Scales of War
Letter from Denkstrum to Alain and the rest of the First Foreign Legion of Brindol
Hello my friend. I hope the land that you have traveled has worn easy on your soul. I have heard of your exploits in clearing out a Gnoll Fortress around Bridnol. I hope you were able to make it through without more losses. It has been less than peaceful in the area around my homeland in the Feywild. The summons of an old friend named Naktor the Invisible took me by surprise, but the information he had could only be acted upon by myself alone. I’m sorry to have left you and the Legion in such a state, but maters of the homeland took precedence.
When i arrived in the Feywild, my family were foreign to me. Naktor the Invisible, was the only one that seemed to act normal, if not more paranoid than normal, and he told me that my family and friends had been replaced by shape-shifting beings of some sort. My family had been in charge of monitoring travels between the planes for our people. Something was obviously afoot. Naktor and myself followed one of my sister… thing… through to another plane. It was there we found a mage by the name of Malida the Dark and her henchman, Jain the crippled were behind a plot to cause the Eladrin to go to war with the humans in Brindol. They were planning on driving a wedge between the Eladrin and Humans by impersonating a human assassination attempt against our King. They were going to use agents impersonating my family to “allow” several assassins to enter our land.
Naktor was able to sneak us into Malida’s Tower and we forged new orders for the shape shifting impersonators. It was unfortunate that Jain found us at that time and after a brief battle, Naktor blast Jain out a window of the tower. We escaped through the portal in the tower and Naktor disabled it from the other side. We delivered the new forged orders to the imposters and set up a trap. Group by group, each set of imposters entered a dark warehouse only to find what they thought was their target, another group of imposters. They fought each other to death till only 3 remains. Naktor and myself picked off the last two and captured the third. With his confession delivered to the King, we were given the honor of free travel between the Feywild and the Human lands. The Eladrin nation is on edge now that it finds forces working against it, but I must now travel back to Malida’s tower and find what happened to my family, if any of them are still alive.
Alain, keep me updated on your travels, and let me know when you are in need to my skills. It may be a while before I can find a way back into Malida’s tower.
Day 23 We continued on into the next room after finishing off several of the dark creepers and the hounds. What we saw there appeared to be Modra himself. These rune carved portals seem to litter this underground rooms as two more where in this room. Modra summoned 6 wrights which our newish ally Cirian informed us he knew about and that they would be very difficult to destroy. I spotted Modra hiding in some rubble and bamphed in to try and finish him off. I thought if we could kill or capture him the wraiths would leave. Feramore followed me in to attack Modra. The rubble he was hiding in proved difficult for any of us to hit each other. I struck out at Modra’s head and it should have split open his forehead but he ducked behind a piece of rubble at the last second. Modra lashed out at Feramore twice, slicing up the goliaths forearms. Modra then proved himself a coward and ran for his portal. Feramore proved himself to be far more nimble that he looked and cut off the little bastards escape, wounding the fiend greatly. It was my chance to dispatch him now but I stumbled on the rubble. I tried again and Modra danced away, grinning at me. He placed his hands on the portal and was sucked through, leaving us to deal with the wraiths.
It was here that I saw Alain surrounded by the wraiths. I struck one of the fiends a massive blow but my sword seemed to just pass through smoke, while wounding it, not s greatly as i might have wounded an orc. We fought the creatures for a time, each doing our best but only Cirian really able to call upon his divine powers to hurt the fiends. first Alain fell, and then Feramore. I knew that we needed to fallback or we might quickly become overwhelmed. I tied a rope off to Alain and then took off towards the door, dragging his unconscious body to the exit. I threw a stray shurikien that must have been blessed at some point along it’s life as it vanquished one of the wraiths where it stood. I pulled Alain from the room and the rest of the part followed, Feramore somehow standing again. While i tried to heal Alain as he was near death, his wounds were too serious for me to save him. Roogen then came over and while I was suspicious of him, he bandaged Alain’s wounds and saved him from bleeding out. Roogen coudl have let Alain die, but he didn’t. I could see the scorch marks upon Alain from Roogen’s fire seeds but Roogen is proving himself to me. While I have never told him of my suspicions about how he lived through the Farstrider debacle, he has shown mixed skills in contributing to our party. Maybe Fate just likes to play with him. Fate perhaps allowed him to live where the rest of his party died. Maybe Fate seeks to balance the favor it once showed Roogen by cursing his attacks to hit allies and blast them. It would be a one in a thousand chance that all of these events would occur if not for Fate.
Or he could be working for Modra…. But his saving of Alain now calls that into question. For if there is no fate, then perhaps Roogan is just damn lucky to have survived the Far Striders deaths and just incompetent to keep attacking his new friends. For now he fights for us and i trust him more after his bandaging of Alain’s wounds.
As we prepare to reenter the rooms below, I swear that Modra will spill his secrets to me and shall not escape for a second time….
Day 22(The Night)
After dark fell, we searched for more information related to Modra. We found out that he had worked a job in Bordin’s Watch during the siege that didn’t go nearly as well as planned for him. We tracked down a dwarf that served in Bordin’s Watch and I bought him a round of drinks. We chatted away about the war and how we brought down the Nexus. It turned out that he had heard of Modra. Modra supplied weapons to the Orc and Troll clans up in the mountains. Good weapons. We then traveled down to the shanty and hit up a few weapons dealers for information. It turns out Modra knew we were aiming for him. He left a message with the weapon dealer for us to find him at the Happy Beggar Inn. I scouted the place and it looked legit but several party members insisted on entering with weapons drawn intending to intimidate the lot of beggars that were inside. They were quickly surprised to find a hamlet of Palor and many people praying. I smoothed things over with the innkeep through some gold and explaining about our last temple of Palor that we entered. He had heard of the place and seemed to understand. An old man stated he had seen Modra before trying to get down stairs but had chased him off in years past. We headed downstairs.
Behind a locked door we found a pile of rubble that the new comers Rugen and Cyrian quickly pointed out. It was strange that they were able to find it so quickly. I am trying to trust them more as they have proven their worth in battle several times over, but their stories and background have never come together for me. You see, outside the Happy Begger, we ran into a Half-Elf female that claimed to be a sister of one of the Far Striders. Yet Rugen seemed lost as to the name of his previous compainino, or why one of his companions would have whispered that name to her sister who she had not seen for 2 years. Was Rugen involved in the killing of the Far Striders and now trying to undermine our mission? Is Rugen allied with the Modra? I feel this is not so because of his recent actions below the Happy Beggar. His chance to betray us came and past without him lifting a finger against us…..or did it? Now that I think about it, I must rethink my position. But let me tell you of this fight.
We had fought past several bats when we entered a room containing about 5 of those little dark elf things, a female witch, and several dark caged beasts. Cyrian proved his loyalty and dutifully attacked the high witch. As did Fermar, myself and Harhark. Alain bravely rushed to the other side of the room and tied up three of the dark elf things. Rugen was in the back and took a little time to join the fight. Yet when he did, his attacks were aimed at allies! Alain took several flaming attacks, while they damaged those enemies around him, they were clearly aimed in his direction. Rugen also cast some horrid wind that knocked Fermar unconscious while we was fighting 2 of the dark elf things!! If there was ever a dark time in that battle, it was at that moment that Rugen knocked Fermar unconscious. Those dark dog beasts were ripping into Harharks flesh and Alains leg. I leapt to action and sent out several shrukiens that blinded a dark elf, one of the dark beasts, as well as lodging in the eye of the witch, killing her where she stood. Alain and myself worked at dispatching the dark dog beast next which turned the tide of the battle into our favor along with the defeat of the witch. Harhark heroically raised Fermar to his feet and got him fighting again, as well as lending Alain strength to continue fighting. Cyrian expertly fought the last dark dog beast, slaying it after Fermar pinned it to the wall in a blind rage. Rugen worked his magic some more, wounding the dark elves, but after the tide of the battle was turned in our favor, did not attack us anymore.
I could chalk it up to coincidence or he could have tried to betray us then and we just did not realize it in the heat of battle. There have just been too many off things about his story that havn’t added up, the latest this half-elf that seems to know more about the Far Striders than he does. This concerns me greatly. I will have to keep a closer eye upon him, and maybe discuss this situation with Harhark.
For now we rest in this room before a set of archs. We will continue on soon. Should I live to see the light of day again, there will be another journal entry, another saga to tell, and hopefully no more deaths to mourn.
May another moon always shine upon your still mind.
Day 22 Trouble plauges us at every turn. No sooner than we adopt a company name, the First Foreign Legion of Brindol, do we attract two new recruits that trail death. I am only to assume that the gods wish for our company to wallow in death for the rest of our days. If that is the case, than so be it. An odd Elf named Cirion Karn, who CLAIMS to have known Eris, and Feremore, a Goliath of large stature. They have brought us a key of…unusual…origin. I knew from my training that it was to a rather complicated device, most likely a magical device of some determinable location and origin. A local town mage was unable to help us any further besides to support my determinations. Both Feremore and Cirion Karn joined our company as they supposedly had link to Eris and knew of Dalan Rah. I wished to take them for a test against some local ruffians that had been plauging our innkeeper, but Alain did not think it was worth our time. I bet our shopkeep would believe it worth our time.
Either way, on our way to meet with the local council about the key, we were ambushed by group of well armed skirmishers. Alain and the dwarf were both dropped, but not fatality. I was able to drop the mage leading the group while our new allies took care of the ambush. All in all it was a good test for them. If they were sent by those that wanted us dead or the key for themselves, we most likely would have been dead at that location. They fought and killed well, especially that Goliath. While they are not clear on their story about Eris, their swords are certainly welcome. I shall have to ask them more on that later.
The Dwarf shapeshifter and the rest spoke with the council while I questioned our prisoner. He spilled his guts to me about everything he knew. The local gang, The Lost Ones, are run by a Delgan out of the Temple of Palor in the 9 bells district. A dark creature that goes by Malor is the one that is looking for the key and seems to have hired Delgan to find it for him.
I wished to notify the council about the extent of the Lost Ones involvement not only in the ‘protection’ racket that they ran with the local shop keeps but their involvement with the deaths of the dwarf surveyor team in connection with the key. Ah but Rugen had other ideas. All Glory for himself, just like the rest of the now dead Farstridders. Questing for Glory in and of itself is what killed his friends in the first place. He would be wiser if he learned from that. He believed that the council would not want to know of a enemy group that kills at will and exerts fear over the people!!!! I was beginning to trust this Rugen for once but his quest for greater glory for himself and his inability to share it with others puts our group at risk and lowered my trust of him.
His golden tongue twisted the ears of my companions to not tell the council. We left to confront this Delgan without any other support or even informing the council of the enemy within their midst…. We almost paid for that.
The temple of Palor was heavily guarded and Delgan himself was an obviously battle scared man. Alain clumsy attempt to pass the key to me caused even the simple guards to notice that we possessed it in their midst. That put us at a distinct dis-advantage. Delgan knew we ahd the key but was intrigued by why we so boldly went their outselves and what we had to offer. I attempted to entice him with the riches that the key might open should he come with us but he dismissed that out of hand. Alain attempted to bribe him to let us free which almost work but the new elf had a good idea. Let Delgan claim that he had the key, and once Malor showed up, let us capture him. Delgan agreed and ignored the obviously possibility as to what was about to happen. Malor killed Delgan’s gaurds and left a notice of bounty upon Delgan’s head. Delgan luckily let us leave in one piece, but we are not much closer to finding Malor than we were before.
The Orcish hordes have stopped beating themselves against the walls finally and the city is working on removing the dead and treating the wounded. My allies and myself were celebrated as heroes for closing the nexus, yet it hardly seems appropriate. A Hero’s party would have survived together and been ingenious. We are just a mercenary band, rushing through recklessly and finding ourselves in a situation where our lack of preparation causes the death of our friends. I still do not trust this new dwarven ally of ours. I was in a hairs breath of sealing the chamber when i saw him running to stop the rising water from engulfing the whole chamber. I believe he was working with the orcs at the time, but one thing stopped me. Harhark’s voice. I do not know if by coincidence or actual chivalry caused the dwarf to help save Harhark’s and Alain’s life. This dwarf says he and his band were all for the glory and that is why they questioned where they were being sent. I’m not sure i like working with someone that has already shown a mismatched ability to match their glory destination. The rest of his party died. and who thinks to make a short legged dwarven adventuring name trying to find GLORY and name themselves the ‘Farstridders’? They were fools and i hope that this dwarf, should he decide to stick around, prove that he is better than the rest of his dead friends. His insistence on rushing through to the Nexus her already caused the death of Dalan Rah. He may find glory at the base of my blade someday should he make the same mistakes again. But I shall play this like a good game of Poker, keep my cards close to my chest, and bluff till I know what my opponent holds.
I am drunk so this may ramble a bit. Not that it matters. This log will probably be found rotting in a swamp should I be so lucky to die someday. Or perhaps i will be able to give it to my god itself. Once again I am left with only the memory of a friend and warrior. Dalen Rah died today. I did not see it, but i was told that i was the cause of it. It’s the reason i am drunk right now!! I don’t usually touch the drink, yet Dalen Rah knew how to enjoy it. I still remember the first time i collared his ass. He disappeared right before my eyes! Now the town watch and myself tracked him down later that night but the audacity of him was astounding. Not to mention his willingness to work with me in exchange for drink and money, usually in that order. He and I became a sort of pair, exchanging information, never really friends, but we would come to mutual agreements. I am told that he died to save two others of our group. Had he not done these acts, it would most likely that i would be alone today writing these words.
Our mission was to destroy a Nexus, a hive of orc tunnels that was feeding their army with more and more warriors. We fought our way in but faced increasingly difficulty odds. I stepped the through the Fey Wilds and took immediately to the control boxes. My allies stood their ground and held off the orcs, distracting them from our true mission. As i activated the control panels to flood the Nexus and stem the tide of orcs, the Orc commander fell several of my allies. I dropped a line to Dalen Rah so he could join me and escape. He instead choose to save Alain and dwarven shape shifter i believe is named Roughn. He did this as the boiling water which i released rushed in around him. I am told this my Harhark and our new ally. I could not see any of my allies as I held our exit with my badly wounded body, hoping that they would make it. They did. All but Dalen Rah. This one is to you Dalen, you will never be forgotten.
I’ll make this short as Alain and Harhark bandage my wounds once again. My mission remains unfulfilled and wanting. I am again reminded of my forced mortality by having to write around the blood spots that drip upon this page. Dalah Rah, my ever present friend and ally brought Eris out of this hell that we descend into. We continued in to try and stem the flow of filth that spews from this cavern but we have yet to find a way to do that. This cavern does seem to be of ancient dwarven origin, our monk did not know anything this place, yet it avoided attacking him, and focused upon us.
There is yet more evidence of the Farstrider betryal. The same trapped cavern containing several constructs that attacked up, the Farstriders were able to pass unharmed. We found one of them that has befriended my teammates. He says they just ran past. I will not believe him. Now he scans his old teammates looking for signs of life from them. I don’t know what trickery befell him and his teammates, but dealing with orcs means you don’t always live. As we get deeper into this cavern, i must be ever more watchful of this Farstrider. They can not be trusted.
Ah where to begin….We I begin this in tribute to a fallen comrade. Eris died to the most savage of orc beasts as we entered a series of Volcanic vents on a mission from the Dwarven military command in Outreach. We had fought side be side for… well maybe a week or two now but the blood of brotherhood is forged in minutes when in the heat of battle.
That short period of time saw him and the rest of my teammates save my life numerous times. I guess all my family back in Feywild were right that I had a death wish. I left the Feywild because of the inaction that would be taken by my race. Political intrigue and positioning took the place of action. A simple decision to send help to a petitioning race from Outside the Feywild would take years to answer, and by then, they would be in such bad shape that it would justify out position of inaction and ‘staying above the dealings of lesser races.’ I see evil everywhere in this world and will not abide it. It is evil for one man to pray upon another. Corruption is rampant in this world. My work will be unending, it is good that I am of natural long life, i hope my ability will allow me to use the full span of it.
Eris and I may not have seen eye to eye all the time, but he was a good man. One of his last actions was to hand me a magical cape that would enhance my natural teleporting abilities. Unfortunately by doing this, Eris also sealed his death in the very next battle. He was cornered by an Orc, and even though I went to fight by his side, he couldn’t escape. The cape would have allowed him to escape. I feel an amount of guilt over this fact. My fighting skill was not enough to save him. We now face an increasingly large orc invasion without our spellcaster. I do not know what evil magics are working in this place but the orc’s blades seem guided by an unnatural force when they almost cleaved Eris head from his body. We have fought much greater beasts with worse odds than this, it just seems disappointing that Eris would die to this simple creature.
I do find it bittersweet that i have been blessed with this Blade of Vengeance. I put myself in the most dangerous of situations to destroy evil where I see it, yet this magic only works when i see my teammates and friends cut down in front of me. Perhaps the gods do not wish for me to die yet. They blessed Alain with the speed and strength to save me from being thrown in the fire during a recent fight. It would have surely been my death, but I knew that before I went into battle. I saw my opening to crack the orc force and took it, even though i had been gravely wounded in a previous battle. I greatly wounded the orc leader with my strikes. It wasn’t enough to kill the beast but it distracted the warrior enough that he left my teammates alone as he tried to extract revenge upon me. I hope my true death will be even more nobel and grandstanding, against insurmountable odds, slaughtering beasts left and right, and all for the good of the land.
Eris and I had argued recently, neither of us wrong, but just different points of view. We cleared a Dwarven temple that had been sundered from the inside, a tunnel leading into their basement had exploded with orcs, though it was summarily collapsed by a brave dwarf. I believed that the gates needed to be sealed again, for any orcs scouting parties or a secondary force that would have been sent after the tunnels had been collapsed. Eris believed us safe. Working in the streets as a city police taught me you can never be safe. Complacency is the wine of death. It seduces you into feeling safe, powerful, and knowledgeable. Ever present vigilance is the wine of life. Constant training, watchfulness, and questioning will keep you alive. If you feel in danger, or that itch on the back of your neck is driving you crazy, draw your weapons and prepare to kill.
I have that itch about this whole mission. It is only growing stronger that we are following the Freestriders into the vents. They made a scene when they were not sent to the Dwarven temple and we were sent there instead. What would make them argue to take a simple messenger mission to a temple of monks instead of heading for an orc outpost? and why were they warned that it was a better thing that they were sent to the Vents? Those whispers that were overheard lead me to believe we were walking into a trap. I told my teammates, who though I was being paranoid. Well now we follow the Freestriders into the Vents, and do not find blood, signs of battle, or even the Freestriders themselves. We find orcs. I do not know who is implicated in this yet, but at least the Freestriders and the military commander. I do not have enough proof yet, and they are probably have enough trust and support from others that even good proof would be dismissed and explained away. I will have bide my time and to work from the shadows once again.