Rise of the Runelords

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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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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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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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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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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The Whistledown Incident
An Authentic Freemountain Oral History Account

Image"Say ‘twas ’bout a year down outta’ th’Freemountain, I come down by ol’ Whistledown say. Now, at th’time I had me some disposable, so I decided t’invest sound in a small business venture what was sure t’pay dividend. Now by ol’Whistledown now y’see they’re lake side t’Syrantula, what outlets to th’Yondabarki. So me, I set me up’a bait-and-tackle and got me a charter vessel and quick as y’like ’Freemountain’s Worms-n-Such’ was up fer business.

Now, business was slow t’start. And th’guards and what from dockside give me nothin’ but grief. On about permits and what not—but I told ‘em, I told ’em my shop was at th’end’a th’dock out over th’water an’their damned town won’t rightly no lake was it? S’how do I need me a permit t’build out over a lake, eh? Yeah. But what I didn’t know—what I should’a known, was them guards an’ that town . . . they was hidin’ somethin’. Somethin’ sinister. An’sure as y’like it, I tell you them guards was tryin’ t’run me off’a m’own claim, they was tryin’ to keep me findin’ out that secret. But I run ‘em off, trespassin’! But business kept slow.

That was all until th’gnome show’d his wee ugly face. Benjiltink Glimerguld, he was. Local big-game hunter. Th’sprat come into m’shop an’ said t’me, he said he wanted t’charter m’boat an include me on an adventure what would get th’guards off m’back once’n fer all with riches and glory t’boot. Needless I was interested. But I had no idea what it was I was in fer. Y’see, Bejiltink was on th’trail of a great Beast. Slzzik! The Deep Beast’a th’Yondabarki! Dwellin’ there at th’bottom’a Syrantula! A sea serpent, big as! An’ as long as a! An’ ate boats whole, swallowed down t’ruin and blackness!

Me’n Benjil, we packed up m’boat: th’F.M.S. Orka she was! Gods but a beautiful peice’a work she was! An we set sail that very night.

Three days. Three days we was on th’water. Darkness all around. Th’quiet. We passed th’time just listenin’ . . . to th’night . . . to th’water slappin’ against th’Orka’s side. Thwap. Thwap. Listenin’ to our own hears poundin’ . . . Thump. Thump. Knowin’ that beneath us th’Beast lay, and that from beneath ya’ . . . from beneath ya’ it devours.

It was ‘round about midnight th’third night when it happened. Th’strange gnome-song’a Whistledown waverin’ out over the lake . . . all’uv’a sudden, th’line went taunt, th’reel spun out and it was hooked! Slzzik was hooked an’ there we was, Benjil an’ me, grapplin’ and pullin’an’ fightin’ on that line when we seen it crestin’. Up outta’ th’water like a snake from a pot it come, breechin’ up an out’n down down down it run, an arc’a back must’a been a hundred yards long! M’line held, but m’anchor she give way and th’Beast took t’towin’ us across th’lake. Faster n’faster we spun outta’ control—I put Benjil on th’rudder, th’blamed fool! And he’s th’one what damned us and th’whole enterprise! Th’Beast pulled us ‘round that lake on half an hour, me holdin’ it fast, ridin’ it down—wild on glory n’fear’a th’thing! But Benjil, half-sprat he was, broke off th’rudder and we couldn’t fight th’Beastie’s whim. So sure as it knew—an’ it knew what it did—it was possessed a’that dread deep intellect of all thing’s what’s unnantural—it knew where th’dockside was, an’ it heard the singin’ a’th’gnome-song. An’ it was into dockside it drug that boat, full on ramming speed, faster’n she was meant to sail!

We plow’d through Worms-n-Such! We tore through th’docks! Yet the Beast roared forward, jest a shadow beneath th’waves! Th’villagers set t’screamin’ when they seen us comin’ and scream they should! That Beast it flung that line, jack-knife’d that boat up’n th’air and set us screamin’ and wailing right into th’center’a town: boat n’line an’me and Benjil an’ all!

Th’boat, bless ‘er, crashed down market street, took out th’green grocer, an’ I swear, seein’ as th’whole instant was suspended in’a kinda’ metaphorical slow-motion, I seen no fewer’n three citizens wet themselves in pure abject terror!

Miracle a’miracles me an’ Benji, we was unhurt—but th’same could not be said fer market street or what all was there. Now, we was actin’ outta’ the nobility a’our hearts t’rid th’town’a its dark sub-aquatic devil beastie. But we figured th’town’d be less excited t’see its heroes unhurt than they would be upset t’see its green grocer all a’flame. They was already a bit lynchy down by th’way there. So we bid us a hasty retreat. An d’you know that slimey half-scamp cheat’d not reimburse me a copper’a th’cost of losin’ m’boat?! Enemy fer life that’n. Benjiltink Glimerguld. Remember th’name, s’th’name’a a scoundrel, a cheat, n’a gnome I’ll out-hunt any day’a th’week!

So we parted ways, gave th’town th’don’t-look-back. But, t’this day, Slzzik: The Deep Beast, he resides still at th’bottom’a that lake. Th’beast what set the town a’ruin! What swallers ships whole! An’ there it lurks, an’it remembers—that deep intellect, it remembers—there’s but one dwarf ever hooked it. An’ sure’s vengeance burns in m’heart, it burns an inferno in th’belly’a th’Beast!" -M. Fmt

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Morning Meditation
Hyacinth prepares her spells

Waves echo in this small cavern
Carved by man. Light reflects
Across the stone,
Dancing in bolts of red-gold lightning. A storm of wrath and greed
And darkness between and below, shadowing
The forms beneath save for the briefest of glimpses.

Five remain,
Seven points,
One star.

Ebb

and

surge,

ebb

and

surge.

The bunyip swims. The crab draws fishes
Darting beneath the waves.
North and west a boat skims the waves beneath the tower.
All this I see in the ebb and surge,
Surge and ebb.

The crab made fewer mistakes
Than I have,
But then,
I have lived far longer.
I should not have told the dwarf;
He brays all.
He stood pantsless?
Paranoia and insecurity.
Nearly three millenia.

Can I trust
Them or is it
Another mistake?

The import of this venture demands I persist.
History lives here
Now.
These three are important, but cannot survive
Without me.

Without
My help.

Foolishness
Mistrust
Brashness

Withdrawn?

It may not be enough to study and observe,
As it was not when the Tyrant stirred.
I cannot withdraw.
Have I been afraid since the herald’s fall?

Memory returns,
An eagle soaring.
Will the crab become my kin?

Questions
__
Answers

Light and
Flames banish shadows.
The three are not yet ready to perish
to be reborn.
The blade must remain whole.

Five remain.
We will require healing.
We will need to grow stronger.

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Thistletop
Denial

“…Are you there?”

YOU WERE LOST TO ME.

“We’ve been in the ruins of a massive Thassilonian statue, a day’s walk up the coast from Sandpoint. Most of it has been submerged, but it looks to be of the Runelord of Greed.”

THE MAGICS THAT BIND ME ARE ALSO PART OF THAT TOWER. IT IS ONLY BY CHANCE THE MAGIC HAS DEGRADED HERE ENOUGH TO ALLOW OUTSIDE CONTACT. IT IS NOT THE SAME FOR THE ONE YOU WERE IN.

“So the towers are the same, then?”

BOTH ARE WATCHTOWERS AGAINST THE LORD OF WRATH. WHAT DID YOU FIND?

“It had been converted into a base for a cultist of Lamashtu. She was serving the town up as an offering.”

I ASK WHAT YOU FIND, AND YOU TELL ME OF CHILDREN PLAYING KING IN A CASTLE. WHAT DID YOU FIND?

“Sorry. We’ve found a medallion, magical, of the Sihedron. A few common elements, but something I can’t piece together yet. A ring I’ve yet to identify at all, and a strange demon that guarded it. Like a mix between a bear, a goblin, and a wolf.”

A BARGHEST. A TRIFLE, I ASSUME.

“Actually, it was quite powerful. It required several spells to bring down.”

THEN YOU HAVE NOT REALIZED YOUR POTENTIAL. BUT THIS WILL CHANGE.

“On that topic, once we get to town we should have more than enough gold to launch an expedition and retrieve the book.”

NO.

“But I thought-”

YOU WILL WAIT IN SANDPOINT. WATCH WHO RETURNS TO INVESTIGATE THIS TOWER. ACT IF IT IS CALLED FOR.

“Act on what, general? Is there something here that we missed? There was a message of the Runelord of Greed, on repeat. It was degraded, but he spoke of some great work they were involved with. Do you know what that was?”

HOLD YOUR CURIOSITY, GREEL. YOU WILL DO THIS BECAUSE I REQUIRE IT. THAT IS ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW.

“…”

IF YOU CANNOT, I WILL FIND ANOTHER. YOU WERE NOT THE FIRST.

“No… No, I will go back to Sandpoint. I’ve got a few other things to do anyway.”

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Everything Rotten in Fogscar
An Authentic Freemountain Oral History Account

Image"Y’know, me’n th’gobberlin’s we weren’t always at war, y’know. A’course, dwarfs’a dwarf an’ s’a proud tradition’a gobberlin’-bashin’, but we Freemountains always had bigger nasties t’harp on. No, them gobberlin’s done me wrong, and I done ‘em back, and they got what they got comin’, I tell ya’. I learnt m’lesson good on not t’underestimate them little nasties—beasts as vicious as th’bowels’a hell, I say, an’ glass’n old man Kai-jit-see ain’t th’least I seen’a their evil!

I tell ya’, ‘twas near on two year back now, I was comin’ down outta’ th’Churlwood with some degree’a due haste, y’see. So, it bein’ less’n wise t’cut through th’wood, I cut down south through th’Fogscar—now that’s them same mountains these here tribes’s comin’ down outta’: I tell ya’ I seen ‘em there, thick as nettles, an’ it’ain’t no lie. Me, I didn’t have me at th’time the nessecaries a’baubles n’scraps n’garbage n’what t’pay m’way through—n’even if’n I did, them Fogscar gobberlins ain’t afear’d like yer used ta’ seein’, their numbers is so. So, me I took t’goin’ off-road, underbrush real backwoods-like. Suited me, but th’trouble was it was a hard winter a’couple years back, an th’Fogscar ain’t to place t’be come winter. All due haste n’what, I hadn’t much otherwise t’be done.

Few weeks passed a’hard trekkin’ when th’storm come up. Drifts ten, fifteen feet deep! Blowin’ n’thuderin’ like th’gods themselfs was pitchin’ a fit! I swore them moutaintops drifted n’swooped so; they was either stone giants older’n th’blood’a’th’mountain caught’n a brawl or th’storm was a’blowin’ so hard s’might’a knocked th’tops clean off’a them peaks, but I’s weather-blind n’can’t say for certain which certain peril was upon me! I dug in, deep, an waitin’. Near on a week went by, that storm still blowin’ in an’ blowin’ out days on end. Them Fogscar valleys s’mixin’ bowls a’weather, I tells ya. Finally it come down to it: it was t’starve or it was t’brave th’storm. So, I packed in the camp, camoflauged it good I did, an’left m’everythin’ there: an’ I tell ya it was the last time I ever left m’pack behind, I tell ya’! Starvation n’weather, I scarce could’a hefted it out, though. I waited for a break, n’I set out a scroungin’.

I come back, it was scarce an hour ‘er two. An’ I seen it. Goblin-sign. The camp all dug up, ramshackled and ransacked! An’ she was gone. Th’last thing what a gobberlin’ could sink its fanged mouth inta’ in th’whole camp. M’baby girl was gone: they’d taken th’wee baby Aggie!

Now, I tell ya’, weak n’weatherblown s’one thing, but a pappy what whose baby’s took is another, n’then n’there I knew why me forefathers n’mothers had a hate what burned like pyres for them little green devils. An’that rage she poured up in me and made me strong! An’I set out on ‘em, trackin’ ‘em through the storm n’through th’snow! An’ I come on ‘em, two three days I followed ’em, but I come on ’em. There in a clearin’, durin’ a break’n th’weather they was. Dozens, dozens on dozens a’th’feinds swarmin’ and singin’ their damned songs and dancin’ round a great fire twenty, thirty feet across’t! An’ on top’a that fire sat a great iron skillet, bigger’n a man! Them gobberlin’s rode on one another’n shoulders, dumpin’ herbs n’spices, n’cookin’ oils down in that skillet, boilin’ it up to a sizzle—little white hats markin’ their cheifs no doubt. An’ over th’toppa’ that skillet hung three cages—three! There in the middle there hung my precious baby; them gobberlin’s was gonna eat m’baby! T’Aggie’s left there hung a dog, bound n’gagged, a collie-dog she was, misery all’n her eyes. An’t’th’right—t’th’right hung a sight what for a moment stalled m’rage: th’prettiest girl I ever seen in all m’days, I tell’s ya . . . a vision. Sittin’ in her cage, little fuzzy feet buckin’ n’kickin’, her great grand mouth brayin’ all manner’a infidelities to th’high heavens! Th’mouth on ‘at girl’d turn a sailor’s gut t’churl it would! Like heaven! An’ not a moment passed b’fore m’rage, it was up higher’n before! Them vicious savages won’t gonna’ make no meal’a my Aggie nor’a that poor girl’n her wee dog neither! So, I was on ’em!

Ax up, beard high I charged! An’we fought, an’ we clattered, an’ we rumbled, an’ we danced th’dance! Th’little feinds was armed to th’teeth with cookpots n’cuttlery, an’ I got cut up but good. As many as felled, more rose up, an’ I was out-done fer sure, but t’find a high ground. Now, th’only ground high’n th’clearin’ was that great grizzly skillet sizzlin’ n’poppin’, so I jumped up t’grab th’handle and hoist m’self up—but th’gobberin’s cook pots ain’t made’a no ballast or for no count, an’ the skillet she flipped up! Now me, I’s under th’handle, but that gobberlin’ horde barrin’ down on me was runnin’ headlong at th’ hot holy hella’ boilin’ oil what was now flyin’ up through th’air. I doused them beasties good! Screamin’ and wailin’ they was! Turn’t them green-skins pink I did; what with their own secret sauce!

Th’gobberlins in’a panic, I cut down them hostages, an’ we made a break for it—me, n’Aggie, th’collie dog, n’th’halflin’ lass—an’ she barked back all manner a curses an’ mockeries at them gobbers, she did! T’beat th’band she did! We holed us up in’a cave after we run a mile’er so out. Irlana she said ‘er name was. Irlana Goldfoot. Prettiest girl’d ever seen. But proud. An’loud! A woman’s woman, right. Her doggie was Coleen, and she’s fer ridin’. Th’pair was treasure huntin’ in th’mountains when they was took—underground caves she said, old wealth, she said. Won’t long but we heard th’warband a’comin’, th’yappin’ a’there gobberlin’-dogs, th’chantin’ and clatterin’ a’their songsters. We was off again, Irlana, she made for th’nearest entrance she knew of to th’underground. We figured we’d lose ‘em there, an’ make our way outta’ them mountains real covert-like, spelunkers true. But Coleen, her paw was maimed, an’ me I was on foot, so them gobberlin’s was gainin’ fast. Them gobberlins bore down on us, an’ were sure t’ride us down but we come on a great rope bridge what overhung a chasm, deeper’n eyes could delve it was. We took to th’bridge, an’ there a hunderd feet downward me, I spied it, a great cave gapin’ on th’opposite cliffside.

I tell ya’, I been on my share’a adventures, an’ I done many a feat a’note, I ain’t ashamed t’say—but then an’ there, a horde a screamin’ green meanies not a moment at our heels I seen Irlana do the damnedest fool brave thing I ever seen t’this day—an’ that includes you, Wil. Out come her knife, an she cut them ropes what held that bridge faster’n I could tell her no ‘notherwise an’ when she done it, when she done it she let cry a whoop! A whoop a’clean joy at th’thrill’ve it all! Down we went! Me, n’Aggie, n’Coleen an’gods bless her brave fooled heart Irlana too! An’we rode that bridge down through th’nothin’ a’that chasm, gobberlin’s an their dogs spillin’ off th’cliffside behind us, fallin’ down t’their dooms! That bridge she slammed into th’cliffside, an’ there we was, not ten feet across’t from that cave mouth. Bless that woman. Bless that woman, by my beard bless’er!

We hit that underground an’ true we was down under them mountains two, three weeks on a’month we was. Slayin’ and scroungin’, livin’ by th’breadth a’one another’s blade we was. I tell ya’. I tell ya’, them was some’a th’steamin’est moments a’ my life it was—nothin’ improper! Nothin’ improper! But you tell me how ‘tis when a foul-mouthed halflin’ not three inches from her nose gives a grin as she cuts y’down from a Darkmantle’s grip. Then off we’d be again, at one another ‘bout some bickerin’ an’ fair splits a’rewards! Steamin’, I says! That woman! That no-good, pretty-mouthed, copper-countin’ woman!

We made it outta’ them mountains, and she an’ wee Coleen headed for Galduria, fer th’Academy. She had a score t’settle on th’feller what sent her ill prepared into them mountains. But we parted friends, me’n Irlana. I ain’t seen th’last’a her, if’n I have m’own way. Me, I headed south—an’ I expect I was followed by them gobberlins, truth be told.

They hold grudges! They got theirs, an’ they got what they had comin’ fer tryin’ t’eat m’baby, n’that sweet lass’n her dog. But they don’t see it that’a way. I expect it was gobberlin’s what sacked my camp a month’er so back . . . what sent me t’Sandpoint t’supply t’start with. Gobberlin’s or some dread beasty. Both maybe. Maybe both.

An’ that, lads n’lasses, is why y’don’t see me payin’ no count t’no gobberlins, an’ why they ain’t to be taken lightly. Th’old ways is th’best ways: kill ‘em on sight for they do worse’n that t’you an’ your’n!" -M.Fmt

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Wil's Journal: Entry 3
A Hero's Rest

Today was confusing. Last night, everyone went out without me, and got very drunk. Now everyone else seems to have gotten in to trouble, but they did it without me. Only now Greel and the others seem cross with me for not helping or being a part of it? Something. Only Muireadhach isn’t angry, as usual. He seems just pleased as could be with me – gave me advice on how to talk to Mr. Vinder after he came ‘round being cross at me for seeing Shayliss again. He had given me a punch right on the jaw, too! Only he must be a lot older than he looks, because I barely felt it! I better not let him know, though – better let him think he taught me a lesson. Always better to let a man speak his peace like that, even if part of the speakin’ is with his fists – especially if it doesn’t hurt anyone. So anyway, I went around later and told him that he may not like it, but Shayliss likes me and I like her and we can make our own choices and he has to accept that, but to have a good day. I think that’s good thinking. Muireadhach’s got the right idea – Shayliss seemed worried, though. I think she just doesn’t want to upset her father, and thinks he won’t calm down. But he needs to see I can stand up and take care of her.

Oh, I almost forgot the most important part – Shayliss is staying with me now. I think that’s really nice, because she’s very pretty and very nice to me, and we get along very well. I hope she likes it as much as I do.


Morning sketch
She always looks so worried since I talked to her father. I hope she’s happy.

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