(This entry is undated, but the first one in this book. It is written in a beautiful yet easy-to-read Elvish script.)
In the event of my death, certain persons should be informed. It is not necessary to meet these persons, merely to drink in Sheasbury and speak loudly of my death; someone shall show a particular interest, and I would have you give them this journal. Please consider any monies or items of value on my person to be used towards this purpose, and the remainder as a reward, save one item: my bow, carved with the tongue of my people, should be returned to the same; they will welcome you for it.
(The rest of the book is written in precise Draconic, with Elvish notes in the marginalia.)
Let us begin this tale in Sheasbury. That is, of course, where this morbidness starts. My past has yet to come into things, and it would be good if it could remain so. I accompanied a small group of reputedly skilled persons to Alaspar with the intent of assisting with some reported issues. I suppose this is a good time for introductions.
My name is (Elven) Laiquaphalathel of the Natalynnmyr. (/Elven)
I am accompanied at this point in the story by several adventurers. Amben, and female half-blood, and her ridiculously large companion, a wolf – she seems to have it under control, though I sense no malignant sorceries involved. Baulder, naming himself the Fellblade, wielding a blade nearly as tall as himself, and with the marks of creatures I cannot yet identify upon his armour – though I thought little of him at first, we’ve developed a close friendship after the Elven ways, and he might yet earn my true name. Rasgo, a bald and tattoed man of most interesting abilities and insights, though a little odd of demeanour. Zephyrus, one of those blasted Dwarves, and nearly as clumsy as expected with that scythe of his – despite his failings, I cannot deny that he is favoured by his gods, and deserves an appropriate amount of respect in acknowledgement of that. We also had a halfing with us, a shifty little one, though he took off some time ago, and has yet to be seen – no doubt he merely took advantage of our protection on the road, and other things back in Sheasbury. Alas, the full tale on that has yet to become known to me.
I discovered sometime on the road that we were followed by a creature in the shape of a small feline. It is not of our dimension, though I will say no more on the matter. It has been helpful, though I can only guess at its agenda, if any.
We smelled smoke as we approached Alaspar. The fires were not so terrible they could not be quelled. We discovered a twisted goblin inside a shed filled with butchered human remains. A likely distraction while the arsonist made his getaway, goblins being well-known for their love of fire. Alas, the entire episode was merely a distraction for their attack. Many goblins and a few bugbears came along for it and were repelled with little trouble. I summoned an illusion which kept them at bay while our group and some of the townspeople slaughtered the disgusting creatures. We managed to keep some prisoners, and used one of them to track the goblin lair, with the help of two local trappers.
Alas, the halfling was gone by this point; I expect he would have made a good scout for the next part. The lair is quite large – many goblins lived here. It was enough of a challenge for us to gain entry to the cave. I still sleep only a little, for fear my dreams should be tained by memories of the battle that ensued: I am convinced, for all our clever tactics and good decisions, only luck brought us through that – and the cat. I grow more and more fearful of its agenda, seeing some of the things it can do; I am sure I’ve only seen the barest glimpse of what it can do.
We managed to find some rest, and most of the kids, that night. The goblins had a tendency to use the children as hostages, and we managed to rescure all but one. Along the way we picked up a girl older than the rest who proved capable in assisting us – she holds the name Rose, and while at first I feared she had been despoiled by the goblins and bugbears, my fears held false, and she seems sound of mind. The goblins were not terribly organised, though one of their number, name Scilla, told us the truth of what was happening, and now accompanies us, hopefully to make peace with the humans: some sort of powerful sorcer has enscorceled them with magics of obeyance most deranged. Know they not that magics change oneself as much as the reality around oneself? To make others malleable of mind, one must become malleable of mind oneself – surely it will be the downfall of this sorcerer, for I regret to say he was not slain, escaping by means of teleportation. I can only hope his spell has been ended. The goblins themselves are mostly dead, so I do not expect he will return for them, as they will give him little power. It is not as clean a resolution as I had hoped for, but I fear it must suffice.
Amben came out from the ordeal paralysed. The priest tends her now, and I am confident of her recovery; the priest raised the one slain child from the dead, clearly a sign of great favour from his god. If divine magic can aid Amben, surely his hand is skillful enough to guide it. Whether she will continue adventuring after such injuries remains to be seen, and has surely been the end of more than one tale.
One other did appear during our battle against the sorcerer: I know not his name, but he wears a mask at all times and claims to have been hunting the demon who was summoned to battle us, being drawn in with the summoning spell. I am yet suspicious of his story, for all I have heard of demons tells me the magic required to bring them to this plane is different from that which affects mortal creatures – this requires more study.
There were other issues plaguing Alaspar, and I fear they are not entirely solved; we slew an Ankheg, a terrible creature that lives in the ground and preys on livestock. What brought it here is unknown to me, but I fear future migrations of such and shall do what I can to arrange against this, but I am not entirely certain where to start. There was one man who has seen more than a little battle here and I hope I can entrust him with funds towards the defence of the town. Before we leave, I hope to convince those trackers to keep an eye out for future ankhegs, and perhaps I can send them information from Sheasbury, some natural studies they can glean useful data from. If my mentors’ teachings have brought me any wisdom, it is that knowledge is the most powerful tool and weapon of all.
The slaughter of the cave still haunts my dreams, but it is not the only thing. What my dreams show me is not yet clear, but my intuition tells me the cat, naming herself Floaty Ball in the common tongue, is entwined in this somehow; my dreams taking on this new path coincides too neatly with her appearance. And I have the sense of war brewing, a great battle in the heavens, in dimensions beyond ours – perhaps the dimension whence this cat hails? I am fearful of such events, and the ramifications here on the Material Plane. Those of arcane heritage are still feared, so many years after the wars. Could this be the catalyst for such a fear of divine powers, as well? And what manner of being manipulates the heavens in such a manner, and to what end or advantage? I have only guesses on these topics, ill-informed. My schooling in the histories of our world and the other planes will give me an advantage in deciphering the riddle behin this, though I think it will be only a small advantage, and that perhaps it is far too late. I must find if anyone else has seen such things, and what they truly mean.
I grow weary of writing of my fears. There are a few rays of hope. Rasgo, while closed-off at first, reveals more to us each day of his unique abilities. Zephyrus has mostly kept his clothes on, and his Dwarven ways to himself. The battles, while frantic, have given me chances I would not have expected, and I have had much experimentation with my magic – I almost feel like I’ve learned more these last weeks and I had through decades of training. I command many new spells, and have even learned to summon the magics purely with my mind, body, and study; I see now that the props of magic are just that – props – and may substituted with proper concentration. While I have gained many answers, they lead only to more questions to ponder and study. I feel the flow of this world’s energies more easily each day, as my people always claimed I would. It is a peace of sorts in a world with little enough of that to offer me.
My friendship with Baulder has grown so very quickly, I feel we are almost brothers. Last night we undertook the Elvish rite of melliur at’orio together with Rose, though I confess I was heavy into the cups that night, and so it was not properly consecrated, and not official – not yet, anyway. I shall have to explain the Elven ways to these two sometime in the future, and see if we are compatible for such a thing.
We shall return to Sheasbury soon, I expect. The immediate dangers that we’re aware of have been foiled. I look forward to a few weeks of rest, study, and recovery. It has been a trying adventure.