Journal of Peiter
Journal entry: #1
I met a man one day just very recently. I was coming out of Temple and he had been standing off a short distance, covered some by the low hanging boughs of a tree. I paid him no mind at first, as many have sought the shade of that tree and ones just to the right and left of it. The gardens of my Temple are the most serene of any I’ve seen and I’ve seen some. I walked down the smoothed wooden steps from under the temples eve’s to its ever smoother round stones set in fine powder sand. Following the current of the water in the brook, I made my way to the gates and beyond entering the city. The man from the tree had left the comforts of the shade to follow me (I had guessed) for it did not seem coincidental that he should leave so soon after me and follow directly in my footprints for such a distance as he did that morning.
I continued to walk my purpose without too much alarm as my shadow was making no attempt to catch up and his strait line walk and demeanor told me he was quite alone, or at least not making eye contact with anyone about. He lingered at a distance as I purchased some dry goods, paying close attention to every item in detail and noting every brown paper parcel etc…that went into my pack. After making preparations to depart town I thought it wise to take in a little breakfast. I thought maybe if I hung back for awhile, I might learn who was tailing me and what he wanted. Behind me, the Crossroads Inn stood with the morning light radiating off the face of the building. It was a very welcoming sight and the waft of food coming from it, even more so. I must have been hungry, because I was practically running across the street, which took the follower by surprise and caused him to have to make a sudden leap forward to catch up. He wasn’t very smooth about it, but then again I made him immediately from the start and those around us thought it a little odd that he should be trailing behind me like a dog.
Journal entry: #2
Business Deals and Partnerships
I popped into dining room and took a table in the farthest left corner that was concealed by a partition. There were a few tables back here which served private parties or as a useful meeting place if one wanted to be discreet. “Shep” the barman had signaled his waitress to my arrival and within a few minutes a plate had been produced as if by magic, along with the usual cup of mead. It was considerably darker in here, so I could see better to the outside than my new found friend could see in from the window on the walkway. He didn’t come in and had disappeared altogether by the time I had finished my morning vittles. I was able to procure a ride to and through a few towns. The going rate is normally a few silver pieces but these days I can usually collect a trifle contribution for the temple as a protector all the while being able to travel and do business and make trades. I came to a small town that held an inn called Aunt Nunies. Per a letter I had received from an old acquaintance, I was to meet Valna here. She wanted to speak to me about the prospect of travelling together.
Valna met me in the common area of the inn as promised, but was not alone and it made me a little uneasy. She was in the company of a Halfling kind. Though I don’t usually pay too close attention to Halflings in general, this one looked as if it had an axe to grind and why it was keeping company with the like of Valna I did not know, but I was sure I was going to find out very shortly. After the introductions had been made and pleasantries passed we were joined by a fourth person I had never met. His name was Parl Crangwing. It was clear to me that he had already met Valna and Corrine (Halfling) but only just prior to this. He had come a distance to speak with Valna and before too long I was privy to the purpose of our meet. The gentleman Parl, wished to hire us for the purpose of mapping out and old keep that lie about three days away, just beyond a place called Winter Haven. The amount he was willing to pay was not in my mind, very worth the effort we would have to summon to succeed such a feat. I had been hearing stories for months now about attacks on simple town folk on what is called the Kings road entering the town of Winter Haven. It is almost impossible to get a ride there anymore as nobody has reason to go there and won’t risk their very souls, livestock and cargo. However, the mere pittance I had been making was barely enough to make my offerings and live on. I needed something more and at the time being, this was all that had come my way.
With the arrangement to meet back up with Parl at Aunt Nunies in 60 days time, Valna, Corrine and two others who had initially been absent, joined us on the perilous road to the town of Winter Haven. I would have very much liked to catch up on old times with Valna, as it had been years really since we had seen each other. We were just kids in fact back then and pretty good friends. Well as good of friends as we could have been all the while trying to keep it a secret. Our sheer acquaintance would have met much to the disapproval of her father and that would have been the end of that. Valna was from a very prominent family and I was poor and as common as any. However, the people of this newfound partnership were not the chatty type, they seemed to be all business and nobody could blame them I guess; our very lives depended on alertness. We needed to be on our guard at all times, so we walked in silence, camped in silence, never saying more to each other than need be and each kept to their and their own things. On the third day, it seemed as if we were getting used to each other’s existence and their close proximity. We could look in each other’s eyes frequently to confirm or deny sounds we may or may not have heard. We have learned to use certain facial expressions to convey when it’s time to break for meals, hang back to relieve one’s self or stop and listen to what lies about.
We were making pretty good timing to town and were very nearly there when we were ambushed about an hour outside of Winter Haven. We did not see them, we never them, but they were ready for us. I’m sure they heard us coming from a mile away with all the clanking of Valna’s armor. Javelins came careening through the air, some missing us and some making contact. From my count after the fact, there were more of them than there were of us, which makes me feel good now to know that though we have not really gotten friendly with one another, we have a way about us in combat. We have an Eladrin among us. Her name is Althaea. I have had my eye on her for days now. I have been watching her, studying her and the way she moves. She is graceful and moves with a silence with little to no effort at all. She carries and long sword which almost seems like it would be too much weapon for such a being, but I have seen her use it. There is always room for improvement however she does appear to be proficient with it, though she seems handier and more comfortable wielding her wand.
Thoradin is a squat little dwarf who carries a very intimidating battleaxe and that’s saying a lot considering my weapon of choice is morning star. Corrin the Halfling was quite the surprise. He had a hard time at first it seemed and was picked on the most in battle; I am guessing because of his size but he sure could take a beating which tells me he is made of stronger stuff. Valna as usual was worth her salt as always, regardless of what people might say about her. We came out the victors on the Kings road that day. We didn’t fight nearly as well as we probably could have and didn’t anticipate each other as we will in the future I’m sure, but we have promise and mutual respect for each other as fighters and nothing brings people closer than the bonds you make saving each other’s skins.
We stayed at the Raften Inn which was a very nice, accommodating place which was a relief since it was the only place in town in which to stay. We were all able to stay there for a few gold pieces, graciously provided by the Kobolds defeated earlier in the day. Splitting a find 5 ways wont make any of us rich but it does keep us in food and lodging. We all seem to be mindful of what we want vs. what we need and we travel light when possible.
The owner/operator of the Raften Inn (Sovannah) overheard us talking about our plans to make our way to the Fortress. She pointed out a man that she thought might be some help to us. His name was Valthrin. He was a very friendly and polite character and for the cost of a drink and some bread, he threw some information and business my way. I had only to wait for a man by the name of Pedreg. Of course, he isn’t exactly who I thought he would be. Valthrin was a little informal when he left of his true title. Pedreg is actually, Lord Pedreg. He never showed but we were pointed the way to find him and we did successfully in his manor not far from town. He made us a proposition to rid the town of if its Kobold problem for a sum of 100 gold pieces. It sounds like a lot but in truth it would only keep us in food and lodging for about ten days. Nevertheless, Valna in her infinite wisdom and sense of honor and duty spoke for the rest of us before any could turn it down. So, in short, it seems we will be heading back to the Kings road to find the Kobolds lair instead of continuing forth to the old keep.
Journal Entry: #3
We found our way back to the place where the ambush occurred, only to find it occupied again. There were only five Kobolds this time, opposed to the eight like before but as I suspected, we did do a better job of cleaning house than before and each of us witnessed the better parts of our companions than we had up to now. Some of us became bloodied as before pulled off tricks I never knew possible. I feel better about our chances to make it to the fortress and I feel sorry for anyone mistaking us for common riff raff and disturbers of the peace. I’ve never seen a head cut from a body in quite the form and style in which Thoradin had in battle the second time. Nor had I seen anyone wield a rapier with such finesse as Corrin. We all fought a great site better, down to the very last. Down to the very last above ground I should say. Kobolds have been occupying both sides of the road and so far we only fought on it with little regard to where they actually came from the first time. There are a lot of boulders and dense forests of trees nearby; I knew it would just be a matter of time before we found it. Just a little ways off; further southeast, we found an even denser forest of trees with a clearing on the other side where we could hear the rush of running water. The trees, being in great number were still farther apart from one another to spy a large party of Kobolds. The waterfall into the flowing stream gave us the advantage to size up the party, however they were so spread out it was difficult to ascertain how many there actually were until the battle broke out. We took several hits while still in the trees. The javelins were thrown with the upmost accuracy, but like before the smaller ones seem to be more fragile and don’t take but a sold hit to go down for good. There were 13 all told in the clearing before us. We managed to kill all but one who made it through the opening of the cave to warn the others of our presence, including one in particular named Iron Tooth.
Again for the third time today we encountered our enemy without a chance to really regroup. Having followed the last kobold in mêlée fashion into the cave, the fight came upon us instantaneously. For purposes of getting the most important information down, let me just say that we again killed all save one. Two major players of the party, one being Iron Tooth and the other an unknown wizard died inside the Kobold lair. We think with them dead, along with the others the surrounding towns may once again be safe. We checked the lair and took what was useful to us. The Kobold had a chest with dwarven chainmail inside (which went to Thoradin) and the rest of the 420 gold pieces went to were divided equally amongst the rest of us. The 12 gold pieces and 48 silver were divided equally that were found on the bodies and a scroll was recovered off of Iron Tooth which Corrin took out on the way back to town.
What we found on the parchment was a letter. It was written by Kalarel to Iron Tooth in regards to his plot to re-open the rift in Shadowfell. He mentions there is a spy in Winterhaven which we have yet to
Smoke out. I believe it is just a matter of time, but for now our priority is to conclude our business with Lord Pegrin and rest up before we proceed to the keep. We met up with Valthrin at the Raften inn. Over a drink, we discussed the whole sordid affair of we accepted Lord Pedreg offer to rid him of his Kobold problem. He seemed genuinely happy that we accepted the challenge, but it’s kind of funny that he knew where we went and what we did before I had a chance to tell him. I know he has Lord Pedreg’s ear but I don’t think he had consulted with him while we were away. Just a feeling by the way the conversation came about. He told us all we needed to know about the keep in general. He said that it was built about 100 years ago by the Nerath Empire. The keep was built upon the rift of the Shadowfell to ensure that it would never be re-opened. However, evil came upon the keep and it fell. Nobody really knows what happened. Nobody in their right minds would ever enter the keep afterwards or travel near its ruins.
Valthrin offered us money to travel forth to the keep after discussing the letter and the mention of Kalarel & Lord Orcus. Having acquired a goodly sum of money which I’m sure once belong to the people of the town of Winterhaven, I couldn’t in good conscious take any more of their money. I told Valthrin that we were already being paid to map out Shadowfell by Parl Crangwing (whom we were supposed to meet up with at Aunt Nunis in about 6 weeks.) I don’t know what Valthrin’s true intentions are or who’s allegiance is to but I am sure we will know in time.
Journal Entry: #4
Keeps, Captains, Runes and Dragons
We are held up at the moment inside Shadowfell keep. We are taking a breather before we continue as it has been quite a day and we have been fighting, seemingly, nonstop since we entered. We are worn, weary and feeling quite beside ourselves. We fought our way completely around and down through the keep. We came across a rune covered floor which we tried to attempt to cross. We were in the process when Shrieking sounds and screams came upon us from both the north and south sides. It was as if we were being attacked by both sides. We all took off like a shot in the direction from which we came and went left. It wouldn’t have been a bad retreat if it hadn’t been for the fact that we ran into the undead.
The trip north east to Shadowfell keep had been uneventful, unlike now. Before it was over we lost Corrin. It was a very unfortunate loss as he had some very useful skills as I mentioned previous. It did nothing for our morale, not to mention our confidence as we need every last man for sheer survival. We all say we are men of our word and that we will lay down our lives for such a worthy cause as this but we never truly think deep down that it’s an option. I gave him last rights in the same room he fell and then we continued as if nothing ever happened. It made me feel like a horrible, horrible person but that was cut short when we entered the next room to find the undead rising from their coffins. I wasn’t entirely sure what had happened, but it appears now that Valna had read the cover stones and ascertained that we would need help from the only place and thing that could help us. She ran pell-mell through the hall to an alter; where she fell to her knees and prayed for the might platinum dragon to help us in our moment of need. After a few harried moments, the 10 undead, human-warriors back off and stood still.
Making our way to Valna to see from her point of view what happened Althaea had come from the other alter with 5 platinum dragon figurines. She told us they came from a secret compartment on the other alter on the other side. We held them up looking at them and they appeared to be warm in our hands. Althaea had two but only one was warm in hers. She made a remark about how one was warm and life like and the other cold and dead like. It made me think of Corrin. Then it came to me. There were five figurines but only four seemed alive. There were five of us but only four alive now. We went back to the room where Corrin lay. We gathered up his body and laid it on the altar. With the figurines in one hand and with the other hand, touching the person to our right, Valna prayed to the platinum god (Beamis) for the life of our fallen comrade and the well being of us all. A very bright ray of lights just like before (when the warriors parted) illuminated from the ceiling where mural of the dragon lie spread across majestically. The figurines burned for about a minute in our palms but then cooled down fast. Before it was entirely over, we heard a click on a door behind us and noises coming from the altar.
Corrin sat upright and began to talk. It was the most amazing thing I think I’ve ever witnessed. I put the figurine in my pouch; on the off chance I would need it again. We made our way through the huge double doors into another room like every other in this place. In this room was a single coffin, a sign that this person was very important or significant at the very least. We found engravings of a human warrior with a sword. We discussed opening the grave to verify there was actually remains still inside. When Thoradin moved the cover stone, there was some sort of explosion; causing it to fall at an angle on the floor. The bones of a human clad in plate armor came forth and spoke to us. He asked us our business there with the obvious threat that if we didn’t answer correctly, we would be sure to die.
After several repeating answers of honest intentions to keep the people safe and keep the rift closed, he told us how he failed in his attempt to do the same. He told us how Lord Orcus came to him in dreams and drove him to madness, making him kill indiscriminately amongst his own family and people. He killed his wife, child all his captains and more. It wasn’t until after that he realized what he had done and as punishment, he had himself sealed here on the wrong side of redemption. He offered up his sword to Valna to help her in her quest. The sword was a gift to Sir Keegan from King Eladrin. The sword is very special, as it was imbued with powers of its own. As such it must be wielded by one who chooses to good with it because in the wrong hands, it could have devastating effects. Sir Keegan’s parting advice to us “Sometimes you should go left when you go right,” wish we had known that before.
Journal Entry: #5
Fighting in and fighting out
It is very late now and we are all ready to bed down for the night. We made it back to Winterhaven some time ago as we had no real alternative. Earlier we had attempted to make camp outside the Keep on the Shadowfell, but it was in vain as a roving goblin party stumbled across us and disturbed our ability to slumber. We should have known better to even attempt it but we had become weary and suffered many afflictions today. After we killed off the band of goblins, we broke our camp and came back to town. Mouthwatering stews, pints of ale and soft place to rest our heads were; I’m certain on everyone’s mind. Sometimes, I swear I could smell wafts of food on the air while on our trek back. It is weird how the mind can play little tricks on you. However, warm meals and cushy beds were going to have to wait. As soon as we reached the town, we were halted outside closed gates. This not being a normal practice for this town I became a bit alarmed, even more so when we Saw Lord Pedreg above the gates in the watch tower. He called out to us “Identify yourselves!” And, as anyone would (who values their life) we did identify ourselves, thinking that we would be let immediately but this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Not only did Lord Pedreg not open the gates, he sent us on an errand in the cemetery. Apparently, while we had been roaming the halls of the keep, Winterhaven had been under attack and several of their people had been dragged away. I’m not going to say that I wasn’t sympathetic or that a sense of urgency wasn’t warranted, but we had travelled for two hours solid after a full days fighting. There are limits to what a person can withstand and though Corrine had been restored, he could have used a rest. It also would have gone a long way if Lord Pedreg had sought out our condition first, before sending us out to find his people. He didn’t order us to find them and save them but he wasn’t opening the gates either. It was one of those moments where there appears to be a choice, appears being the opportune word.
So, like any good employee would, we all agreed to do his bidding and made haste to the cemetery. When we got there we were momentarily held up at the gate but only just a moment. Corrine proving to be worth his salt once again got us in and away we travelled down the winding path. We didn’t get to far before we began to realize there was something very different about this place verses other grave sites. In the distance there was a blue hue of light in the middle darkened sky. One could say that it was very beautiful if not for the circumstances surrounding its origins. At a run of twenty paces we came around a bend in the path that made way for a mausoleum. As soon as we got around it, we found the blue light radiating from portal on the ground. To our left and right just behind us were creatures of the undead. We hadn’t even seen them as we ran past so fast. To our left was an arcane archer, who looked familiar after a glance or two, but the most foreboding of all were the two beasts awaiting us at the top of the stairs of another crypt. It might have been an easier task to clear the site without the beasts. Their poisonous bites were severe in every way and we had already drained much of our abilities to sustain. We came and we conquered though. Hind sight being what it is, I half wished we could have kept Nineran the archer alive; long enough for questioning. We did however, find a letter on him from Kalarel regarding how to create undead for his purposes which is all we needed to confirm his guilt as the spy we heard about in a previous letter found in the Kobold lair. Limping back to the gate, we were let in to take up lodging at Savannahs and have that meal at last. Well, almost everyone. There was an issue of making the cemetery a hallowed place again. In Lord Pedreg’s infinite wisdom, he had called forth Sister Lenora to perform the rights and rituals to make this possible but not before being led there by yours truly to assist her. Before the night is out, we are going to have to pay Savannah a little something extra for all the sheets and towels ruined in the process of cleaning our wounds. She has been very attentive, hospitable and has never complained (to my knowledge) the care and lengths she has gone to care for us in particular aside from her many other patrons.
Journal Entry #6
A familiar Face
We have barricaded ourselves inside one of the rooms. It would have to be the room that serves as a torture chamber but our partnerships, quests, hell, our every move is based on democracy vote. Needless to say Splug and myself were outnumbered on this one. Reason if not sheer logic suggests that the torture chamber is the least likely place anyone would come to hang out in, thus making it the safest room in all the keep. Getting back to Splug, we found the little turncoat at the entrance to the keep on our way in today. He didn’t turn to run but he wasn’t exactly showing signs of happiness to us again. He waited to until we killed the entrance guards before making his long winded explanations and proceeding to convince us that we should keep him alive. I can’t believe I am going to say this but… he did make a useful guide today and when we came upon a room of goblins that were digging for treasure he did try and protect Valna by swiping at the attacking beasts. There were a few such battles today in the two rooms following that. Since then, we found a storage room with lots of material for rebuilding the keep. These things will come in handy once we clear away the filth and so it can be rebuilt.