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December 9, 2009

The Whisperer in Darkness

Astrid's Journal

19 Neth 4709 AR
Wilderness, West of Carpenden

By the time we arrived in Carpenden, I had managed to identify the last of our magical mystery items. Salma’s new bracers seem to enhance her armor (and better still, do not seem to be cursed). The Fist of Orcus, well, I was pretty sure what that was for, and we all agreed we should get rid of it as soon as we could find a safe place to deposit it. The box with the screaming faces on it was not as easy to examine, and we were not willing to open it. In fact, I am certain that would be disastrous under any circumstances. I only looked at it, but as I did so, I felt an almost inaudible whisper at the very edge of my perception, and a cold chill down my spine. I have since felt that almost-gleeful whisper again, when I was nowhere near the box.

We were able to rid ourselves of the Fist of Orcus, at least. Rogar seemed to be familiar with this area; he was able to recommend a temple to take the evil weapon to. He and Candal decided to sell it to the local temple to Iomedae, and were assured it would not fall into the wrong hands. I do not understand why anyone would pay for such a thing, but the money is not unwelcome. I had appraised the Fist at about 18,000 gold and we were given 1/3 of that.

Meanwhile, Tythe and Salma (who still does not drink alcohol) were visiting a tavern called the Rusty Dagger. We joined them briefly, and determined that even though it was only late afternoon, we should stay in town overnight, as the moon was full and lycanthropy is not unheard of in this area. However, Rogar did not like the look of the menu or clientele at the Rusty Dagger and recommended a nice dwarven inn down the road. Tythe was fine where she was, ogling a barmaid, and Salma decided to stay and keep an eye on her. Candal, Rogar and I left to head to Torag’s Mug with plans to meet them in the morning.

As we walked through the darkening streets, I spotted a stocky, shadowy figure watching us from an alley. I suspected it was a dwarf, but by the time I got Rogar to look in that direction, the figure had disappeared. I have learned that shadowy figures are usually disastrous for Salma and Tythe if Candal or I am not with them, and expressed my concern to my two companions. I was surprised, but they agreed that we should return to the Rusty Dagger to see if we could get them to come with us to the less-seedy dwarven bar. To my surprise (again), they agreed and joined us.

As we made our second trek to Torag’s Mug, Salma and I felt like we were being watched, and sure enough, a short, shadowy figure appeared to be observing us from a rooftop; Tythe called to it and it quickly disappeared from view.

Thankfully we were now at the dwarven tavern and we promptly went in. All conversation stopped; as we looked around us, we saw that Salma, Candal, Tythe and I were the only non-dwarves. I knew what to do— merely yelling “This round is on me!” was enough to receive a welcoming cheer from the bar’s patrons. This was as close to anything like home I had been around in a long time. I saw that they had no resident bard and sang a few dwarven ballads; not my best performance, but I managed to make in tips more than I had spent on ale, had six drinks bought for me, and got invitations from two dwarves to share a room. It seemed unlikely that any of the males in my group of companions would make such an offer (and I have to keep telling Tythe thank you but no), so I happily agreed to both Grund and Kurg, even knowing I would be hearing jokes about “dwarven mining techniques” for days.

In the morning we said our goodbyes and headed west towards the Darkmoon Wood. My friends had learned of an increase in pixie attacks in the Verduran Woods, and the usual border skirmishes between Andoran and Cheliax, but otherwise, nothing remarkable to report. We traveled for two days without anything exciting happening and now find ourselves in unmarked wilderness….

Posted by Kristin at 00:06 | Astrid’s Journal

December 30, 2009

The Road More Traveled

Astrid's Journal

23 Neth 4709 AR
Road to Olfden

Someone remembered there was a road nearby and even though it does not go to the Darkmoon Wood, it is apparently “easier” traveling to use a road and head to Olfden instead. It is pretty much in the opposite direction, and near a completely different forest. But, I do not particularly care were we are going, and we seem to find interesting things to do wherever we end up anyway. So we travel by road, on foot.

I believe I may have made an error in judgment about my friends. I waited until I was sure that the screaming-faced box was not whispering to me anymore to mention it to them, so they would not be alarmed about something they could not remedy. They are now concerned that anything I say or do is “box related.” In the future, I will have to learn to keep such things completely to myself so as to not alarm them. I was myself watched on several of my camp watches during the past few nights, but they seem to be relaxing a bit more now.

This road is fairly quiet. We passed a caravan coming from Olfden about halfway there, and were told of some “burrowing” activity. Later, we found areas in and around the road that appeared to have been disturbed, with some tunnels going right through the road itself.

Two nights ago I was finally able to convince my companions that I was not under some evil spell; during Tythe’s watch she alerted us to some “humps” she saw in the distance. By the time we were up and prepared, the hulking creatures had become visible by our campfire— two armed ogres, and with them, a dozen goblins. Finally, something to hit! We defeated them quickly— I was able to kill one ogre myself, and then scare the few remaining goblins off. We found nearly 40 in gold and a few gems on the bodies, as well as a magical ring on the ogre I killed. It obviously is not a ring of protection (or at least, not a good one), but I have not quite figured out what it is for.

We broke camp soon after and continued on, seeing more of the recent burrowing activity and nothing else, and later had an uneventful night camping by the road.

Around noon today we came upon an overturned wagon— the wheels have been snapped, there are boxes and produce scattered about, intermixed with fresh blood, and definite evidence that something had burrowed up through the road. Before we had time to even look for survivors, Salma noticed something 200’ away. A dorsal fin appeared, moving closer. We scattered— Tythe to a nearby rock, Salma and I up a tree, and Rogar and Candal leaping atop the overturned wagon….

Posted by Kristin at 19:08 | Astrid’s Journal