The Age of Kings

The Journal of Xavian Grey Part V
Xavian's Journal

June 23, 542
Over the past four days we have completed out exploration on this forest area and recovering from combat that ensued, and started moving toward our next location of interest. On the first day picking back up after our encounter with the frogs, we had another intriguing encounter. While making dinner a pack of Thyrasacines converged on our campsite, I assume in hopes for food. It was at this point that Kris had his not so good idea of beating on a dinner pot to scare them away. This did indeed scare away the cat-dog creatures, but also alerted a large group of bandits in the area. In the fight with the bandits Kris was nearly killed, and both Xavkul and I were knocked out. At this point in time we are fully recovered and ready to call it a night so that we can begin exploration of the next territory tomorrow.

June 26, 542
As if things have not been strange enough from time to time in our adventures to this point, the past four days proved that we have obviously not seen the half of how bizarre these wilds can truly be. On our first day heading west into this new area we stumbled across a man named Bocob. He was sitting around his bonfire and tent cooking breakfast upon our arrival, and had a nearby cart. I can only assume that he is a trader of sorts, as most of the other locals we have happened across have been. He offered to have us join him for breakfast and informed us that his travels were set for a local ruined temple that he was headed to for his own personal reasons. The description of the temple that he was heading to certainly matched the descriptions of the temple to Corelon that we have been searching for, in that he confirmed the presence of a bad spirit who resides there. After informing him that we wished to investigate, he informed us that he would delay so as to avoid being there while we were carrying out our business there.

After having breakfast with Bocob we continued on our way to locate the temple. Once we finially located the temple we began our investigation, only to discover that the stories of a malevolent spirit being there were true. We were greeted what appeared to be a large white grizzly bear and its cub, both of which were covered in algae and sores that resembled some form of mange. Neither of the bears was friendly, so per usual we were graced with another strange encounter. After a time of battling the bears, we managed to slay the larger bear. This is when things turned bizarre. The bear shifted into what appeared to be an old man, who quickly aged, decayed and then turned to dust and was wisped away. Shortly after, we also defeated the cub and the same strange thing occurred, except instead of an old man it was a young elven woman. It seems that these were both druids, who somehow were bound to this temple and set free upon being slain by the party.

Once the fight was over, we discovered that this entire temple was teeming with magic. Whether any of it was good or not, we are unsure, but to be safe we spent the remainder of the day consecrating the area. Hopefully all can be well here for the future.

July 4, 542
The past eight days have been much more pleasant than some of our recent explorations. We safely returned to the hold after cleansing the temple, and upon arrival, were greeted by a large number of caravans that had arrived while we were gone. Most, if not all, of the caravans were baring the king’s banner. After taking in the scenery for a short time we made sure to visit Jhod to inform him that the temple had been cleansed. What he will do with it at this point is unknown. For our assistance, Jhod has agreed to aid us in the future by providing divine spells that we may need him to perform at component costs. We also paid Isca a visit to present the tatzlwyrm head and Tuskgutter’s head to him. He was greatly pleased with both.

For the remainder of the time that we have spent at the hold we took care of some miscellaneous crafting work that Soreon wished to do, training that a few others wished to take care of and studying that a few of us decided to tackle.

July 7, 542
Over the past few days we have made our way back to the lightning struck tree, and completed a bit of exploration to the northeast. As with most of our experience in plains regions, this travel and exploration was quiet.

July 8, 542
Today we started to head to the west and got a decent amount of exploration and mapping complete. While preparing to camp for the night tonight, we were greeted by traveler, named Lewd, in the area. Per usual, this was another traveler heading to the hold. In our discussions with him, we were warned of a sycamore tree not far to the west of our current location. He claims that this old tree is the home of a large colony of goblins. To our northwest he claims that there is also a kobold cave. Both of these locations seem like something that we should investigate. The plan for tomorrow is to begin our search for the great sycamore tree.

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Paikea Star - Letters Home IV

June 20

Dear Jacque,

Greetings from the forest. I am not at Isca’s Hold – so this letter will be posted to you in the near future. A lot has gone on and I have learned more than I ever expected to. First off – I have met an Elf and a Half-Orc. Both are rather barbaric and seem more comfortable in the wilderness than I ever will. They have proved to be courageous and useful companions as we explore the territory for the King.

I miss our conversations and our chess games. Though except for a few fleeting minutes at night – I do not have much time to miss the quiet reflective minutes I used to have a lot of. I am becoming accustomed to being in various degrees of filthy and my fingernails are worn down to the quick. The last time we were in Isca’s Hold we heard for the second time that a unicorn had been slain in the woods – we have yet to find anything to support this. The rumors are that soldiers from Caer Tywn or the Flame Lord (war lord of the bandits) bandits are doing the killing. Whichever it is – we intend to put an end to unicorn killing. I want to see one that is alive.

Something odd happened the other day – we came across three soldiers of Caer Tywn. They were seeking refuge from what felt like endless rain in a old grave barrow. They each wore a holy symbol of the Flame Lord. My gut instinct is that they were up to something and I did not care for them being this close to Landinium. However no one sensed anything evil in their current intent so we left them alone. Having a paladin of Pelor is often an incredibly good thing to have traveling with you. However when you want to sneak up and take out enemy soldiers it is not helpful to have on around.

I also have a brand new scar running from my right hip down to my knee – it almost severed with Xavian called my femoral artery. How it happened is quite a story. During our explorations we came upon a statue in ruins – from what we could tell it was of the fabled hero Saturnalia who they worship in Caer Tywn when we heard a horrible sound coming towards us. We knew from previous encounters that in all likelihood a wild boar was coming towards us. I quickly scampered up onto the statue. It has been my experience that having hirer ground and not going toe-to-toe with wild boars is the way to engage them. When the beast cleared the brush – my jaw fell open. It was huge – almost the size of a war horse. It barreled down at us, and it became apparent that my high ground was not going to keep me out of range of the beast’s tusks. It ran right at my and caught my flank, leaving my thigh bare down to the bone. If it were not for the power of Pelor that Xavian conducts through his priestly powers I would be dead. When I awoke the boar was dead and I was lucky to not have joined it in death.

After that we encountered another strange creature in the woods. We identified it as a tatzlwyrm, a creature of myth. It was a giant flying worm-like creature that breathed some sort of poisonous gas. We were able to defeat it rather easily but it is quite shocking to have something like that fly out of its nest in a tree and attack you.

We did find something non-deadly in the woods, an ancient statue to the Elven god Corelleon. Several of us left offerings at the feet of the statue and then felt surrounded by positive energy – our weapons became more deadly in battle after that.

I will write soon and keep you informed of what is going on.

With warm regards,
Paikea

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The Journal of Xavian Grey Part IV
Xavian's Journal

May 23, 542
We have made it back to Isca’s hold with Kira, and she has carried on with her own business. Upon arrival we were greeted with the news that another unicorn has been found killed. Rumors are that it was likely followers of the Flame Lord once again. After dinner we have spent the remainder of the evening restocking in preparation of heading back into the wilds in the morning.

May 27, 542
Heading back into the wilds the party decided to return to the lightning struck tree marked on the treasure map that we found. When we arrived at the tree we discovered that there was a hole at the base of the tree, and upon further inspection we concluded that the treasure had been retrieved prior to our arrival. It was then that Kerigan noticed small humanoid tracks leading away from the hole.

For the next two days we followed the tracks of the humanoid, losing the trail and picking it back up again. It has lead us into the NW reaches that we previously explored, and then beyond. It was just today that we reached the point where we can no longer follow the tracks. They lead straight into a river. While investigating to find a way to cross the river, we found a rickety bridge that looks to be too dangerous for passage. It just so happened that there was still a legible sign that marked the bridge as Nettles Crossing. It was at this point that Xavkul must have grown impatient with boredom and had to find a way to occupy himself. His entertainment became ringing an old rusty bell, likely a bell for what was once a ferry call bell for large carriages and coaches.

As he quit ringing the bell, we all caught a strong smell of rotten fish and shortly after a long rotten corpse rose from the river itself. The corpse only had one request. He wishes us to dispose of the corpse of the Flame Lord in the river at his crossing so that he can see the demise with his own eyes. If we do not complete this task he has informed us that it will be our demise. Further attempts to communicate only earned us a strange, blank stare with unnerving breathing through the large holes in the neck of the corpse.

Tomorrow we shall return to the areas to our SE, which we traveled through without exploration during our attempts to track down who, or what, may have wandered away with the treasure buried beneath the tree.

May 28, 542
In our journey to continue exploring new territories on this day we came across a very homely looking elf. He was not anything like you ever picture an elf to look. He had gnarly teeth and tattered clothes. He didn’t really give us much information about himself that lent to figuring out why he may be this way. The most noteworthy part of this encounter was the large cart he was towing. He was transporting two troll corpses to the hold. He informed us that he does regular business with Bachen.

June 7, 542
Over the past 8 days we have spent the majority of our time exploring to the E, crossing above the hold. In this time we have crossed plains, traveled through a small stretch of open hills, and then into more forest territory. In the time exploring the forest, we once again crossed paths with the river that we found to end at what looked to be an underground cave. While following the river we located a bridge that is still passable. It did take some work to restore it to this condition though.

June 11, 542
Our past four days of adventuring to the E through a swampy forest have been quite eventful. On our first evening exploring this territory it was raining and we came across a barrow where four fighters from the northern regions of Caer Twyn. They gave us no trouble, and at this point in time we deemed it best to not try giving them any trouble. It seemed that they may all have been paladins of the Flame Lord, based on the medallions that they were all wearing.

Today while we were exploring the territory we stumbled across what appeared to be a long ruined statue of Saturnaelia. While investigating the statue things became very interesting, if one could call it that. We started hearing the squeals from a boar, but we could not get sight of it. We all prepared for confrontation, but the boar came bursting into the clearing from the last place we would have expected. Paikea was knocked unconscious immediately and shortly after Kerigan was dropped within inches of death. I am still unsure of how she survived. In time we managed to take down the overgrown boar, and I administered aid to the wounded to get everyone back on their feet. It was noted after that battle that Kerigan recalled stories of an elder boar named Tuskgutter, who would likely yield a grand reward if we could bring proof to the right person. This boar in particular seemed to fit the descriptions told in the stories that she was familiar with.

June 14, 542
The past three days have been spent exploring farther into the forest to the E of the ruined statue, As we explored this area we discovered a set of ruins built on a creek, and upon inspection encountered a unique creature. The creature was recognized by members of the party to be a Boggard. Luckily, this Boggard only wished for us to leave his area, and made distinct note that our barbarian friend has quite the foul odor. The stench carried by Xavkul was even enough to bring tears to his eyes and cause him to beg us to leave before having to introduce us to his very large, awkward, slug-like creature with a crab’s claws. We decided it best to heed his warning and move along.

June 17, 542
In the past three days we have continued our travels as far to the E as we can go with our current charter. This territory was rather noteworthy as well. On the second day of exploration we were greeted by a very angry Tatzulwyrm that erupted from a tree as we passed. Given what we know about them from our past studies, we were quite fortunate. The party made quick work of the worm as Xavkul swiftly decapitated the monstrosity. We salvaged the head and investigated the tree from which it came and discovered an unknown potion within. We will have to consult Bachen in the near future to figure out what it is.

Another noteworthy feature of this area was a statue of Corelon. Some of the members of our party paid tribute at the statue, which to the surprise of Kris and myself appeared to bless their weapons. Kerigan noted that in this location she felt very safe. Perhaps it is all just coincidence.

June 19, 542
In our past two days of exploring we turned our sights to the SE to begin our loop back to the hold. This lead us back into more plains. The exploration was rather uneventful, but after our past few territories it was quite a nice break.

June 20, 542
Today we began to head to the W, back toward the hold. Shortly after beginning our exploration of the forest that we have entered, we discovered the true mouth of the river that we have been attempting to map out for some time. It ends into a delightful hot spring. We all decided that this was a perfect opportunity to bathe ourselves, as well as our smelly barbarian friend.

Unfortunate for us, in the midst of bathing we were rudely interrupted by a pack of very hungry giant frogs. This was quite an encounter, given that Xavkul, of all people, was nearly devoured. That is just a testament to how large these frogs where, considering he is by far the largest member of our adventuring party. After a hard fought fight in our bathing attire, we have stopped for time to recover from both the physical, and mental, damage taken by having several members of the group nearly devoured by the frogs.

On a positive note, we can have quite a feast with hard earned frog legs.

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Session IV - Bogging

With spring almost over, the party began the session by heading back to Isca’s Hold. They reprovisioned and prepared to head out west again, to map more along the foothills. Rumours were abound of another unicorn being spotted and killed by what appeared to be zealots of Caer Twyn by merchants who had been heading in from the north. What were they up to?

The party left the Hold and made their way northwest to the tree that they had found many days previous. A map in the hands of a dead brigand had shown an “X” at the tree, and the party was excited at the prospect of some loot to plunder.

Alas when they got there, someone else had gotten to the stash already. A hole was at the base of the tree, and the druid was able to pick up tracks heading towards the mountain. They were humanoid, and several days old. Like a bloodhound, the party was off across the wilds in pursuit of the thief that had pilfered the stash.

The trail was lost several times before the party finally emerged at a river roaring from the mountains. The remains of a bridge crossed the river… a single rope. The party anxiously looked out at the dangerous crossing, when a rotten figure emerged from the river.

In a wheezing voice, it proclaimed that the party was not that which tormented him and then bade them to throw the Flame Lord’s body into the river. Several attempts were made to talk with the dead creature, but it just simply stood there on the water wheezing. Unnerved, the party took their leave and headed back the way they came, saddened that they lost the trail of their quarry.

They spent the next week mapping the western cooridor out, coming across an elven merchant who was hauling a pair of dead trolls to Isca’s Hold to sell to the potion maker.

At the summer solstice, the party entered the forests once again near where the bandit encampment had been encountered. The forest here was swampy and rain had moved in. While it was warm out, the rains made everything damp and cloying and the mud sucked at the party’s boots.

Near a barrow cairn, the party encountered four armored men bearing the heraldry of Caer Twyn. Xavkul Mankin bade them drink with him, but other then that the men were tight lipped. Paikea Star wanted to rid the land of their presence, but
Kris IV and Soreon Silvermane Sorben talked her out of that.

Mapping the forest was a lot slower going than the flat plains of the west, and the party ended up tangling with another boar. This creature was a fierce monster of a pig, but it was felled a lot faster than the three boars that had gutted the party a few weeks prior. Paikea and the druid were both injured in the fight.

Stinking of the bog, the party made their way east to drier land. They came across a ruined stone house, from which a boggard emerged. The boggard was annoyed that the party was trespassing in his “kingdom” and bade them go away, particularly at the half-orc who reeked of swamp gas.

Not wanting to cause trouble, the party left the boggard in piece, looping around the house and eventually exiting the forest. The swamp lands of the east near Caer Twyn could be seen here, and as this was outside of the charter, they swung to the south and managed to map out the scrubland on the eastern border before turning back to the forest.

Near the edge of the forest, they got their first look at a Tatzylwyrm. Not much is known about these creatures, but the druid was able to explain after the encounter that they are relations to dragons. The Tatzylwyrm was not much of a fight for the companions, and its head was lopped off by Soreon and will make a fine trophy at the Hold when the party returns.

They found the source of a hot spring and finally had an opportunity for a nice bath. Alas, three giant frogs had made the spring their home and they splashed into the pool after them.

Giant frogs are fairly easy to run off, for they are not very courageous creatures, nor are they particularly tough. They do however possess a long sticky tongue and a wide gaping mouth, and the half-orc was swallowed by one of the creatures.

Fortunately, the remainder of the party was able to kill the frog and gut it before any lasting damage could be done, but Xavkul’s face will bear the marks of stomach acid for some time. A drinking story for sure!

The party ended the session heading back west through the forest, recovering from their battle with the frogs.

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Paikia Star - Letters Home III

May 21

Dearest Aurora, Gavin, Beckett, and Alisa

The strangest thing happened the other day and I could not wait to tell you all about it. Remember the time our dearest father came back from a boar hunt with that nasty wound to his bicep? His wound was caused by his spear shaft splintering when he held it against a charging boar. He has quite the nasty scar from it. I am sure he would love to tell you all the story if you do not remember it. I remember him saying how much better the meat tasted after being injured on the hunt.

Part of why you should ask Father about the hunt is so that he can talk to you about how to properly hunt boar. I remember his instructions and then going on a hunt with him once. I just had an experience the other day with three boar that made me miss all of you terribly.

My companions and I came upon a clearing while mapping the land and clearing it of bandits. In the clearing were three boars, a large sow and two mostly grown piglets. Since we had been eating mostly trail rations for the last month or so, the thought of fresh meat got to the best of some of my companions. Before I could blink twice people were running at the boars with hand weapons. We did not have a hunting dog and we were on foot.

The tusks on the boars almost turned out to be deadly for one of my fellow explorers. Let me tell you about my band of explorers, map makers, and bandit hunters. There is my friend Soreon who you have met. He actually knew how to hunt the boards, thankfully. Xavian Grey is a cleric of Pelor. He is a most dependable guy – I enjoy his company and his devotion to his god is admirable. Pelor has been bestowing his blessing upon us during our journey’s thus far. Then there is Kris the Paldin of Pelor, he is a descendant of Kris the founder of the White Order. He is most intimidating in a fight with his great sword. He puts himself in danger to protect others not as strong or steadfast as he is, he is valiant and incredibly trustworthy.

Now my next two companions are more exotic than anyone you have probably met in Landinium. Xavkul is a barbarian from a half orc tribe. He is brash, burly, and more different than anyone I have ever met. Half the time I am worried he has a death wish and the other half I wish I was as brave – though not as foolhardy. My last companion travels with her own companion – let me explain. Her name is Kerigan and she is an Elven druid – a practitioner of old nature religions. Her companion is a badger named Logan. Logan is ferocious and I am wary and intrigued by him. I am not exactly sure what to make of Kerigan yet. She is a good traveling companion and she knows how to cook – which has improved things on our travels. She knows a great deal about the wilds and I am learning from her. In all of Fathers stories about Elves and Ordar – he never mentioned anything as exotic and as wild as Kerigan. She has a lot of rules – she can’t wear metal, she won’t abide trees being cut down, she doesn’t like the idea of mining gold, etc……

Ok so back to this boar hunt. Kerigan used the powers bestowed upon her by nature to calm two of the boars – so we didn’t have to fight all three at once. I kept my distance – firing arrows from a ways back – taking a chance each time I fired of injuring my friends instead of the boar – but I was not going to close in on it. Xavkul attacked with this huge axe he wields, I doubt I could even pick the thing up! To attack with his axe he had to stand right up next to it! He went toe to tusk with a boar! It was a sight to behold – that is until he was gored and tossed like a sack of potatoes by the beast.

By the time we had that boar ready to be dragged off and put over a fire Xavkul was close to death. We had to drag him and the boar from the clearing – trying to put some distance between us and the other two who were sure to turn on us sometime soon. We were barely into the woods before the other two boars tried to come after us. We hastily set up on a game trail – Soreon planted his shield in the middle of the trail to offer protection to others who wanted to enter melee with the boars. Once again I stood back and fired a volley of arrows into the fray.

Wounds stink! Don’t let anyone tell you different – whether you are cut by a blade, a arrow, a claw, a bite, or a tusk it stinks. I advise you all to avoid it. When a boar gets a cut it stinks even worse. It was almost a deadly fight for us – many almost succumbed to our injuries but we prevailed and managed to take down all three boar and no one suffered a mortal wound.

So the rest of that day and the next full day we had to camp so wounds could heal, thanks to the blessing of Pelor and meat could be smoked. Dad was right when you hunt the food the meat tastes better. It also tastes better when someone who knows what they are doing when cooking has a go at making dinner.

Well my next story turns out fine – but you might not want to tell Father and Mother about it. The other day we were headed towards the border of mountains to the west, when we came upon a strange sight. It was a boneyard – bones that were picked clean and some so old they were bleached white. The sight made us a bit more cautious than usual, thankfully so. I was leading the way – being the most sure of footing and able to spot traps most easily. (Though if you want to find every trap you could possibly encounter I advise you to let a barbarian lead the way.) Suddenly between me and the rest of the group a huge spider sprang from the loose sand and soil. Now when I say large spider I am not saying the size of Alisa’s hand and no I do not mean the size of Fathers hand. I do not even mean the size of Father’s favorite hound. What I mean is the size of Alisa’s pony that she got for her last birthday.

So this spider the size of a PONY sprang its trap and tried to lunge for me. I could see the poison on its fangs as it lunged and tried to strike me. I am sure I shrieked in anticipation of dying a painful death from the poison. Luckly Kris and Paladin of Pelor was trailing behind me he was able to strike the spider before it could bite me. His attack was fast and powerful for this I am grateful.

Well I am going to close – it is getting dark and I am feeling tired. Tomorrow we are off to more exploring. I will post this letter to you the next time I am in Isca’s Hold. I love and miss you all and hope you are doing well. Tell Father and Mother I love them. I will write to you again, hopefully soon.

Love
Paikea

P.S. Remember to never ever ever ever try to fight boars in hand to hand combat!

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Session III - A Bacon in Time Makes the Half-Orc Hungry

Being a level 1 character is tough, and exploring the dangerous wilderness can be risky on one’s life. The group picked up where they last left off last week, recovering in the bandit hold as spring began to warm up a bit.

The remainder of the eastern forest was mapped out for the most part uneventfully. Xavian Grey’s journal reflects this pretty well in minute detail.

They came across a deadfall with the smashed remains of the poacher who had been setting traps, and who had been the cause of Soreon Silvermane Sorben’s broken ankle a couple of sessions ago, retrieving another masterwork hand axe (putting their tally at three now).

Once the woods were mapped out, the party encountered a fey spirit as they were leaving the area. The creature appeared at night as a globe of light and the party was understandably worried about it and chose to ignore it. The ball of light was not to be denied and stuck around until morning, where it followed them as they headed east towards the swampy marshes towards Caer Twyn.

As chronicled in Xavian’s journal, the ball of light became excited near a copse of trees and the party discovered more poacher traps, one of which contained the body of a human skeleton. The party did the right thing and buried the remains, causing the light to twinkle out and lay the spirit to rest, which netted them a nice little +300xp reward.

Heading back to the hold, they were greeted with more merchant traffic and rumours of the Flame Lord’s activity picking up, perhaps due to the party’s actions regarding one of his bandit cells.

Soreon received a letter from the king indicating that the Flame Lord should be brought to justice, and once this had been done that he would receive a charter to settle the lands instead of merely exploring them.

This news was not taken happily by Isca, and even several members of the party, who had no desire to be dealing with politics or encroaching on wild areas.

The month of May is a wet one in Cict, and the party left the hold and struck out west to finish mapping the area to spring storms. They were able to quickly take down a giant spider who attempted to make Paikea Star into lunch.

The real test of the night came from an encounter with a small group of wild boars. While hunting, the group lucked into some boar meat, but boars are not happy to give up their yummy nutritional bacon, and so in a clearing the party cornered them.

Boars are pretty nasty little beasts, especially for a first level group. Xavkul Mankin was more tactical this time around, waiting for the boars to charge him, while the elven druid calmed two of the three, making the first part of the fight easier to handle.

Xavkul was gored pretty badly but the first boar was taken down. The party tried dragging its corpse out as well as the bleeding form of Xavkul, but the charm on the other two boars wore off and the smell of the spilled blood enraged them and they thundered after the party.

The end result was a battered party, but three dead boars which contributed to a lot of ham and bacon, and when combined with eggs makes a tasty meal for several days.

The remainder of the western portion of the land was mapped out and the party ended the session at the fire of a mountain woman named Kira, who had come from the Erethas mountains to trade at Isca’s Hold for some medicine.

She seemed quite distrustful (wisely so, these are dangerous lands), but shared that she had her own run ins with the bandits that operate in the area. Her caucasion kitty next to her silently munched on some fish, oblivious to the strangers while the druid pet her…

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The Journal of Xavian Grey Part III
Xavian's Journal

April 23, 542
We made it through the night after our battle with the bandits. In the morning Xavkul regained consciousness, and the party has spent the day resting to recover. Tomorrow we head out to complete our exploration of this portion of the forest.

April 26, 542
Over the past three days the party has finished the exploration of the forest surrounding the bandit post and returned back to Isca’s. On the first night of the trip back we stopped to camp outside of the mine where we have a good idea of the surroundings. Around dinner a pack of wolves circled the camp for several hours, but luckily never showed any aggression. We made it back to the hold this afternoon.

Upon arrival at the hold we have caught wind that a merchant spotted a unicorn in the wilds during their journey through the surrounding areas. I do not yet know what this means for our adventuring group. Before dinner we made a point to turn in the heads of the bandits that were required to collect our bounty to eliminate six bandits in the area. In the morning we will be heading back into the wilds for further exploration and mapping.

April 28, 542
We have made our way NE back to the river and followed E to the farthest point which we have mapped. In the first evening of our journey to this point, once again a pack of wolves showed up around camp. As before, they showed no aggression towards the party. Perhaps this is some sort of omen. Perhaps I should have discussions with Kerigan, knowing that she seems to be quite in tune with nature. The following morning the wolves were gone. The remainder of the journey to the outskirts of our explorations was uneventful, and we have pitched camp for the night. Tomorrow we will once again be setting foot into unknown lands.

May 2, 542
For the past four days the party has been exploring to the east along the river. On our first day of exploring further into the forests we encountered a pack of wild boars, who seemed less than pleased that we interrupted there gathering. In the fight that ensued, Xavkul and Kris were both nearly killed. These near death experiences are beginning to become far too common for my tastes. I suppose I will need to further improve my abilities to support the party in our adventures. On the plus side, we came away with quite the supply of boar meat to smoke and create bacon with. Needless to say, we could eat well for a few days.

On the following day we stayed camped out to rest from our fight with the pack of boars, and resumed exploration yesterday morning. In the past two days we finished our exploration of the immediate area. In doing so we discovered that the river abruptly ends into what appears to be an underground cavern of sorts. Perhaps someday we can investigate this further. Not far from where the river comes to an end we found what we could only assume to be the corpse of a poacher who had the misfortune of triggering his own trap in the process of rigging it.

Tomorrow we will continue to head to our E into what appears to become plains, so far as we can tell from our scouting the immediate area surrounding camp.

May 6, 542
Due to extenuating circumstances I have not been able to log anything for quite some time. In our second evening exploring the plains we have entered we were greeted by a Willow Whisp. All that we know of this type of creature is that they lure people away into the forest and steal their spirit. During the night the whisp hung around but did not act hostile. The following day we turned our explorations to the SE, still being followed by the whisp.

As we continued through the plains the whisp started to dart away to a patch of woods, and then back to us repeatedly. It almost seemed that it was trying to tell us something. After a short time as a group we decided to investigate the patch of woods together. Upon investigation we discovered a large quantity of traps with skeletal remains of animals, and one in particular held that of a human. We removed the human remains from the trap to give them a proper burial, and in doing so the whisp dissipated. I supposed that the spirit could finally rest now that the body received proper burial rights.

In this same area we discovered a notable landmark. There was a set of cairn stones, which as far as Paikea could translate, were constructed as a burial site for an ancient chieftain’s son. It looked as if they have been here for at least one hundred years.

May 10, 542
We have spent the past four days exploring more plains to begin a loop back toward the hold. There has been nothing noteworthy in this time. Whether this be good or bad is in the eye of the beholder I suppose. I have enjoyed the break from violent battles, however, I get the feeling that Xavkul grows impatient in his time of having nothing to hit.

May 12, 542
Over the past two days we have made our way back to the hold. Upon arrival we were troupe. We were informed that bandit activity has increased as of late. They also had a letter from the king intended for Soreon. Our party has been tasked with eliminating the Flame Lord. In return for his head we will be granted 500 gold and a settlement charter. Nobody in the camp seemed very thrilled about the charter to settle the lands. I personally think that most of them like the remoteness that currently exists.

May 13, 542
We have ventured back out for further exploration, and along the way stopped in to visit Bachen at his hut. We spent this evening discussing various things about the bandits and his business ventures, particularly related to the bandits. We intend to spend the evening here and head out in the morning.

May 15, 542
The past two days we have spent exploring more plains. Earlier today we stumbled across what seemed to be a bone yard. Soon after, we discovered the culprit of the mess of bones. There was trap-door spider that launched an ambush on us and tried to grab Paikea. Luckily the spider was given a swift death before it could bite anyone, because we discovered it is definitely poisonous. In investigating the spiders hole, we discovered a corpse and ruined gear. The corpse was grasping a map that seemed to indicate some sort of treasure that is buried beneath the large tree that we previously discovered in another area. Specifically, this is the landmark tree that was struck by lightning.

We spent the remainder of the day carefully exploring in hopes to avoid any additional spiders of this sort. I shall be glad to get out of this area in the morning. I do not much care for large insects and arachnids.

May 19, 542
We have spent another uneventful four days exploring to the W and S into plains. I begin to contemplate whether I prefer the forest over the plains. While the forest usually holds more trouble for us, it at least has scenery that changes, and does not feel like you have been walking in place endlessly.

May 21, 542
The past two days we have been exploring the last bit of plains to the W of the hold before turning back. On this night we spotted a camp fire in the distance and opted to not build our own fire. Instead we have ventured to investigate the source of the fire. Upon further investigation we have come to discover that the fire belongs to an elf, Kira, who seems likely to be a druid, and her cat companion. She informed us that she is on her way to trade with Iscar and other merchants at the hold.

Over the course of the evening we discussed the bandit threat, and learned that she travels this route quite frequently. She is also quite familiar with the bandits. She mentioned that they once offered her a place in their ranks, which lucky for us, she declined. Perhaps we should travel with this Kira on our return trip back to the hold. We will just have to see in the morning.

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The Journal of Xavian Grey Part II
Xavian's Journal

April 5, 542
Last night our party had and odd, but possibly beneficial encounter. In the middle of the night we were awoken by a drunken half-orc who stumbled into our camp to use our campfire to relieve himself. Shortly after, he passed out near the fire. Only a short time after an elven druid arrived to inform us that she was searching for her traveling companion, the half-orc. It was then that we found out that the half-orc’s name is Xavkul and he is a barbarian of the wilds, and the druid’s name is Kerigan. Their exact motivations for traveling the area are unknown, but we reached an agreement that they will aide us in our explorations of the area, at least for now.

April 7, 542
For the past three days, following the arrival of our new companions, we have explored a new area of plains to the immediate west of our previous location. On April 6th we discovered a very large tree that has been struck by lightning, a very noteworthy landmark to place on our map. Upon discovery of this tree the party also encountered a very strange creature, that to my knowledge none of us know what it was. The creature was definitely humanoid, but it was far too small to be any form of human, elf or orc. It was also faster than any other creature I have ever encountered personally.

The remainder of this exploration was quite uneventful, other than some unexplained rustling in the woods outside the camp last night.

April 9, 542
The party has decided to adventure into the next territory to the southwest. This area was more plains, and for the most part the trip was uneventful. While exploring the area we stumbled across a hut, which late this evening we found out to belong to a hermit of sorts. His name is Bachen and he brews assorted potions for travelers of the area. He also does business with Iscar’s post. Perhaps he may be a hedge witch, but currently it seems that it will be beneficial to know this Bachen given that he can provide us with various brews from time to time for our adventures.

We discovered the hut belonged to Bachen upon passing him on the road. He has offered to allow us to stay at his place, which is where we are currently preparing to get some rest. Kerigan has made dinner, and in the conversations that have been carried we have reached an agreement with Bachen to assist him with gathering needed herbs in return for a small discount on potions that we may need in the future.

April 12, 542
These past two days, after leaving Bachen’s hut, have been quite uneventful. The time has been spent exploring more plains to the southeast of Bachen’s. Perhaps there will be something more interesting in the near future.

April 14, 542
Again, I feel like this journal entry is lacking a bit of spice. The past two days have been, once again, more plains. We decided to head west to begin our journey back to the hold. It seems that these plains will never end.

April 16, 542
The party has made our way back to the hold. We are have all been roughed up and are in need of some nice rest and recovery time. In the process of returning back to Iscar’s we stumbled across a terrible creature, of very substantial side. This creature I speak of can only be described as a very large centipede, and it obviously had the desire to devour anything that crossed its path. This encounter was less of a fight, and more of a struggle to survive and get the party safely away. Luckily, Kerigan was able to use her powers to gain the creatures good graces and lead it away from the party before escaping to return to us.

Upon arrival back here at the hold, those of us who had previously been here, noticed that there were three fresh graves outside of the camp. We quickly learned that the graves belonged to more bandits who arrived at the camp in search of the bandits that were dealt with when we first arrived in these lands. It would seem that Keston and his men swiftly took care of the bandits without much trouble, seeing as how none of them suffered any injury. We also had to explain our new companions to everyone at the post. Many seem uneasy about Xavkul’s presence. It is hard to tell if the unrest is due to him being a barbarian, and the notorious behaviors associated with them, or that he is a half-orc. Personally I think it is a combination of both. Perhaps with time everyone will grow to accept his presence if all stays well.

April 18, 542
The past two days have been spent recovering and in preparation for further adventuring into the wilds. This time has also given the opportunity to become better acquainted with our new companions. As usual, Soreon spent much time tinkering with the catapults in hopes that he can soon get them functioning to aide with defense against bandits, and anything else that would threaten the hold.

We plan to head back out for more exploration first thing in the morning.

April 19, 542
Today we have made our way to the farthest point of exploration to pitch camp for the night. So far there have been no troubles. Hopefully we can uncover some new and exciting things in the coming days as we adventure into the adjoining forest.

April 22, 542
We are two days into our time needed to explore and map this section of forest, but it is difficult to write tonight. The party is in great danger, and lucky to be alive at this moment. None us our doing well, and Xavkul is barely hanging onto life.

Perhaps I should explain. Today, as we explored we caught wind oof the distinct smell of a wood fire. Upon investigation Paikea discovered that we had come across a bandit outpost. Unfortunately as she discovered this, she was also spotted by one of the bandits that held a watchtower. A deadly fight followed.

As Paikea came running back to the party, we all noticed that she was being trailed by a large group of bandints. Some with bows, and some with short swords. They were led by a female who dual wielded hand axes. She matched the description of the female who had originally been coming to Iscar’s hold to collect taxes with her men. I think during this fight all of us, except for Soreon, fell unconscious at least at one point. I did everything I could to keep everyone standing, and luckily for myself, when I fell Paikea was able to locate one of the potions in my pack and administer it to me. It was very unfortunate that I could not aide Xavkul, for he had charged far ahead on the rest of us. He had fallen to a combination of traps in the forest and physical assault from the bandits. This is why he is currently hanging onto life by a thread. The turning point in the fight, and probably the only reason that we are still alive, was when Paikea managed to douse the bandit leader with an alchemical fire. This opened the leader up to a brutal assault from Kerigan’s sickle. Kerigan buried her wepon into the bandit’s chest as she was screaming in agony from the alchemical fire. This was the point when the remainder of the bandits fled in fear for their own lives.

We have scouted the camp for anything useful and to ensure that we are safe for now. Everyone has been tending each other’s wounds in hopes that we will make it through the night. I am going to do all that I can to ensure that Xavkul makes it through this night. If we are lucky, we will be able to make our way back to the hold tomorrow to fully regain our health. I will update further at my next opportunity.

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Paikea Star - Letters Home II

April 22

Dear Father,

I am sitting in the former camp of a group of brigands that have been exhorting money from merchants and the trader at Isca’s Hold. The cleric in our group has been patching me up. I took several arrows in our fight. At one point I know I lost consciousness. I am giving thanks that I am alive to tell the tail.

Father, I am feeling dazed – not because of my wounds but because of the fight. As we were traveling and mapping the territory the King commissioned us to explore we heard noises up ahead. I snuck up to the edge of the camp and observed the brigands and hid watching them. After finishing my reconnaissance I tried to sneak back to my friends. I stepped on a blasted dried branch and it snapped. The noise drew the attention of a brigand and I had to run back to my cohort, setting off traps as I ran – though I avoided them.

Dad, I led all the brigands right to my friends. I am such a failure, I could barely warn them quickly enough to let them react before the rain of arrows descended on us. The fight was most difficult – the worst we have faced. By now I was beginning to expect how Xavian (cleric of Pelor), Kris (paladin of Pelor), and Soreon would react in a fight. I had confidence we could work as a team. However we have picked up a couple of others in our group – of all things we have met at Elf in this woods who goes by Kerigan and a 1/2 Orc named Xavkul. It was hard to predict how they would react in a fight.

During the fight I was able to move around looking for vulnerable foes. At one point I attracted the attention of the brigand leader. She was a horrid woman who dual wielded hand-axes. I knew I would not be successful at firing arrows at her in such close range – so I poured alchemical fire on her. Oh Father, it was awful. I can still smell the burning of her flesh and hair. When her face scrunched up in pain – my soul wrenched. It was awful – the pain I caused her, was not noble. When I am next in town I will have to fast and pray for this transgression – though at what temple I am not sure.

I am full of doubt now, Father. What if I do not have the stomach for this? I managed to hide my disgust in the fight because there was no time to dwell on what I did – there were others that needed to be fired upon with my bow and the steel of my rapier. After the fight when the cleric brought me back to consciousness the pain of wounds was almost as bad as the pain my guilt was causing.

I must toughen myself – I am not sure how to do that. I could use your advise on this. I do not want to fail in my tasks. Its odd how things others find so hard come so easy to me – but suddenly I am confronted by something that does not come easy to me. Even though they were brigands that stole, caused pain and suffering, and killed citizens of Landinium I feel bad about killing them. I am not a sissy nor a coward – I just never expected taking the life of someone to be so damaging to my own soul. I suppose I will also talk to Xavian and Kris about this. They may have religious advice on how to cleanse myself of this guilt.

I will recover and not dwell on this. My friends and I have to much to do to mope. As soon as we are able to travel we will continue on in our endeavor to map this territory for the King. We have hard rumors of goblins raiding anyone traveling on a nearby river. We are planning on clearing them out and driving them from this land. I wonder if I will feel the same way about any goblin deaths. If I don’t what does that say about me? I will be strong Father, I just needed to talk this out with someone I trust and I trust you over anyone else.

By the time I get back to Isca’s Hold and send this letter to you – I will be fully recovered from my injuries – though I should have a few scars to prove I was hurt. I know time will help me heal other parts of me that are injured.

I look forward to the next time I am able to see you and the rest of our family.

Love,
Paikea

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Session II - Into the bandit forest

Having spent the last night at a gold mine, the party met up with two new members… a half-orc berzerker named Xavkul Mankin and an elven druid with a wolverine animal companion.

On their way back to Isca’s Hold, they encountered a giant centipede creature, which at about fifteen feet long, was more than a match for the party. The venomous creature dropped several party members before the elf managed to charm the beast and lure it away from the party.

Poisoned and sick, the party staggered to the hold where they took a couple of days off for rest and recovery. Three new bandit graves had been added to the growing cemetery and the party learned that a bandit attack had been stymied while they were gone by the hold’s newfound guards.

Soreon Silvermane Sorben took a day to help repair one of the catapults, and Xavkul Mankin was sent to fetch some rope (to prevent him from breaking anything).

Following some rumoured goblin attacks in the forest to the northeast, the party ventured that way and after following the river that they had discovered previously, found a bandit camp near the embankment some thirty miles from the Hold.

Perhaps these bandits were the ones troubling Isca?

Paikea Star snuck up to investigate, finding the camp filled with men in ratted leather armor sharpening swords, and a female dressed in studded leathers and twirling bronze dwarven hand axes in either hand.

Seeing enough, the rogue snuck back down the path but was spotted by a bandit in a tree stand. The arrows began flying and an alarm bell was sounded, as Paikea took off down the road in full run, being staggered by a trap but making it back to her friends ok.

The clanging bell drove Xavkul into a fury, and he charged headlong into the forest, falling prey to a trapped log that stabbed at him, leaping over a pit trap, and eventually ending up amidst the entire bandit mob.

They looked at him for a moment, and then arrows filled the half-orc and brought him low, before the woman with the axes directed the charge. The bandits broke off into two forces, one coming down the roadway and the other through the forest.

The party split up as well, with Soreon planting his tower shield in the road and being flanked by Xavian Grey, with Paikea behind adding her support via ranged bow attacks.

Kris IV and the elf took the left forested area where the berzerker had raged through, and were met by the woman and a couple of bandits. The woman with the axes proved to be a fantastic warrior, chopping through Kris’s armor and dropping him with one hit before being set on by the wolverine that accompanied the elf.

The battle on the road was also desperate, with bandits dropping to Soreon’s glaive and Xavian’s weapon. Raging on, it ebbed and flowed, with the elf dropping and then Paikea dropping. Xavian was doing his best to keep the healing powers of Pelor flowing and it was enough to make a difference, bringing back the elf and Kris to hold up the axe wielding warrior woman.

It was the elf of all people that dropped the woman with her sickle through the lady’s chest. Beaten, the remaining bandits fled, leaving five of their number dead on the road. The party did not get away unscathed, for nearly all save Soreon suffered some severe wounds in the fight.

They now rest at the bandit camp, attempting to gather their strength, and the loot from the camp…

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