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Public Enemy #1

Areon’s Journal

Kythorn 11, 1373, Everlund

We rounded a corner running right into the orcs’ campsite. Tassar started across, falling into a pit trap, and I decided it would be better to use my bow, rather than risk falling into another trap.

Tassar was not giving up, however, and I could see arrows flying out of the pit to stick in any orc who got too close. I admire his fighting spirit; it reminds me of home. Antonio fell almost immediately, and Dietrecha did her best to drag him out of the way and get him healed. Theona killed a few orcs and an orc spellcaster with well placed crossbow bolts. Although I had killed several orcs, I had been wounded as well, and I lost consciousness then.

When I came to, all the orcs were dead, save one, who had fled. We decided that it would be best not to chase the orcs, as this little group seemed to have a lot of backup. We settled for just searching their cave. After a few minutes of traveling side tunnels, Theona found something: An orc in a cage! This one was quite different than the others. He was more than happy to talk to us, and did so so eloquently, that I became worried that maybe he was bait to a trap. Theona opened his cell before I said anything, and though I made no objection, Tassar said that we would kill him if he turned out to be an orcish helper.

Dante (as we had learned his name through Theona’s questioning), insisted that he was a human bard who had been on the wrong end of a polymorph spell. I don’t know who his “friend” was who did that, but I sure don’t want to meet him. He also provided us with some intriguing information the group of orcs we had found was an advance post of a small army led by an orc necromancer known as Grom. He is apparently blessed by Gruumsh and had managed to even build a stronghold in the Nether Mountains.

We heard the sounds of war drums in the distance, and decided that our little cave probably wasn’t going to be a safe haven any longer. So we set off in snow too deep for Tassar to even move in, he took it well, though, standing in the back of the last wagon, bow ready, should anything decide to sneak up behind us.

Our horses soon gave up on dragging the wagons through the snow, and we made a camp next to a river, so that if we were attacked, the attack would not be from more than one side. Almost as soon as we had finished setting up our little campsite, we were attacked. Not by the orcs that we had thought we were being chased by, but by wolves.

As the battle ensued, I could hear Dante shouting over the din, telling jokes. I know it sounds odd, but having someone who can loosen up a party in the tense moments of a battle is a priceless member of a party. We all fought better because of Dante, though one of the other caravan guards was killed by a wolf. Antonio tried to add more to the body count, but fortunately both Tassar and I are a little too powerful to be killed outright by his ill-aimed spells. Honestly, someone is going to kill him if he hits them at the wrong time.

After we had dispatched the wolves, Deitricha gave the corpse of the caravan guard a blessing, and Tassar skinned a wolf and began cooking it. I wanted to stop him, as the smell would surely bring in more creatures to fight, but I decided not to, and just hoped that anything coming it would be able to be chased off or killed.

After an uneventful rest, we traveled the rest of the way to Everlund. It took us two days, all through the deep snow, but we did not have to face any other type of attack. We split in town with Drake, agreeing to meet in five days; hopefully the snow will have melted by then.

We quickly found an inn, named The Stone Griffin because of the massive stone griffin in the middle of the lobby. Antonio arranged the rooms, setting up Deitricha and Tassar together (big surprise there!) and Dante and Theona together. Tassar and Deitricha had quite a laugh about that, and I heard several off color remarks about the rooming arrangements. I couldn’t help but be relieved that Antonio did not have Dante room with me, as I do not think I could be comfortable with sharing a room with an orc.

I am worried about Theona being with Dante though. It isn’t that I don’t think Theona can handle herself, because I know very well that she can. But I still fear that Dante may not be telling us everything we should know….

Kythorn 18, 1373, Everlund

A knock on my window startled me during the first night. I was even more surprised to see Theona kneeling outside the window motioning for me to let her in.

When I did she explained to me that Dante was a Harper, and that because of his current form, he could not make a contact as he needed to. Theona had volunteered us to make the contact for him and gotten the rendezvous information. We slipped into the night and headed outside town, almost an hour away to a tree that Theona had been directed too. There we would wait for two hours and having seen nothing of interest, we headed back to the inn so we could slip in and rest for the next day.

This pattern continued each night up until our last evening there, when we found a small piece of paper tucked into a bough of the tree. We returned to Everlund and slipped the note under the door of Rand Tallwood’s shop and then returned to our rooms.

I didn’t mind getting out of the cramped room, though our work seemed to be designed to get us as far out of town as possible in one night. I guess I just worried too much. I did however get to know Theona much better with all our time to talk privately. She seems pretty driven to find artifacts, though she kept alluding to one in particular that she was looking for. I’m still not sure what exactly it is, but perhaps she will trust me enough to tell me someday. I almost told her about the Tiger, but I decided that it would probably not be the best time to ask her. We already have more than enough on our plates.

We left from Everlund the next morning. Drake conversed with the rest of the group, and we decided that it would probably be best to spend the nights traveling, in hopes of making it to Silverymoon without having to stop. We did manage to do just that, though not at all in the fashion that we wanted to.

As we were traveling I saw a flickering light on the path ahead. Worried that there may be a trap ahead, I took Tassar with me to investigate. We cam upon two burning wagons, and out of the snow rose four zombies! Tassar tried to engage while still on his dog, and only managed to drop himself onto the ground. I used my bow to stick arrow after arrow into the zombies, and Deitricha and Theona came running forward soon after to help us out. Deitricha channeled divine power through herself and the zombies lumbered away from the show.

We were determining what to do when the zombies overcame their fear of the divine and returned to harass us. This time we destroyed them with force of arms. We put out the fires on the two wagons that were blocking our path and moved them out of the way.

We then heard a horn blast, which was surely a call to arms. Not far away from us we saw a dozen or so mounted orcs led by a huge one, riding a dire wolf. Tassar fired a potshot into the big orc, and buried and arrow into his chainmail. As we fled, Tassar shouted out his name, telling the orc (who we believe is Grom), who had injured him (if of course he had). It is amazing how little Tassar thinks about his actions sometimes.

We traveled as quickly as we could back to Silverymoon, and though we were safe from the orcish warband, our trials were not over yet.

We had forgotten the orcish form of Dante while we were out of town, but once we had returned to civilization, we discovered that Dante was looked upon with suspicion and mistrust. So much for this city being accepting for all races.

Antonio had disappeared and reappeared a few minutes later bearing all of us silver ale mugs. I put mine in my backpack, and though I appreciate the thought, I doubt I will ever use it.

We decided to split up and rest, and meet in the morning. I noticed that Dante had gone with Theona, and while I do trust that he isn’t really an orc, I am still not sure that I trust him, especially around Theona. I didn’t wander too far that evening, as I wanted to be close in case something did happen, but I didn’t stay the entire time, knowing that anyone intently watching just one home would arouse suspicion. I did see Theona poke her head out once, and I think she may have seen me. I hope she doesn’t think that I am stalking her….

We met the next morning at the Bright Blade Brandished for breakfast. After which we headed to the Grey Castle Estate to collect the remainder of the pay. Antonio suggested we take Dante to an associate of his and get him returned to normal. I went with the group and watched Dante’s transformation back to his human form, then slipped quietly away to be alone.

I traveled out of the city for a little while again. It just feels so much better to be out of the hustle and bustle of things. I knew I had to return to find my friends, but the few hours I took was time for myself, and I am sure that any of them would have understood.

I returned into the city a little after dusk and wandered back to the Bright Blade Brandished. As I was approaching, I saw Antonio, Tassar and Deitricha dragging Dante and Theona out of the tavern. I followed at a distance, as I knew that something was up. I realized what they were trying to do when they raised Theona and Dante up into Theona’s house. I couldn’t believe what they were doing. After they left, I climbed up into Theona’s house, and found Theona and Dante in a heap on the floor. I picked up Theona and laid her down on her bearskin rug. I prayed that she would be the first up, but did not feel I had time to wait around to find out.

I headed back to the Bright Blade Brandished to find Tassar alone passed out on the table. I didn’t see anyone else, and assumed that they must have gone home. I figured the best plan for me would be to watch out for him if he left so I found a good vantage spot away from normal view.

Not to long after I had climbed up to my vantage point. I saw Tassar wander around the building, apparently to relieve himself. He didn’t see Antonio’s father, or the six other men, who followed him into the alley, then proceeded to knock him around a bit. After a short conversation, one of the men knocked him unconscious.

I left the vantage point as quickly and quietly as I could, and rushed back to Theona’s house. Now that I think about it, I should have followed the group of guards to find out where they were taking Tassar, but I though that if I were fast enough, Theona and I would have been able to stop the guards.

When I arrived back at Theona’s house, she was still passed out. I decided I would pull Dante into her side room, just in case he should wake up first. After I did that I began to pace, and not long after I did, Theona started to stir. Once she was up, I told her that we needed to get going, because one of our friends was in trouble….

Posted by Tim on March 7, 2004, 09:54 | Areon’s Journal