Rise of the Runelords

Wil's Journal: Entry 2
The Ruins Beneath the Town

Lots has happened since moving to Sandpoint. Greel, Muireadbach, Hyacinth, and I are all Special Town Guard. Which means we’re supposed to investigate extra dangerous threats to the town (like the goblin attacks, and other strange goings-on) but mostly, it seems like the others just want to lay about all day. Well, Da always said, “Sitting about is wonderful for the soul, but that’s not how the field gets tilled”, so I try and help out to make up for them. When they do go to work as Special Guards, though, Deadeye bless them, they somehow know exactly what to do! After the goblins, we thwarted their Leader’s second at the glassworks, then followed a secret tunnel underneath into an ancient demon temple! Who knows how long that’s been below the town.


Undergrndtmpl
I worry about Shayliss and the other folk in town with things like this going on beneath their feet!


They even knew how to come after me when a she-devil captured me (after beating me while invisible, and when her minions bore me down in my escape).

Muireadbach proves a truer friend every day, fighting hard to spring me, and even offing himself in my place to the demons. Even the Sorcerer Greel was instrumental in my escape, and the defeat of the monsters, springing my cage, and passing me a sword so that I could send a beast to it’s master before I passed out. It was a desperate fight, but with Hyacinth there, I knew we would be in safe hands, as she could mend us as easily as a torn shirt.

Now Greel has figured out the location of the Goblins’ true master, and we follow an elven guide (who I must say, reminds me of a much taller Lena – with bigger ears!) into the thick of a thorny forest to defeat the goblin army at its head and save the town!

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Entwined
Hyacinth Sits Alone with Her Thoughts

A foul wind descends from the north. From the glassworks. Death, tinged with the ancient of the ocean air. The cinnamon of magic caught only sporadically. Something yet remains down that tunnel beneath where we found the half-elf and the human and the goblins and the corpses. A change. The wind blows west now, only for a moment, hinting at stirrings deeper in Varisia. All is connected. We will find darkness and horrors when we travel with the elf into the woods. These three are critical to events here. They must not perish until their time is done. I must keep their souls anchored here or the world may be lost.

Yet the sun shines hopeful. The clouds form shapes and hint at what is to come and before and what exists elsewhere in the world. Somewhere the dragonwasp still flies.

Darkness. A pair of snakes entwined. A stone. Light again. Terror and confusion.

This is not part of what unfolds. It is separate and yet connected. Entwined in the pattern. How do these pieces fit? I have forgotten too much in confinement. Left too much of myself in that room. Memory and strength return, but slowly and with effort. What happened when the dwarf killed me? Things have shifted and I cannot see my way through this skein. What did they do to me?

We must discover what lies beneath this town. Perhaps more pieces will come to light. Will I stay this way forever? I did not choose this. Everything is connected.

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Greel's Room
Curiosity

“I have news on the goblins. It seems the usually-warring tribes have united under a leader, who we have just captured.”

YOU HAVE DONE WELL. HAVE YOU SLAIN HIM, AND DISPLAYED HIS BODY AS A WARNING TO THE GOBLINS? IT IS A HARD ACT, BUT IT WILL SAVE LIVES.

“…No. He is the half-brother to Amiko, and we need to interrogate him first.”

THIS IS FOOLISH, BUT YOUR KIND ARE NOT USED TO WAR. YOU HAVE THEIR LEADER. THEY ARE FRAIL, KEPT IN LINE ONLY BY FEAR. THERE IS NO NEED FOR INTERROGATION.

“Forgive me, but I worry you may have overlooked something. He said their father was complicit in the original goblin attack somehow, and we cannot question him, as he is dead. And furthermore, why attack Sandpoint at all?”

IF THE GOBLINS DISBAND, AND THEY WERE ONLY HELD TOGETHER BY THIS LEADER, WHY DOES IT MATTER WHAT HE WANTED? HE WILL SOON BE DEAD, THE GOBLINS WILL DIE ON ONE ANOTHER’S BLADES ONCE MORE, AND SANDPOINT WILL BE SAFE AGAIN. THE FATHER HAS PAID HIS LIFE FOR WHATEVER HE DID TO HELP THEM. THE MOST COMMON VICE IN WIZARDS IS THEIR CEASELESS CURIOSITY, AND IT IS THEIR MOST COMMON CAUSE OF DEATH. YOU ARE STRONGER THAN THAT, GREEL.

“Thank you, general. I suppose you are right.”

AND IT IS WISE THAT YOU SEE THIS. NOW WHEN CAN YOU BEGIN YOUR NEXT JOURNEY?

“…Much sooner than expected. With this new partnership, it should only be a few months now. Wait for the first signs of spring, and we will set out.”

THIS IS GOOD. AT WHICH POINT YOUR PARTNERSHIP WILL DISSOLVE.

“Actually, I’ll likely hire Muireadbach as a guide, and Hyacinth has now put in enough to be brought along.”

NO. YOUR DWARF MAY ACCOMPANY YOU, BUT THIS ELF IS THRICE-CURSED. YOU WILL BREAK YOUR ASSOCIATIONS WITH HER NOW.

“I’m not sure I follow. She is strange but harmless, has paid her way in, and is a respectable healer. Useful in case something goes wrong like last time.”

“General?”

SOME LESSONS CANNOT BE TAUGHT, BUT INSTEAD MUST BE LEARNED. VERY WELL. BUT DO NOT TELL HER OF HOW YOU DISCOVERED THE LOCATION, AND SHOULD YOU FIND THE BOOK, DO NOT ALLOW HER TO SEE IT.

“I had no intention of doing so in the first place.”

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The Spoils of Boar
An Authentic Freemountain Oral History Account

Image"Alone. Th’four’a us an’ Foxglove here, in search’a th’lusive boar. Fer hours we tracked and tromped—thinkin’ all was well s’was well—until. Until we realized, th’hunters’d become the prey. Two. Toed. Ungulate. Deer? No. The dungs’wer wrong, y’see. No. No, not with th’ still in the woods. Perilous still, deadly still. No, a wood s’still s’at means one kinda’ evil. Deep, souless evil. Two toed. Ungulatin’ evil. Elk.

Th’sky’d gone black’s pitch, thunder rollin’ over. Our minds turn’t t’escape, but th’woods sw’ere dark, deep, turned about with bafflin’ stillness. Hyacinth here, sh’summoned a mighty eagle! Big as a . . . With huge! And we follow’d ‘er, prayin’ Deadeye’s mercy on’s for trespassin’ in a wood confounded with Elk-sign!We though sure’t we’d make it when we come on’a clearin’ . . . but there, there like a sentinel, like th’dread guardi’in a’the wood he stood, frothin’ and ruttin’: the boar!

Greel, Greel’s says, he says: ‘we must turn back! Huntin’ is no fun! S’not a game,’ he says. An Foxglove, quicks y’please says’m: ‘No. S’th’deadliest game. Listen’t!’
And we did. And we heard’t, over the maw’n gripe’a th’pig. We heard’t. Hoove-fall. And the cry! A bellow’s like’t a horn! A bugle! Like a thousan’t untuned pipes callin’ all t’once th’dread ungulation that means sure death! Th’boar took ear. Raise’t s’beedy lil’ eyes and roar’t a charge down upon us!

Greel, though, he’s no woodsman but he knew’a right proper woodsman t’see’im. He turns t’Foxglove and wiggles’im fingers and chants’im words, unleashin’ all manner’a dark magics and Foxglove he grows, and grows, twelve feet tall he grows: big in stature as s’already is in skill y’see. But it takes time! The magics’takes time! An’ Wil, Wil the lad, the adventurer, th’excruciatin’ly single—ladies—th’excruciatin’ly single he rears back and he throws’a spear ten, fifteen, thirty feet he lobs it like’t arrows from th’bow’a Deadeye an’ it strikes’t truer’n Bolka’s bright eyes’it strikes!

The boar, stagger’t, it leers t’th’left into m’range with m’spear there I give’t a jab, plant th’old mud-stompers an’drop at’center’a gravity—physics, y’see: dwarven engineerin’ know-how—and ‘tween Wil—he stays here’t th’inn, ladies—‘tween Wil’n I we’ve scarce dented th’damn beast but we’ve slow’t’im, we’ve just scarce slow’t’im. Th’elk she’s drawnin’ closer’ the thunder-hooves bleetin’ and tearin’ down th’wood. But salvation! Greel’s wizardin’, dark and terrible, black as Torag’s fingernails’s’t’is, s’takin’ hold and there: twelve foot tall and glorious is th’man’s man Foxglove! He rears’it back, s’great damn spear, and he strikes th’fiend cross the skull with th’flat’a the blade—with th’ flat ‘a the blade and in one blow down she goes, dead’s’a stone! An in’s triumph y’see he leans back and whoops’n yawps’t beat th’band, like a proper’n. And y’know what? By th’Oldfather’s braided beard Foxgloves yawpin’ runs off that elk what’s bearin’ down upon’s: because not even th’Elk in’s lusty fury will stand against a proper hunter’in’s righteous victory!" -M.Fmt.

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Wil's Journal: Entry 1
The Attack on Sandpoint

Made the last leg of the journey into Sandpoint today. I’ll sure miss home. I’ll miss Mum (and her cooking), and Bryce and Lena, of course. And Father. And Uncle Daw, Hunter Guide Him. At least I got to bring Coburn with me – he seems not to miss anything but harassing the sheep, so that’s probably for the best.


Farm 118
I stopped on the hill outside the farm to sketch it before I finally left and made this drawing. That’ll have to do until I see it again.


Sandpoint is just as I imagined it. There are so many buildings, I can’t imagine how people remember what they all are! Daversmill is the biggest place I’ve every been and they only have about six houses, a temple, the smithy, and the trading post. There’s buildings everywhere here. And some of them have little signs on the side showing the streets have got names – they have to name the streets because otherwise they’d get lost in their own town! Coburn and I will have to find a nice place to stay – with some good food!

And what a blessing that I arrive on the same day as the dedication of the town’s new temple! That’s a good omen if I ever heard of one. The mayor and his wife made speeches, and the town alchemist or somesuch put on a show with making butterflies appear out of the air, which was nice. And apparently, We’re not the only newcomers in town, which is just as good, because we don’t want a lot of attention, at least not until it’s for something good and worth being famous of. Of course that might not be so difficult now: right in the middle of the dedication of the temple, a whole horde of goblins decided to make a run on the town! The were setting buildings and stalls alights, killing livestock and dogs – as goblins are wont to do. But there were a good few people there to help out the militia – there’s a woodsman from the mountain folk, an elf I figure is from the Faith, and some old hag which – only it’s a man, so I reckon he’s a warlock? Leastways, he has purple skin.

We all got together and fought off a whole mess of the goblins. The woodsman and I were fighting side by side, and he’s a real warrior – such an honor! It was a terrible fright, let me say that. But uncle Uncle Daw always said – “Bravery is being scared and going on anyway – not being scared is just called being simple”. I even was stabbed by one. That’s my first battle-wound, it is. Sure, there was that boar when I was fifteen, but hunts don’t count, and this was with a real blade. Gods, it hurt. But the Elf fixed me right up. The Faith are always good folk. I’ll have to remember to give her some food or a pair of boots.

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