We arrived in Sera Tin-Opal and were met there by Aurora Inistra who discussed with us the missing Valiants of the Everwatch Keep and the oracle. It seems that Aurora is clearly an ally. She has concerns about the oracle and believes in what my uncle has to say. She says that she is helping us in an unofficial capacity, as many here also do not believe what the oracle has to say. Complacency runs rife through Bellenos, apparently. She has asked us to travel north and see what is going on with the Valiants who have not reported in by bird message in a number of weeks. Apparently, she (and my uncle) think the two may be connected. She also mentioned that there was unrest in Rooin due to attacks by Fyrnorian giants. This has put pressure and tension on the Glorisons of Rooin and because of this some trade caravans had been treated poorly there – some wagons and people have even gone missing. After talking, she sent us with one of her underlings to an inn where we rested from the journey east. He gathered supplies for us, and we spoke one last time with Aurora and departed for Rooin, a journey that was to take several weeks time. Hopefully when we return successfully from our mission, Aeylan willing, I can make arrangements for Aurora to give me an intimate tour of Sera Tin-Opal.
Travel through Phaedrii was pleasant and no trouble came our way. As we neared the border with Rooin, things changed. We met a caravan that was almost kept from leaving Rooin by the closing of the border. Dragoslav cleverly purchased some trinkets from the caravan master, which made him more forthcoming in his talk. We debated a number of ideas on how to get into Rooin, but the weather and mountainous conditions made it unlikely that we could get around the border pass without great difficulty and posing as tradesman seemed unlikely to work, so I decided that the truth (as Aeylan teaches) was the best way through.
When we arrived at the border crossing, it looked like they had crafted a small fort to guard the crossing and keep people out (and in?) Rooin. A number of caravans had made a makeshift camp outside the walls having been refused entrance. I approached the commander there, spoke of our mission, mentioned that the Warmaster (?) of Rooin would have liked to help with the investigation of the missing Valiants, but was unable to because of the incursions of the giants (we had heard this from ______). Through Aeylan’s guidance, I was successful and as we passed through the gates, we were warned to be wary on the road since they were not as safe as usual.
Our first stop was Warwatch, the capital city. Our friend Krug seemed (again) to draw some unkindly looks and I had to persuade the innkeeper of the one inn in Warwatch that he was not going to be made to sleep in the stables. I had a bit of entertainment as Dragoslav was caught checking out the innkeeper’s wife. It looked like it could’ve come to a nasty encounter, but Yotho swept in to rescue his master’s by purchasing an expensive bottle of wine. It diffused the tension, but I do find it interesting that Dragoslav and his man like to solve problems by spending money. However, money doesn’t buy loyalty, trust, and honor – hopefully they will learn this lesson. But I may have also learned a lesson – instead of intervening as I probably should have, my irritance at Dragoslav got the best of me and I made the choice to watch instead of act. What would’ve happened had the innkeeper turned violent? Was that momentary guilty pleasure worth the risk of bloodshed? I must do better. One other note about Yotho – he mentioned that in his youth he was poor and needed to steal bread. As much as I don’t understand the plight of the poor, this seems an excuse not worth much – how many of the poor live lives of honest work – not stealing from their brethren to survive? And how does someone with unscrupulous habits end up involved with a noble family of Mun-Palass? I’m interested in both his past and that of Dragoslav and his family…I’m sure our time together will allow me to learn about them.
We left Warwatch to head north to the town of Redlarch, a town we heard not so many good things about in our travels. If there is a center of the anger and inhospitality of Rooin, it seems like it could be here. As we travelled we soon found that the Glorison at the gate was correct about the danger of this road. As we ate dinner on a blustery night two days out of Warwatch, Dragoslav heard a scream through the wind. Moving quickly to find the source, we sighted a cave which clearly was a base for bandits plaguing the road and they had captured their most recent wagon and captives. Krug and I made our way straight toward the debris of a wagon in front of the cave entrance, while Dragoslav and Yotho worked around to a flanking position. We saw two goblins and though we killed one the other escaped past Yotho and Dragoslav. Still hearing cries, I made the call not to pursue the last goblin into the woods and instead help the captives.
We entered the cave which had both a path and a stream the led out of it. Sticking to the path we came across two chained “guard-wolves” which I’m sure alerted the rest of the goblins to our presence. Luckily they could not reach us because of their chains and we moved ahead quickly. As we examined the room from the entrance, I realized that we were dealing with more than bandits. The unholy, evil monster in charge of this operation was hanging its dead victims from chains above the wolves heads, where I assume they would use them as food. As much as I wanted to give the dead a rightful burial, it was more important to focus on the living, so we ventured further into the stream. Turning a corner, I was shot at by two goblins on a platform above the walkway and stream. It took us longer than it should have to deal with them (in fact one fled to alert others) but eventually Krug lifted Dragoslav up to the platform and he dispatched the goblin in one thrust.
Thinking that the passage at the top of the platform was going to connect up with the path we had been following, we split up with me accompanying Dragoslav on the upper level and Krug and Yotho moving around the lower level. Sure enough, I was correct and we found four armed goblins waiting for us. Two went for each group. Dragoslav and I both finished ours quickly, while Krug was even quicker using some sort of magic that he naturally invokes. Smashing the ground with his huge hammer, he created a thunderous explosion that killed both goblins and sent them flying, as well as leaving a ringing in my ears. If they hadn’t known we were in the cave (which they did) they definitely would know now!
We then entered the final chamber where the screaming had been coming from all along. In the chamber was a poor trading family who were caged by the mad creature running this bandit hellhole, a Kanondan Bloodslaker, a worshiper of Khloh K’tan, god of blood and torture, which makes everything we had seen make sense. He had a few goblins serving him and we went to battle. One thing I nearly forgot was the bear he had also caged. I was concerned that it was his “pet”, but turned out to be wild and not under his control. The battle was pitched with the Bloodslaker seemingly stronger than Krug and more skilled in combat than myself. However, teamwork won the day. As Krug and I battled the Bloodslaker, Dragoslav worked on the goblins and Yotho unleashed some powerful magic that caused lightning to continually blast into the Kanondan. Teamwork was paramount here as the rest of the three of us defended Yotho from attacks so he could maintain his concentration on the magic. Eventually this, Krug and my attacks, purfied with the blessings of Aeylan allowing me to smite the creature, and with the bear breaking loose and attacking that demon, allowed glory to come to Aeylan by putting that beast down where he can cause no more harm or chaos in this world. We, of course freed the captives and found enough supplies for them to make it back to where they came from, along with some goods to raise money with, some of which was theirs anyway. We found our first “treasure” which is why most people go on these adventures. This has no meaning to me except as a way to send a tithe in honor of Aeylan to my church and also to better equip ourselves for the fight ahead.
Unfortunately, my decision not to pursue the goblin came back to haunt us, as the goblin that escaped from in front of the cave took our ponies with most of our supplies. Now we must turn back to Redrorch or Warwatch to use our treasure that we found to resupply for the trip north. Hopefully this delay will not be a hinderance to our mission.
One thing that concerns me or that I question is whether this type of evil has always been here or if it is a manifestation of the predictions that we our looking into. Is this just a harbinger of things to come? If so, what horrors are we to face? I must pray to Aeylan to give us strength to bring light to the world.
I’ve come back to the journal a few hours since I last wrote. Another concern has crept into my mind. The lightning that Yotho used…was that similar to what the necromancer used on mea year ago? If so, is it just magic that can be used by anyone or only the evil? Did Yotho use it because he had to, or did he enjoy using it. Is that any different between the joy I feel as Aeylan’s blessing pours through me blessing my weapon to unleash holy damage on those opposing his will? I must be cautious around my companions…but how can we succeed if we don’t trust another. I wish I had my father or uncle nearby to hear their counsel, or some other Valiant…but I guess this is my path and the choices I need to make…may Aeylan let me see the light and the truth.