one of the potions we had received from Ole Mann to revive him. I turned to the Giant and, with the aid of a charm, attempted to convince him that we came to help him! To make this all the more believable, I conjured an illusion of another beautiful girl and called his attention to her as I ran to aid his captive. The next few minutes were a blur as I freed the maiden and ran with her to safety.
With her arms wrapped around me, I don’t know how I maintained the presence of mind to orchestrate our escape. Since our first encounter, I have allowed myself ample opportunity to be distracted by her beauty; she is fairer than any I had known in Fallcrest. Marilyn Belle Farmurdotter6. She fancies me her hero and I have not had the courage to disabuse her of that notion. I did no more than any of my companions would have done. Still, it feels… pleasant to be her “hero”. At some point, I will find the modesty and courage to protest. For now, I revel in her attentions and flirtations. Still, it is like giving keys to the kingdom over to an infant. My normal approach is useless here.
Anyway, as we retreated from the cave (thankfully my comrades were all still alive), it began to tremble and quake. A stranger ran out from the cave as it collapsed. We beckoned him towards us as we ran from the cave. As we traveled up the road, we learned his name is Allister Dayne. He also seems of the adventuring sort, on his way to seek glory in Meadowbrook.
A few hours away from the cave, we saw fit to stop and make camp. The exhaustion of the day has caught up to me. I fear I can not fight sleep any longer. Tomorrow, we continue towards Meadowbrook. And maybe, I graduate from my ineffectual whimpering towards Marilyn into actual manhood. Unlikely.
5 There is a sketch of an ogre speaking the Giant word for “Stop!” with the Common translation “Stop!” written beneath.
6 In the margin there is a classic teenage heart-with-initials bearing the letters “M.B.F.”. Underneath, “Marilyn <→ Amulet?” is written.
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[Day 10 out of Fallcrest]
We journeyed some ways down the road, presumably towards Meadowbrook, though I confess to having lost my bearings amidst the numerous melees. I have taken advantage of the time I spend now with Jebat to glean what I can from him with regards to battle. Admittedly, I am not much of a fighter, although over the past week I have seen enough fighting to convince me that must be rectified.
We met up with Grimlor along the road, although the warlock was nowhere to be found. I expect that Moradin’s justice was meted out in some way upon him, but I don’t care to speculate further. Suffice it to say, I believe we are better for his absence.
We were beset again by goblins. My comrades again rushed forth to meet our enemy, leaving me in the open. However, I was prepared for this eventuality and as the goblins approached from the rear I weaved a complex illusion of a Rat Fang chieftain that stalled their advance. By means of the illusion and my knowledge of their language, I was able to convince them that we were agents of the Rat Fang Gang, dispatching some would-be deserters. From this unlikely alliance, we learned some new information regarding the trouble on the road. As I suspected, greater forces are at work here. The Battalion of Bane has hired the goblins to monitor the road and harry any travelers on their way to Meadowbrook. We allowed a gravely injured goblin to flee, hoping that he will warn others not to assault us.
Further down the road, we came upon Ole Mann’s wagon, or rather what was left of it. After dealing with some aggressive wildlife (Canis Lupus again… and Stirges… very unusual), we rescued him from the wreckage. It seems that he was waylaid by goblins as well. Their trap destroyed his wagon and they absconded with Will Runn and an item of some importance. We pledged to aid him in rescuing the lad, although I question the wisdom of this. Still, it seems my modicum of skill in the arcane arts has contributed to our survival and I would not dare leave my new friends to this task alone. Further, I fear I would not survive the journey to Meadowbrook should I strike out alone. So it seems we are bound together for now.
Ole Mann seemed worried at our mention of the Battalion of Bane. Truly, if the rumors are to be believed Bane is certainly an entity worth fearing. Still, this Battalion is composed of men and monsters, flesh and bone, not angels and demons… right? Else, why would they hire goblins to do their dirty work? No, they are men… or at least humanoid. We currently have no idea of their number, but that is not our primary concern. We shall rescue William Runn and deliver him to Meadowbrook earning the favor of its people.
in a less clear handwriting, further down the page
In the night, we were joined by a young lad. Halfling. All alone. Seemed scared, rightfully so. Claims to have escaped from Rat Fangs. Suspicious. A young man traveling alone should not have survived more than a day on this road with what we have learned. Jessamine. Familiar name.
in an even less clear handwriting, even further down the page
Roused from our camp by loud voice. Further, by earth-shaking rumbles. Dwarf attacked by Grimlocks. Jebat hit hard. Tried to use phantasms to frighten them, forgot Grimlocks blind. Forced to use Simka’s Darts. Haven’t since I killed that goblin several days ago. Seems like years ago. Dwarf okay. Goes by Bjorn. Need rest. Candle done anyway…
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[Day 9 out of Fallcrest]
Much has occurred since my last contribution within to these pages! This is to say, the silence is not for want of interesting things to say; I simply have not had the opportunity to take a moment’s rest and coalesce my thoughts into a form befitting this medium. Now that I have had a brief respite, I can reflect upon the last 48 hours and construct a decent narrative of the events.
During the night that followed the previous entry in this journal, we befriended a strange woodsman with a bear for a companion. He seemed friendly enough, so we bore no hostility towards him, allowing his to camp with us for the night. After we retired, an old man (fittingly named Ole Mann, though I confess to not knowing if this is his true name) and his nephew William Runn stumbled upon our camp while we were all asleep. I fear if the old man in this tale were replaced by nefarious goblins or ravenous wolves, this author would not be so lucky as to be writing these very words. In any event, he claimed to be on his way to Meadowbrook with sundries and supplies, so welcomed him into the warmth of our campfire. After exchanging tales and food for a short while, the man took leave of us, continuing down the road towards Meadowbrook. We returned to our bedrolls, careful this time to set a watch, and returned to sleep.
In the morning, we were beset again by goblins! Something has certainly invoked the ire of the goblin tribes in this area; the tribes would ordinarily not be so interested in a small group of five travelers with no goods or equipment but the garments we wore and the implements we carried. My companions were eager to dispatch them, and in their rush left me exposed in the rear of our ranks. In their haste, they were unaware of the group approaching from the other direction. They took me in a rush and impaled me on their blades! Luckily, I was able to weave a quick charm and stumble to safety. Fortunately, there are skilled healers in this group else I would most likely have died… As an aside, I have read dozens of detailed accounts of human and humanoid physiology and anatomy, but I lack the practical skills to administer aid to the wounded and my traditional arcane approach seems useless in these matter.
In any event, Jebat was livid at the lack of discipline we showed and clearly responsible for the blunder. In response, he has since been taking “command”, for lack of a better word, of our defense against the goblins and other assailants. I have been particularly interested in learning from his tactical prowess and have even taken to sparring with him occasionally in the evenings. Obviously I am no match for him as a melee combatant, but in light of recent events, I feel as though it is foolish to not even attempt to learn a modicum of self-defense.
After the encounter with the goblins, the group splintered. Grimlor Godefroy and the warlock engaged in a heated argument and wandered off. The woodsman followed suit, I think in an attempt to arbitrate the dispute to a non-violent conclusion. This left Jebat and I alone on the King’s Road towards Meadowbrook.
Thereafter, down the road, we came upon a handful of goblin bards in a copse of trees. They did not seem hostile, merely playing their instruments. Anticipating an attack, Jebat took an aggressive stance. In response, they stopped playing and I turned to find a pack of wolves (Canis Lupus) ready to strike. Apparently, the placating influence of the music was keeping the wolves at bay. They lunged Jebat and I, surrounding us. Loathe as I am to use coarse evocations, desperate times call for desparate measures. I remembered the pattern for Zhang’s Eruption4 just in time to surround the animals in a gout of flame. Unfortunately, Jebat was unable to avoid the flames; one of the reasons I rarely deign to use such spells. Fortunately, what was a devastating blow to the wolves was largely shrugged off by my comrade. As I backed away from the fracas, I attempted to cross a small stream to gain a superior position from which to utilize some charms and illusions. The bridge, however, was part of a fairly crude and mundane trap that, in my haste, I failed to recognize. As I crossed, the bridge gave way, dropping me into the stream. As I struggled to surface, I eventually saw the familiar form of my kiabil4 on the banks. I hastily scrabbled out of the water. Slightly worse for the wear, we have decided to rest before continuing any further. While the journey has been much more dangerous than I had anticipated, I could not have hoped for a better traveling companion. He has remained loyal, and has displayed tremendous fortitude and acumen, at least in tactical matters. I should think this will not be the last time I owe him my life. And if I can be briefly immodest, our experiences to date ominously foretell of a time where I should be allowed to return the favor…
3 There are a series of illustrations and runes on the facing page.
4 Drac. N: companion.
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…And now even the six books I brought with me have been destroyed, waterlogged in an attempt to rescue some fool half-orc from a river. Still, I seem to have joined the company of some decent adventurers, whose skill with the martial arts will hopefully be useful. It seems that slaying is a necessary condition for improving one’s status as an adventurer, a concept I don’t relish. I felled a goblin myself today… it was so easy… too easy… Perhaps I can leave that distasteful task to my comrades to a large extent. Still, can I truly exculpate myself from the slaughter itself if I am the one driving the cattle? A philosophical question for another day. For now, I set my mind to the more pressing issues at hand…
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I am three days out from under the heel of that awful old man now and have taken to writing this journal to escape the suffocating boredom that accompanies this travel. I never thought that I would be missing that musty old tower, but I only had room to bring half a dozen or so books with me on my travels and have at this point read them all twice over. While I could say that of the vast majority of the books in the Tower as well, at least there would be some variety. If this is all that the world outside Fallcrest has to offer, it seems the the great deal of effort I exerted to obtain this sabbatical were wasted.
I suppose if I am to write these words for posterity’s sake, I should explain further… I have read enough old journals to know that a narrative such as this read out of context is completely useless. So in that spirit, you are reading the journal of Reginald Fairfield, apprentice to Nimozaran the Green the “High Septarch of Fallcrest”.1 I was “sold” to Nimozaran as a child of 4 or so when my parents came to the realization that, while most children would eventually stop asking “Why?” in response to their insufficient explanations, I would not. This was around the same time that Nimozaran came to the realization that at age 4 I was likely more useful than any of his current apprentices. Unfortunately, my parents did not have the means to pay the exorbitant fees Nimozaran demanded of his initiates. But before he became aware of that, my parents packed up and left Fallcrest. While they are off in some remote town, producing the complacent offspring they have always desired, I have been living a life of servitude to that doddering old fool for over 15 years now. Oh, I suppose I’m being too hard on him. He’s useful enough to serve as the Septarch of a town like Fallcrest. But there are books (entire stacks!) in that library that are wasted on him since he never took the time to learn the languages in which they are written! Yet another thing I had to teach myself. It took me 6 years to read all the books in that library. Only 4 years to read them all again… Somewhere during that stretch it became clear that I had learned all I could from my apprenticeship to Nimozaran. Still, he was not about to forgive the debt I owed him. As a result, I had to conceive a plot to not only… well… escape, I suppose is the word… I had to conceive a plot to not only escape, but to make him believe it was his idea to let me go.
In the course of my errands, I learned of the new mine near Meadowbrook and the subsequent troubles that corresponded with its excavation. I figured this was as good a chance as any to make my mark and possibly garner some leverage, goodwill, or old fashioned coinage with which to expunge my debts. So, utilizing some innocent charms on some key members of the Fallcrest elite, I planted the idea in their minds: “This situation in Meadowbrook could potentially threaten our holdings! Wouldn’t it be best if we sent an emissary to report back on the situation? And wouldn’t it be useful if that emissary had some education, or perhaps arcane training?” So in a matter of a few days, they came knocking on the Septarch’s door, requesting an audience. Nimozaran had no choice but to comply, and advancing in age as he is, he could hardly bear the journey himself. So he came to me and “requested” that I sally forth, never knowing that it was I who had set the great chain in motion! Even better, he surely expects that I will eventually return and resume my chores… my travails… my [insert colorful goblin word for the duties of a slave]!
…And so here I am. At some waypoint on the road from Fallcrest to Meadowbrook via Winterhaven. I can only hope that things will pick up soon before the pittance Nimozaran doled out runs dry. I would hate to escape from under the heel of one taskmaster only to slip into the grasp of another…2
1 There is a translation in the margin, where it is noted that the closest translation of High Septarch to goblin is literally “Old and Wrinkly”
2 There is a note hastily scribbled in the margin at the end of this entry. It reads “Vanaireole Deezees- connected to Meadowbrook?”
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