The Twin Kingdoms

Chrysta's Fifth Letter to Mother Augite
What's Mine is Mined.

Dear Mother Augite,

Before I begin this recount, I must confess that I fear I have let slip some of the mysteries of our people to those not of our race. I would take refuge in an excuse but that does not, as they say, hold water – if I was unable to control myself under the influence of alcohol, then I should not have partaken. My only hope is that in my inebriated state, I took as literal what Nura was describing in a metaphorical state.

I should also point out that in some of these tales, I speak of things you know well about, such as my visit to the Archives to investigate the dagger. I do this so that the records will make sense to any others who read them – not all of them would know of your part unless I wrote it out, and you are far too valuable a colleague and mentor to be omitted.

medium.jpgWhen we returned to Callech, strangely enhanced in our abilities, we all decided to go and make use of our new talents. Nura and Faye worked together on the scribing of scrolls, Vall set up a workshop and began shaping such a bow! Oh Mother Augite – I do not usually have an appreciation of these Elvish weapons, but surely his true talents lie in this direction. Even I am able to appreciate the fine lines, the clear engineering of the curves and the power that it will bring to his shots. It will take him some weeks to complete it, but any true work of art deserves the time and the effort put into it.

I myself came to you in our Abbey records to find out more about this dagger, and I do not blame you at all for not wanting to take it. Vall offered, but I did not feel comfortable about that – such a work of evil should be closely guarded by someone who has the blessing of Pharasma to protect them.

All this time, Faye was brushing up on her bardic skills, and spent most of her time in either the tavern or chatting with visitors to town. Poor thing – I think she wants to get out into the world to perform for a wider audience. We suggested she could go and sing to the Water Elemental, who would appreciate her songs. We also asked her to ask the Elemental about the dagger, but she left the creature on friendly terms and does not want to jeopardise this relationship with what could well be the dagger that killed its entire family.

KandarianDagger.pngBy the end of the week, and with your help, I had determined a few things about the dagger. It was dedicated to Norgorber, and would aid one of the followers of that foul deity by being extra-sharp. Alas, most of the information I found was hearsay only – that it could be used in unclean rituals, and that it cannot easily be destroyed. So I paid for our Blacksmith, Tibbett, to make a lead casing for it, and cached it deep in my pack. Even this worthy was not willing to touch the dagger, but placed the casing on a bench so that I could place the dagger inside, then closed the top of it. Hopefully this will block any attempts to sense the dagger, either by the evil it radiates or any other tainted emanation.

Just as we had succeeded in confining the dagger, I received word of a commotion back up at the mine – while the miners were looking for new veins, they had found some old tunnels, not made by Dwarves. This was excellent news as it could lead to new discoveries, but there was an issue. A horde of Kobolds were blocking the caves and causing issues. Those in charge of the mine, like so many of our people, would not ask for help. But if we were in the area, and offered to help… Faye commented that her falchion is sharp and looking for action, and that Dwarves are good at weapon-smithing.

The mine itself is an hour’s walk from the town, to the southeast some five miles at the edge of the mountains. It is a shining example of co-operation between our people and the short-lived race of humans. I remember well when you blessed the work, many years ago, as they dug the first entrance. Much of the town’s prosperity comes from the profits of the mine that are directed to works of charity and the community. It is, however, as most mines are, noisy, dirt and smoky.

And as we gathered our equipment and headed to the entrance of the Mine, I picked up some interesting news from my Dwarvish friends. There was a possibility – just a possibility – that they might have discovered another of our lost ones. Just the chance of this made my heart leap with joy. Pharasma leads us into this world, then she leads us out of it, and it is always a blessing to have a new soul brought back to the light.

Elder_Calcite.jpgElder Calcite, the Chief of the mine, was happy to show us around. Or perhaps “happy” was not the correct word to use – he is rather dour, even for a dwarf. He explained to us that the top level of the mine is already played out, and he took us to the lifts down to various levels. There are two lifts, a large lift for freight and a smaller one for people. As could be expected the workers have priority, and we needed to wait a while as a shift changed in front of us. I should have asked him what the mechanics of the lifts are – I have not yet deciphered how they work. Perhaps a cadre of trained donkeys on a treadmill? The majority of the mine area shows the true expertise of Dwarven engineering, with smooth floors, a well-braced roof, and excellent quality props that spoke of a firm belief in safety.

As we walked down, though, some of us noticed that Elder Calcite did not want us to look in a particular direction, and he deflected any questions from the group about these. I had a feeling he would have been happy to discuss them with me, but did not want the others poking their noses in. The side tunnels were dark, unlit and definitely not up to the quality of the dwarvish tunnels. They had not been finished nicely, their floors were rough, and rubble was strewn around. There was also a slightly oddish scent coming out – not goblin, but something else not natural. Vall seemed somewhat interested in the side tunnels, and I worried that he might accidentally antagonise the Elder.

I thought it was time, and offered the services of the party with any problems the mine might be having, but the Elder stated quite categorically that there are no problems. I could tell I had angered him, and am grateful to Faye who interrupted to ask about the need for excellent weapon-smithing. The Elder seemed very happy with abrupt change in subject, and took us to a smelting area, where he introduced Brother Haematite. Here, Faye described what she needs in a better weapon, and paid a deposit on the final result, which would take about a week. Then Elder Calcite started moving us back to the entrance, albeit past the unsavoury tunnels, and I noticed he was very deliberately not looking towards them. In fact, he was purposefully staying well ahead, and letting us straggle behind. And I suddenly realised I was the only one of the group still following – the rest had already doubled back into the odd tunnels.

Elder Calcite, I have a stone in my shoe. You go on ahead and I’ll meet you at the office.” I hurried back to meet up with the others.

We started up the darker tunnel. It was only after some of the others tripped over that I remembered that not all are blessed by Pharasma with Darkvision, and I lit my lantern and passed it to Nura. We soon came upon a crossroads, and heard some noise coming from the right. Moving as silently as we could, we progressed along until the sounds became clearer – possibly fighting, possibly arguments. The tunnel curved away to the left, and there was light coming from up ahead, and voices, some of which spoke Dwarvish, and some a garbled glottal speech that the others told me later was Draconic.

Vall sneaked around the corner to see, and found himself behind a group of kobolds. Past them, at a meeting of the tunnels, a group of dwarves stood behind a barricade. Vall came back and tried to give phonetic rendition of what he heard the kobolds say.

Tunnel_Battle.pngWhich failed terribly, so Faye cast “Message” on Vall, who crept back and started relaying the words back. From the sounds, it comprised phrases like “Trespassers!” and “Die, fuckers, die!” I can only assume my brethren were pushed beyond their limits to be so aggressive in their language,

We dropped back where the sound of our voices would not spread, and discussed the possibilities. Should we go around and talk to the dwarves? Walk into the kobolds and ask them to stop? Cast lights on Nura and have her walk in and say “CEASE THIS USELESS CONFLICT?”

Faye: I felt it in my bones – from the day I was BORN!

Nura: That’s gout.

We decided to try and stop the fighting by having Nura and Faye go in and order them to stop. Or ask them nicely.

Nura would speak Dwarvish, Faye Draconic. I shall indicate who is talking by Dw for the Dwarves, NDw for Nura speaking Dwarvish, Ko for Kobold (Draconic) etc.

“What is all this about then?”

Dw: “They’re trying to kill us?”

Ko: “This is our space. They’re trying to kick us out.”

NKo: “Lived here long time?”

Ko: "Generations and generations. Way to surface, but this our space.

NDw: “Any of you speak Draconic?”

Dw: “We’re dwarves! NO! We speak the language of the gods.” They had a point.

NDw "So the problem is the kobolds say you attacked them, you think they attacked you.

Dw: “We were doing work, they attacked us.”

Ko "We were travelling from one to the other, they attacked us.

After long discussion, we determined that the Dwarves think Kobolds are animals, not sentient creatures. I could understand this a little, but found it confusing that the obvious evidence in front of them showed that these Kobolds had a great deal of intelligence and purpose.

Eventually Nura got the Dwarves to understand that talking to the Kobolds would be in their interests, especially as there are hordes of Kobolds, and that the Kobolds might be willing to allow mining in exchange for shinies.

The Kobolds themselves were mostly basic fighters in leather armour, but there were two in robes, and two in shinier armour. Nura tried negotiating with them.

“Both sides are fierce – isn’t this big enough to share?”

Ko: “Dwarves are being obstinate. Our space.”

NDw: “Did you know the kobolds were here?”

Dw: “They’re animals.”

NDw: “But they’re using tools.”

Dw: “Animals can use tools.”

NKo: “Do you understand the ways of magic?”

Ko: “The gods show us!”

NKo: “Can you show something non-threatening?”

In answer to this request, one of the robed Kobolds cast a light spell.

Alas, this did not change the outcome.

NDw: “Do you see that? Is that something animals would do?”


And then I realised why they were being so cagey. Up the tunnel they had discovered one of the Lost, and were trying to extract the poor soul without damage. I thought of my dear brother Graben – Mother, do you remember they never could tell if his state was because of a problem during extraction, or he had been like that when he was Lost. I went to talk to my Dwarven brethren, who told me they needed a week to Extract our Lost One. I then asked Nura to enquire whether the Kobolds could wait a week.

Ko “Our places – we need to travel through.”

So I renegotiated with the Dwarvish miners – could the Kobolds traverse the tunnels, but the Dwarves put a screen up to stop anything untoward getting seen? This, they were prepared to allow, but with the most holy of vows from the Kobolds not to look.

Meanwhile, Nura and the Kobolds were discussing magic, as the Kobolds considered their clreic and wizard to be gifts from the gods. She looked forward to being able to exchange spells with them, as the acquisition of arcane spells requires much research, but if you can obtain one from a fellow spellcaster, the effort is much less. We also offered to teacher them Dwarvish, so that they could negotiate with the Dwarves without the need for interpreters. They could see the value in this.

The Kobolds, emboldened by these advances, explained that this trip of theirs is needed twice per day. Faye asked to be allowed to know what the religious thing is, and they agreed to explain it to us. It seems that they worship Zon Kuthon, an evil god with a preference for darkness and loss.

Yay – Reptilian Goths.

We assisted the dwarves with setting up a temporary wall, then travelled with Kobolds, who restrained themselves from trying to peer around the canvas edges. They took us down, around corners, deep into the tunnels, and I noticed that the usually cool and dry atmosphere had become warm and moist. A little further on, and we saw it. They have an egg nursery, next to a vent of some sort that exuded hot muggy steam. The eggs, which they needed to rotate twice per day, were surprisingly large. Almost half the size of the Kobolds. Then I realised – they were baby Kobold Eggs, and we had been allowed the great privilege of seeing their equivalent of the great work upstairs.

Egg_fire.jpgI conveyed to the cleric that just as this is a holy place, and they would not allow all the dwarves to see this, so what is happening upstairs is as holy and must be left undisturbed. I believe they caught my meaning, as their eyes widened and they swore that they would never violate the sanctity of the workings. Pharasma truly gives her blessing to all!

The next week was one of communication and learning, teaching and blessings. Nura traded spells with a Kobold, Faye chatted with the kobolds and learnt their songs. I held conversation sessions, where I taught them Dwarvish and they undoubtedly taught me how to swear and call myself an idiot in Draconic. I also cast a daily blessing of Pharasma on the work upstairs – I was almost beside myself with the joy of a new soul in the community!

Nura, in her discussions, discovered that the Kobolds’ power used to be more powerful, and has now lessened over the generations. They were their strongest just before the Tearing, just as we Dwarves were.

Vall spent his time snooping around trying to learn as much as he could about the way of the Lost, and was always asking questions about the holy work upstairs. Nura was casting “detect Magic” on the barrier, and worked out that what was going on behind the barrier was of a ritual manner. We all noticed that the Kobolds cleric was always with the eggs, and the caster came there morning and night. Nura also noticed that the kobolds are wearing more magic than we’ve seen before in one place.

And then … oh the shame. On the last night – Vall and I got drunk and talked.

“When a mummy dwarf and a daddy dwarf love each other very much…”

“Yes! Yes! They get married, and then, if Pharasma blesses them, they may become parents.”

“But how does that happen?”

“Getting married?”
“No, becoming parents.”

“Um – it’s difficult to explain…"

“Let me suggest something. So first of all the mine train goes in to the tunnel…”

“That’s it! And then the train comes out of the tunnel with the new one!”


The next day I felt as if the world would end. I have been told this is a state called hungover. I do not think I ever want to hang whatever over ever again.

On the last morning, the Kobolds came through. We had become friends, and several had learned both Dwarvish and the Common tongue. I am afraid my brethren were not as open-minded. It will take a long time before they lose their suspicion of all around them. Even so, I should not despair – three or four learned the basics of Draconic. There is still hope.

The Kobolds came in, checked their eggs, then went back.

And my fellow Dwarves prepared to transport the Lost One out of the tunnel. I made sure the rest of my party went out before the Lost One was taken from its resting place to the temple, although I gathered later that Vall had hidden behind, using his skills at concealment. And my mind was otherwise occupied with the great task – I was allowed to help with the last loosening from the matrix, and to lead the way to the Mine’s Temple of Pharasma. All went well, and one more soul has rejoined us in our journey in the light! Mother Augite, this is the third time I have been a part of the Rejoining of the Lost, and the first time I have been allowed to lead the cart. If I gain nothing else from these adventures, this will remain always as a bright and shining memory.

Faye went to pick up her beautiful Falchion, which is now personalised to her specifics. There will be no stopping her now!

And, thanks to the excellent negotiations, the lower corridor now marked as “Not Ours” by Dwarves.

We walked from the mine into the sunshine, and as we did, we felt again the increase in our powers, the bringing of new knowledge, and the blessings of Pharasma.

Your loving acolyte

Chrysta Bal-Trydimite, of Clan Felsic

1200 XP

To Ko-Boldly Go

We returned to Callech and spent a week at leisure there. I spent much of that time in my study, writing out scrolls; the ingredients are not cheap, but they may be useful as a contingency measure. I also enacted another precaution, which I will not discuss here.

Vall has taken up a hobby, bow-crafting; his ambitions for a bow are loftier than Callech can provide, but it turns out that making a bow is quite a slow task. We may do better to buy one.

Chrysta researched the dagger we had found with the goblins, and confirmed it as being dedicated to Norgorber. From what little I know of Norgorber, this is not a good thing. It was not clear how this could be safely destroyed, so as a temporary safeguard we hired a smith to seal it in a lead casing; at least that should impede any accidental stabbings, and from my reading I understand that may also make it harder for others to find it.

Meanwhile, Faye amused herself doing whatever it is that Faye does singing for the entertainment and more importantly, the attention of the townsfolk. I must say, her singing has improved with practice, and although I haven’t admitted it to her, I find it quite enjoyable these days.

At the close of the week, Chrysta came to us with news from the mines. Apparently they had opened up some new tunnels and were having trouble with kobolds – like goblins, a race I had only ever heard of in books up to now.

We agreed to go investigate. The mine was bustling, and a long-bearded elder agreed to give us a tour. Their mines are well constructed – were it not for the lack of sun, one could live there comfortably enough, for the stone has been painstakingly smoothed.

However, as we proceeded, we noticed some side passages that were less in keeping with the general standard: dark, and not as well finished, with an unpleasant and unfamiliar smell. We asked the elder if we could investigate, and he rebuffed us.

But on the return journey, after Faye had commissioned a big sword from one of the weaponsmiths, he made a point of walking ahead of us, as if he wanted us to sneak off behind him and explore the side corridors. (Or at least, it was convenient for us to take that interpretation.)

We did so, proceeding down a very dark passage (fortunately for me, Chrysta had brought a lamp, but next time I shall be sure to have my own). Eventually we came to a junction, and heard sounds of fighting from the right-hand fork, with shouting in Dwarvish and also in what Faye and I identified as Draconic. Vall snuck ahead to investigate – apparently the kobolds were yelling something about “trespassers”.

Faye and I stepped in and attempted to make peace. I will say, my interest in Draconic came primarily from its significance in the old histories; I was not expecting to find a pragmatic use for it so soon!

After much discussion and translation and arguing, we established that the kobolds needed passage for an important ritual, but the dwarves needed privacy for a ritual of their own.

(It wasn’t exactly clear what, but apparently something to do with their birthing customs? We had a very odd conversation with Chrysta afterwards, and although part of that may have been due to the amount she’d imbibed, I came away with the strong impression that dwarvish reproduction is very different to the normal human kind. Perhaps they just dig their newborns out of the rock? In any case, they wanted privacy.)

We negotiated an agreement, whereby the dwarves would put up a screen and the kobolds would be allowed passage. The kobolds invited us to accompany them, and with some nervousness but a great deal of curiosity we did so.

They lay eggs! It makes sense, of course, but still astounding. They kept the eggs, perhaps two dozen, in a warm chamber, and came down twice a day to turn them.

We were very interested to discover that two of them have magical gifts: one a priest, the other an arcane mage a little like myself, who agreed to teach me some of its magic in return for my teaching it Dwarvish.

I was particularly interested to hear that they have had their magical powers for generations without pause; although they weakened when the land broke, they did not lapse as our did! I wonder what this means? I also noticed that several of them carried items that had the glow of magic on them: a sword, a dagger, a breastplate, and shoes. From conversation with the kobolds, it seems these may be heirlooms.

CHRYSTA: “You think we’re rockfuckers, don’t you?”

I was rather alarmed to learn that the object of their worship is Zon-Kuthon. Zon-Kuthon is, from all accounts, not a particularly pleasant god. But gods have many aspects; perhaps a creature might worship Z-K in his portfolios of darkness and loss, without subscribing to all the others? Certainly they were polite enough to us.

At the end of our time with the kobolds, we felt power flood through us once more… and my repertoire of magic has expanded!

Chrysta's Fourth Letter to Mother Augite
Wiping the Floor with More Goblins

Dear Mother Augite,

It seems that Pharasma has allowed us to live through the conflict, for which I have offered many prayers of thanks. I have no doubt that my fellow followers of our great Lady have also been praying for my survival, led by yourself: you all have my total gratitude.

So we were ready to go…

This will be very much the battle tale, as that’s what we faced from the moment we started.


We could hear the mob on the other side of the door, and Myrie could see that we were facing quite a lot of them. And especially the one that charged at her. Luckily Vall was well-placed to hit the blighter on the back as he passed, and swiped well enough to pink him. This, alas, wasn’t enough to take the bugger down, and Myrie copped a hit, which scratched her nastily.

Vall then hit again from behind, using those special abilities that a thief enjoys. The hobgoblin was looking rather ill after that!

Myrie fell back a little and shot at the hobgoblin, with a yell of “Kill the bastard” – and then a “Dammit!” as the blighter stayed on his feet. Another goblin ran in and went for Faye, with its hands waving ineffectually in front of her, while a third went for Vall and performed the same hand-waving – perhaps it’s their version of a fear spell and we are able to resist the ill effects? If so, I claim the protection of Pharasma and her fear-dispelling blessing.

More and more started barging towards us, including their foul beast; but the doorway, whilst being wide enough for a couple, could not all fit through at once.

ThenFaye slashed at the previously-hit Hobgoblin, and succeeded so well that the blade went right through him and into another creature, killing it as well. The floor started running red with goblin blood as she then stepped out of the way, and another goblin tried their terribly useless spell.

Nura sent forth her colour-spray, which blasted over a pile of the combatants, and sent them into paroxyms of confusion and chaos. It was as if the light of the rainbow smote them gloriously, showing them a wonder their minds could not comprehend. I attempted to hit one with my sling, but failed, so drew my dagger and headed into the melee. Considering most of the creatures were prone and bleeding, I was set for a hit. And I shall truly claim that my main purpose was to return them to the warm arms of Pharasma, whence we all came.

Vall set about reducing one of the goblins into his constituent muscle groups, or as Faye called it, “No Longer In Attendons”. Myrie whacked at one nearby, drawing more blood. One near the back tried to return the favour, but missed her, and many of the others were writhing on the floor, waving their hands in front of their eyes in confusion. Another tried for Nura, who got a certain look of “I will remember this” on her face as it hit her. I would not like to be that goblin. Another of the Hobgoblins continued with the Hand-Flailing of Doom in front of Vall, who laughed in his face.

Faye wiggled her biceps, and started slicing at one of the downed goblins, and it seems that the flailing that the others were using was their version of an attack – one tried to hit her and their puny sword merely bounced off her armour. While he was distracted, though, Nura sent her colour spray through again and dazed most of the rest of them, which gave me the chance to step through the bodies and send one of the unconscious ones to Pharasma.

“All the goblin bodies!
All the goblin bodies.
All the goblin bodies.
All the goblin bodies.
Put your … oh. "

The ground was littered with the dead and unconscious, with only four of the smaller sized ones still upstanding on the other side of the doorway. Myrie also helped with disposing of the recumbent creatures, using her bow to great effect.

Vall whacked at the goblin trying to hide behind a wall, hitting him hard. Despite the rainbow effect earlier, we determined that the goblin was using complete cover… Faye stepped into the breech once more, swinging her falchion with verve and skill, slicing one seriously and just missing another. This of course enraged the surviving goblins, who actually landed a hit on Faye and managed to draw blood. Do they not understand the danger of enraging her?

Nura used another of her spells to daze one of the standing goblins, and the remaining alert goblin saw the error of its ways and ran as fast as its ugly little legs could take it. Faye herself was starting to look a little peaked. Thus I chose to hit the hobgoblin who was already looking damaged, and took him down. With a cry of “DIE, GOBLIN!”, Myrie fired at the one running away, and hit him enough to send him staggering. There were moans of confusion from the prone goblins, soon replaced by the squelch of their heads leaving their bodies as Faye practised her reaping and mowing skills on them. This gave Vall the chance he’d held off for, and he stepped into the breech and squished one as well.

Nura then brandished her staff, which elicited a laugh from some of the others.

“Hey, I’ve used my staff to hit things before!”

“Yeah – Faye’s ankles!”

And Nura hit one, with a lovely squelch. I moved up to get to those who would need their way to Pharasma eased, as Myrie, grasping her bow, scarpered up the stairs to take the escaping goblin out as it emerged from the hole. Faye, in her anger, crunched a goblin to jelly and danced on its body, then slowed suddenly and lowered her glaive with exhaustion. With a look of sheer frustration, Vall almost cried as he had to let the escaping goblin get away, but at least he was able to channel this frustration into his rapier thrust. “Schlurp” Good thing I’m not cleaning that floor. With that, Nura stepped to the side to check the room for any hidden threats, and I used my Warhammer to ensure the remaining downed goblin could no longer shoot straight

And upstairs, Myrie spotted the goblin in the water and sent an arrow straight into him.

They were down.

All of them.

Unmoving, unliving.


The blessing of Pharasma is on us.

And we felt it.

Our share of the spoils included shields, longswords, shortbows, shortswords and a great deal of gems and gold, enough that we could each have 1000 gp worth. And one dagger is magic, but It seems slimy and not right. The quality is much better work than goblin. Nura checked it over first, declared it to be a good quality, but that she needed to concentrate on it more to properly identify it.

Two minutes later she had it – it was of such evil that I can barely stand to be near it. No wonder it seemed slimy – it belongs either to the cults of Norgorber or worse still, Urgathoa. Either way, it is an abomination and must be destroyed.

Myrie and Vall had some guarded conversations that made them uncomfortable, that mentioned the Forest once or twice, but I have no idea what it was about. We continued down the track to Tremayne, but alas, there was nothing there of value to me that I could purchase with my newfound wealth.

We returned to Callech, exhausted but well-laden with our pile of plunder. Alas, Myrie was then summoned to the Adventurer’s Hall, and we understand she departed immediately for the lands to the south and other duties. I, for one, shall miss her.

Faye: “We mustn’t scare the people more than they already are, by what we’re bringing into it.”

Chrysta: “But in reality, we’re not. The Orb siginfies that something has come into the world. It is affecting the world, and it is affecting us, but we are not affecting the world.”

"A Goblin's Head Is Easily Shed"

Music and Lyrics by Faye Tannerson. Any parties who feel that the following lyrics do not accurately represent past events should bear in mind Faye’s recently acquired Bard power; “Summon Artistic License”

A goblin bares his ugly steel
To meet his match is no ordeal
For when the bout is head to head
A goblin’s head is easily shed

A troupe of bawdy heroes, from southern Callech came,
They seek to see the world in time, and give themselves a name
By night they thought to rest inside an old abandoned keep
Yet unaware of fearsome folk, a-lurking in the deep

By moonlight did the beasts arrive, they came without a sound
Until the watch was woken by the odour of their hounds
So did our troupe, with goblin kind at last come face to face
But goblin hearts, and soon their heads, had clearly been misplaced

When goblin bares his ugly steel
To meet his match is no ordeal
For when the bout is head to head
A goblin’s head is easily shed

The triumph of our heroes, was heard in goblin’s den
The toughest of their kind awoke to squeals of rage and then
They swore our troupe would meet our end to goblin steel tonight
And sent their horde upon our kind, in all their ugly might

The troupe believed their end was nigh, the goblin horde was vast
Yet magic from our heroes’ hands had thinned their numbers fast
Our fearless troupe cut through the mass, through every foe dispatched
And not a goblin lived that day, no more their heads attached!

When goblin bares his ugly steel
To meet his match is no ordeal
For when the bout is head-to-head
A goblin’s head is easily shed!

Goblins and More Goblins
Giving Them A Spray

So there we were: the five of us in one room of the goblin lair, and a horde of assorted goblins in the next. Well, perhaps not a full-sized horde, I’m uncertain of the exact criteria, but certainly an uncomfortably large number. We had already slain several, but more than a dozen remained.

Vall hid behind the wall that separated the two; as one charged in to strike at Myrie, he skewered it with its rapier. Myrie shot into the hordes, and Faye laid about her with her sword, then stepped aside nicely in time for me to catch the massed goblins with a burst of colour that knocked three of them and a rat-dog unconscious, never to wake again. Had we been in open terrain I daresay their numbers would have become more of a threat, but as it was, we used the choke point to good effect. The bodies of dead and unconscious goblins piled up in the doorway, hindering those behind; a few shot at us, but to little effect, and Myrie’s return fire was far more effective.

At my request Faye distracted one of them, a big ugly fellow, long enough for me to step in and catch him and his friends with another burst. Chrysta moved in to bolster us, ready to heal if anybody was seriously hurt (fortunately, no such need) and making sure the ones I’d downed stayed down. Soon there were only a few stragglers left. Faye and Vall stepped in, and even I poked one with my stick before Faye sliced him in two. One attempted to flee out the back but Myrie caught him in the leg, hobbling him, and then finished the job as he swam away.

When the dust settled, all the goblins lay dead. Our own injuries were slight, and mine nonexistent; one of their arrows whizzed past my head, but my deflective magic turned it aside.

All of us felt a rush of power; when I set myself to my books later that night, I discovered that two enchantments that had previously resisted my understanding now seemed straightforward and obvious, and even my study of Abyssal – not the easiest of languages – became a single matter. The others likewise appear more capable.

I feel I acquitted myself well that day; although I barely laid a hand on the goblins myself, I left them easy targets for my allies. And I must say, my allies also worked to my benefit, clearing a path for me and protecting me while I was occupied in casting.

The goblins had quite a haul with them, coins and gems as well as their crude weapons. I wonder if they have scavenged this from the ruins, or some other place? Most curious of all, a sinister dagger that carried an aura of magic and of evil with it. Chrysta and I believe it to have some association with one of the evil gods, but we are uncertain as to which. I feel more investigation is required; perhaps somebody at the Adventurers’ Guild will recognise it?

My own share of the haul is quite generous – but truth be told, there is little enough to spend it on here. No matter; somehow I feel we will be seeing rather more of the world before the next year is done.

Chrysta's Third Letter to Mother Augite
Sing me the song of your people!

Dear Mother Augite,

I start this letter, not at all sure that I will be able to deliver it to you. As we are about to face a dire situation, I have left it addressed and deep in my pocket, in the hope that, should we be slaughtered, when my remains are found the finder kindly ensures its final delivery. I sincerely hope, though, to be able to write the remainder later tonight.

Also, please pass my thanks to Sister Ochre for the lovely picture she drew of the place where we battled the goblins. Her skills with paint and brush far exceed anyone else that I know, and despite her never seeing this place, she has drawn it perfectly!

We rested in Callech, and Faye and Nura wanted to return to where the WaterElemental had arisen from the water, to converse with it and find out what tribute it desires to allow the boats to continue plying their trade up and down the river. Faye was apprehensive about her skill in Aquan, but Nura assured her that she (Nura) has studied the form and structure of languages, and between them they ought to be able to communicate with this strange being. We wish they had more time to compare their notes and for Faye to teach Nura the language, but this task must needs be completed before the next barge heads down river.

Faye also had the excellent idea of talking with the older elves, who have been through this time of magic in its earlier incarnation, to find out anything they can. And indeed, Mother Augite, any information you can glean from me on this would be greatly appreciated, for surely many of our own long-lived race would remember not just the last time the Orb lit up, but several of the times before that. Please send me those details as soon as you can, that I might pass this knowledge around our group.

There was quite a discussion before we left, because it seems that the elves would have preferred to remain at Callech. However, Nura and Faye reported that some of the humans around Callech are becoming uneasy at what our group seems to have induced. Such tiny minds on the short-lived races! They cannot see that whatever the power is that has reactivated the Orb has also brought these creatures, and we are but a byproduct of the power, not the cause of it. We managed to persuade Vall and Myrie to accompany us, for their own safety as much as to ensure our group had the maximum possible power.

So we have two horses and a barbarian…

… walk into a bar.

I’m not reading that fic.

We pooled our funds, and all contributed to hire a horse that Galath might come with us to the elemental, and then return in time for his next portal. Nura rode with me on Quicksilver, the others working out their own mounts. There was some disagreement between Vall and Myrie, culminating in the admission from Myrie that she does not trust Vall because Vall is an elf. We pointed out that Myrie is an elf, but the logic seemed to escape her. Then the discussion flowed to how to repair our reputation in the town, which some seemed to think required the elves to settle down and populate it with half-elves. I cannot see this resolving itself easily.

Much banter and bickering followed as we rode down the river, but we were easily able to find the rock we had marked earlier and the point in the river where the Elemental lived. Indeed, it would be easier if I transcribe what I could gather of the conversation between Faye and the Elemental:

Faye: “Nobody touch the water”.

(There was something stirring in the water.)

Faye: “Hello! We have returned!”

Elemental rises,

WE: Greetings!

Faye: Many boats will travel this way. We recognise you as the traditional owner of this patch of water. What would you take as tribute?

Vall (aside): Body language? How do you read a body of water?

WE: “I want the kingdom of XXXX restored
I want the item of XXXX returned
I want the power of XXX given back to its rightful place.”

(We could not understand the words. Perhaps one day we should come back and find out what they were)

Nura suggested “Can you draw pictures?”

Chrysta: Perhaps shape the water?

Faye: Interpretive water dance?

(someone) River dance?

WE: You will know then when you come across them.

F: Where can we find them?

WE: This world is not what it was. I cannot tell you.

N: Mutters about war

N: Suggests that as this going to take a while, may the boats have safe passage?

WE: If you give tribute

F: What tribute would please you

WE: Something of value to us or them?

F: Copper coins

WE: Your demenour suggests these are not that valuable to you

F: Not to me, but to the peple of the village.

WE: In the old times I had tribute of gems and precious metals.

F: But these people don’t have access to gems. WE are poor. Copper, and a little silver.

There followed an argument about who should be talking to the Water Elemental.

Val: Elf-feminite (whatever that means. These elves are a strange lot)

F: What is valuable to me is stories and songs. Let me sing you a song of my people.

N: Your dignity isn’t valuable?

F: Starts singing

And she gave a performance of deep and sincere emotions, that stirred the hearts of all there, including (apparently) the Water Elemental.

Chr: How do you tell if a Water Elemental is crying?

WE: I will let them pass if they sing to me. I have no knowledge of this new world. That would be worth something to me.

Let this be a lesson to our people – that sometimes words are more valuable than gold and gems. Perhaps we could start a singing school at the new Temple?

We rode hard, and returned by sunset, in time for Galath to join his boat for the run down to Tremayne. The Temple does well, by the way, and will be ready in time for the Autumn Harvest festival. It will though be according to the pleasure of Pharasma whether I am to be a part of that.

The next day, we returned to the ruins where the goblins had given us so much trouble, only slightly misdirected by Faye. I hope she will improve at pathfinding in the future, for another time, the delay may be of greater importance.

Campsite.jpgIn the daylight, we realised that the entire edifice is a great deal more engineered than we first thought. The place where the campsite is situated is built atop of a great stone platform that has altered the course of the river, so sturdy and huge is its construction. There were signs that the buildings behind the campsite might extend even further than we first thought.

The place where we had searched before is a cellar built under the stone platform, with two entrances; the larger one back from the river, and the small muddy hole we had discovered while on the barge.

Then Vall and Myrie picked up a smell.

Fresh goblins.

As Myrie has a special hatred of goblins, we mused that perhaps goblins would be blamed for every ill that befell her people.

“Roof fell in – Goblins!”

“Autism – Goblins”

“Firefly got cancelled – GOBLINS!”

Myrie complained about the rest of us trampling all over the area as she searched for any signs of recent habitation, and then deduced that the myriad of footprints were not (as she had first thought) from our own clumsy feet, but from an entire troop.

Val: A stink of goblins?

Faye: A Miasma of goblins?

Goblin_Troop.pngWe decided to use the entrance with steps, not the hole in the riverbank.

Faye: Val? You know traps – you go first.

And Val found a trap straight away – if he hadn’t checked first, I would have been the only one who wasn’t tall enough to be hit by the swinging rocks. Val tries to disable it from a crouching position, and keeps making comments on the quality of the trap and the intelligence and ingenuity of the makers.

I was having trouble seeing past everyone – perhaps being the short one in the middle of the group was a bad idea. While concentrating on the floor, though, I did spot that it was sloping slightly.

Suddenly I realised that the others were all brandishing their weapons, and Nura hurled a quarter staff. Badly. She hit Faye on the ankle, hard, and Pharasma knows what else suffered that blow. Faye just managed to stop from tumbling down the stairs and knocking us all before her.

Then an arrow struck the wall just above my head.

Another goblin swung and missed, and Myrie and Vall ran forward to get around him, with the goblin swinging wildly at them. With that, Val hit hard with his rapier, and brought the Goblin close to death:

M: “Could I do a Coup de Gras?”

C: “Just hit him through the liver, and do a Coup de Fois Gras?”

V: “Hit him in the backside and do a Coup de Ass.”

One more shot at Faye, and this one hit. And another larger one ran up to Faye and stabbed her hard. This one was nastier, and uglier. Another ran to Myrie and went for her with a knife, but missed. I thought I had better start doing something.

Nura tried once more with her magic staff, and the heavy “thunk” matched the big guy dropping. Then another ran up to me, swinging his shortsword in my face and slashing a nasty cut in my side. Val ran up behind, and stabbed, with such precise accuracy and attitude that it was a wonder that his rapier did not explode with delight. Myrie now had a rather upset hobgoblin in her face, so she returned the favour with her longsword and rendered the threat impotent. So I swung at the little goblin in front of me, but didn’t manage much.

Faye jumped off the stairs, stumbling somewhat as she landed, and fell onto the dead hobgoblin. Then she ran off into the tunnel, as Nura beside me dazed the guy in front of me. Val ran off after Faye, then a second later both of them came back, Val dragging Faye by the shoulder with one hand over Faye’s mouth.

“There’s a lot of trouble in that room”

Myrie readied her bow and shot into the room with the ferocity of an elf with a deadly hatred of the race.

Realising the danger, and the opprtunity of the dazed goblin, I moved well away from him and cast a Bless on the lot. And Faye took advantage of the dazed condition of the goblin as well, and sliced and diced him, after which I took my knife and returned the foul creature to the arms of Pharasma.

And then we considered our situation.

“I’ve got 39 arrows and they all have the names of Goblins and their dogs on them.”

“How do you know their names?”

“Book of Baby Goblin Names 2016”

Mother, we are at the moment sharpening our blades, counting our arrows, and preparing to go into the room where there are many, many goblins. I trust to Pharasma, who alone knows whether I shall prove myself for her glory, or go to meet her. If I am able, I shall finish this tale.

If I am not, please comfort my parents and tell them I died well in the service of our people.

Until then, farewell.

Chrysta Bal-Trydimite, of Clan Felsic

River Song

We decided to go back and continue negotiations with the water golem I mentioned previously, although we were concerned that the language barrier might be a problem. I have read of magic that allowed understanding of any language, but I had neither the time nor the resources to research such a spell, so we were forced to rely on Faye’s surprisingly-good grasp of Aquan.

There was some discussion as to whether we should all go together, or only those of us with something to contribute to negotiations. Chrysta suggested that if it was true that our presence attracts trouble, more of us might mean more trouble – but does that mean we should split up and deal with two smaller troubles, or stay together for increased might against one big one? It rather depends on whether the relationship between heroes and trouble is additive, or some form of exponential, or perhaps a square-root type relationship. We should investigate this at some stage.

For the time being we all went together, taking Galeth with us. Chrysta and Myrie spent some of their legitimately-gotten gains on horses, and I shared Chrysta’s steed; I’m yet to get the hang of such things, but I didn’t fall off.

It took us about half a day to reach the elemental. Faye spoke with it and relayed its words to the rest of us – I never knew “glub” could contain so much nuance. Sadly its speech was heavily dependent on proper nouns unfamiliar to us, and it lacked modern reference to explain them. It wanted the Kingdom of Something restored, the Power of Something-Else (Or Maybe The Same Thing?) returned, and the Some Other Thing Again (Maybe?) recovered.

However, it understood that this task might prove difficult. In the meantime, it wanted tribute in return for safe passage. Fortunately Faye had the good sense not to translate my suggestion for a “tribute of gold”; she tried to palm it off with copper coins but it was smart enough to recognise their low value.

In the end Faye offered it a song, and to our great relief it agreed to accept songs for tribute. An excellent outcome all round. Afterwards we discussed the potential of songs about glub.

After escorting Galeth back to town, we headed back downriver to investigate the ruins we’d seen previously. Heading down into a basement, we smelled the distinctive odour of goblins, and Vall found and disabled a wicked trap before it could harm us.

As we descended the stairs we were not entirely surprised to find half a dozen goblins waiting for us, two rather larger than the others. In my excitement I mishandled my staff and hit Faye in the ankles; one of the big ones charged in and hit her, but Faye hit him with her falchion – actually, let’s say “smote”, it was hard enough to count as smiting – and then I caught him a hard blow that left him dazed until Chrysta was ready to finish him off.

Meanwhile Vall and Myrie were laying waste to the rest of them, working well as a team. One fled into the next room, and Vall and Faye gave chase then pulled back after sighting quite a few more goblins and a couple of the rat-dogs.

How did we make it out? DID we make it out? Am I writing this from beyond the grave? I shall leave that story for next time.

The Price of Being Chosen

Back in Callech again, but for some of us, everything has changed – and not for the better.

In the end, it turned out that the barge thieves were goblins – stinking, creeping goblins. It took us virtually no time to deal with them, and the strange dog-like creature they brought with them. Nura and Chrysta didn’t even need to engage them – between my arrows, Vall’s knives and Faye’s sword, we were more than a match for them. There was an unfortunate moment when one of the bargemen was startled by Vall rushing past him in full battle mode (despite Faye’s attempts to wake everyone quietly). The poor man fell straight into the fire, and it was only due to Faye’s quick thinking that he was not more terribly injured. As it was, Chrysta’s healing powers were needed for both him and Vall, who had suffered a wound at the hands of the goblins.

After that, the journey back to the village was uneventful. For some of us, though, it grew considerably uncomfortable as the bargemen began to regard us with some level of fear. Oh, they were grateful enough that we had dealt with the threat to their livelihood (and for Faye’s impromptu fire safety lecture), but now we were not simply a source of pride for them. It’s one thing to be able to say your village was chosen as a place where magic awakened and adventurers were chosen. It’s quite another to see that in action as these chosen ones display legendary abilities and throw themselves into battle without a second’s thought.

I suspect this will fall hardest on Faye. Vall may face difficulties with his family and acquaintances, but he is an Elf, and will undoubtedly have held part of himself in reserve. Nura, likewise, is far too self-contained to really feel the burden of ostracism that may spread from the bargemen to the good citizens of Callech. Faye, though, takes real pride in both her adventurer status and her place in the life of the village. How will she reconcile these with the distance that will inevitably grow between us and those whose only experience of the magic is to witness it – or worse, be hurt or killed?

Chrysta's Second Letter to Mother Augite
Things that go "ARGH YAY WOOF" in the night.

Dear Mother Augite,

Before I resume my tale of our journey back up the river, please let me thank you for the kind package. I had not thought to include a tea-making set in my supplies, and the next time Myrie wishes to brew a plant potion, I’m sure it will come in useful. Also, I have managed to find some lavender among the plants along the wayside, and will enjoy a refreshing brew from time to time. Thank you also for the kind wishes from Novice Griesen. Has she really passed her Postulancy already? I am pleased that she has found that her way is the way of the Monk, for she was unsure for a very long time.

Barge.bmpBut I have left you hanging in the tale of our journey up the river. As I had mentioned before, we were headed upstream, against the current, and the two noble donkeys in the boat worked hard to keep us going. I have tried to draw a picture of them, but I have not the skills of Sister Ochre whose illuminations have so graced our Temple’s records.

And it was during the journey that I looked at the damage caused by those rabid bats, and realised that it did not match that which we were to investigate. So our foe had not yet been vanquished.

By nightfall, we had reached the location which was obviously the preferred stopping point. The nighttime camp site is well used, with shelter, cesspit, and fireplace, but we realised that as this was the regular location, it would be so terribly easy for anyone else to plan to raid the boat right here.

With the sun dropping down, we set the campfire, and there was storytelling and food. And, while checking for good watch-keeping spots, Myrie worked out that the place used to be a bit of the old civilisation. There were broken walls, fitted stones, and it was tucked nicely in the elbow of a river – it might well have been a trading post or the home of some landowner. Vall also determined the layout of the walls, and between him and Myrie, they worked out some hiding spaces.

The anti-nasty-bat-stuff was ready to drink, and luckily I didn’t need to. Apparently, it tasted worse than it smelled. The others made assorted gagging noises, and Myrie couldn’t keep it down, regurgitating the mix within moments. Luckily, she was able to swallow the second dose. From the complaints around me, I can only assume that being bitten by bats is really low on the “To Do” list.

The other guys curled up to sleep at about moonrise, and we worked out some watches.

“We could get Myrie to fire a shot at Faye to wake her up.”

“If she’s really good, she’ll nail her through the ear.”

“Hey – if she hits the ear just right, she can end up with a pointy ear like an elf!”

“Hey NOOO!”

While all was silent during the earlier watches, it’s a good thing both Myrie and Vall were alert, so when there was an odd noise at the grey end of the night just before dawn, they heard it. From the barge. There was something moving on the end of the barge away from Faye. Something scratching, and sneaking, and nasty.

Both the elves got onto the barge, and saw…. three things that weren’t part of the crew. That smelled. And that were goblin-like. So much so that they were indeed goblins.

Myrie loaded up her bow, and Vall got a couple of nice fat sling rocks ready as well. Myrie has a thing against goblins, so her arrow flew with extra vigour and hatred, and hit well. Vall hit another with his slingshot, hard enough to vapourise its head and hit the side of the boat on the other side. The scream of the third one, upon being drenched in the blood of its companions, was enough to wake Nura and Faye, although tucked over in the side of the boat, I slept on.

And now they started with the “Hairy Chrishna” jokes. Thanks. Guys.

That goblin took one look at Myrie, and started to run, but Myrie prayed to Our Lady of the Longbow to hit him, and her prayer was answered! Vall ran up to the one Myrie first hit, and skewered him. In her sleep-confused state, Faye leapt to her feet and started flailing with her sword at the darkness, whereas the calm-thinking Nura came over and started shaking me from my dream of the homeground. I fear we shall have to work out a better way to wake me in the future – not only do I not want to leave my companions to fight without help, but to require a special wake-up call will take one of them from more important matters.

Like killing goblins.

Myrie dragged the injured goblin back, preparatory to questioning it with impunity. We also noticed that the goblins’ feet – and only their feet – were wet. Thus, they had travelled in the water, but not deep enough to swim.

The blighter wouldn’t wake up, so I gave him a heal spell and brought him back from the brink. Bleary-eyed, I bandaged the little blighter with its own rags, but none of our party speaks Goblin, which made things difficult. Nura wouldn’t let Faye waterboard the goblin either. However, we had worked out that the claws on the goblins matched the clawmarks on the barge’s boxes. And then Myrie noticed that there was a hole in the bank that we hadn’t seen before, one that’s rather small and goblin sized, and probably where they came from.
But we still couldn’t talk to him, as even in his slightly healed state, he spoke nothing we could understand. And this led, Mother, to my first deliberate killing of a being who was not already sick, or dying, or in such pain that there was no cure. The goblin could not be allowed to give warning to any others, so the party decided that he must be silenced. Permanently. Mother, I sent him back to the darkness whence he came. I do not yet know how I feel about this – on the one hand, I deliberately cut short the life of a creature who was at that moment not harming me, and whom I had just healed. Orc_dead.jpgOn the other hand, had we left him even tied on the boat, there is a good chance he would have alerted his companions in some way. I realise that life is fleeting and death is certain, but I do not yet know if my role is to hasten it along. I would appreciate your thoughts on this dilemma.

Then Vall and Myrie noticed a noise coming from the stones that lay past where the boat crew slept. We quickly plugged the hole where we think the goblins came out from with those materials we had at hand – loose rocks, mud, and dead goblins.

Vall: “Oh my god, Nura – Look at (Myrie’s) butt”

Goblin_Dog.jpgThere was a thing with red eyes in the bushes past the crew, and a smell. A deeply horrid gangrenous smell, blended with a load of meat outside. I cast a “Bless” on everyone, and Faye yelled at everyone to pull back as this was DANGEROUS!

This woke five of the crew (the others were still asleep), but some of them took fright at the view of Vall running past with a rapier, and covered in goblin blood. One guy ended up flailing into the fire, and caught alight, but Faye tackled him to the ground and rolled him to stop the flames. This also set her on fire. And the creature, which was some sort of goblinish dog, leapt at Vall and bit him, hard – and then clamped its jaws.

Vall swung his rapier at the ugly thing, hit it, but wasn’t able to loosen it. Nura used her powers of protection, and Faye rolled herself out. The dog bit harder, drool leaking out the sides of its mouth.

I stayed back, watching the whole thing, and making sure nothing nasty was coming near us. The crewmen were running towards me, but something else was coming in from whence the dog had appeared. Vall disemboweled the dog, and had to pry open its dead jaws to remove it. The wounds were nasty, but there was no time to complain as three more goblins came from the bushes and started firing at us.

Or more particularly, at Vall. Who had somewhat attracted their attention by gutting their dog. Both goblins were useless, though, and one destroyed his bow in the process. One fired at Myrie, causing a nasty scratch down her cheek and she shot back, barely missing the beast. Even I tried a slingshot, thought they were quite some distance and my aim was impaired. Once more, I failed to hit at all. I shall have to practice more often.

Vall swung hard at one of the little bastards. and reduced it to a nasty sludgy pile of bleeding, while Nura came back to me, keeping an eye on that hole for fear they would reinforce themselves from behind the main fight. The goblin furthest away from Vall pulled his little sword and went for the big elf, but bounced off the armour. Faye was so pissed by this, she screamed, swung her falchion above her head, and despite the clumsiness of the swing she cleft the goblin in twain. Myrie loosed an arrow at the remaining goblin, where her hatred of the creature inspired a greater effort. He was spiked through the middle, and dropped.

I cast a couple of Positive Energy Surges, and healed the crew and Vall, especially that crew member who had burned most dreadfully. Then we investigated the tunned from whence the goblins had scurried as they attempted to rob the barge.

There, inside, it was not a tunnel so much as the basement of an old building. It smelled of goblin, and their dog, and there were lots of bits of stuff everywhere. The area I could see led onto a larger one, and I could feel a slight breeze blowing towards me. Sure enough, at the end was an opening that led out to some rocks just out of the campsite area. This was where they had come from, and how they had ambushed us. Vall and I ferreted through the junk, and found some gems, coins and knick knacks. They matched the sorts of goods that had been going missing from the barge, and although Nura searched for magic, there was nothing too special. We gathered it up, brought it out to the group, and as we emerged we caught the end of Faye’s lecture on fire safety. None of the crew were even listening, and Myrie chucked an acorn at her.

Morning finally dawned, and we searched the bodies and checked around to make sure there were no other nasty friends around. Vall and Faye started a poetry slam on how to kill goblins, which the rest tried to ignore as we scarfed down our breakfast. Luckily Vall avoided the embarrassing rash from the goblin dog, which is lucky as there was no way I was going to touch that sort of rash. Not there, anyway.

We showed our finds to the crewmen, who were able to identify some of it as definitely missing from previous boatloads. Those items they could not identify, we kept.

Vall: The rest of your stuff has obviously been fenced.

Myrie: Who calls it “fencing”?

Vall: People with rapiers!

The trip back was quiet, but some of us realised that the crew was somewhat intimidated by us now. It’s quite possible that my carving one of the goblin’s thigh bones into an amulet at the front of the boat didn’t help.

But Galath explained that they had not been expecting goblins. Goblins are fairy stories. And such things make them … uneasy. Luckily Vall was able to calm their fears. His skills at diverting their attention were almost patronising in their simplicity.

And finally we slid into the home port.

Mother, I am starting to realise the complexities of this world. The people seemed glad when we were Called, yet they’re afraid of what this means. And yet, even if we weren’t here, the creatures would still arrive and make like difficult. They are glad of our skills, yet fearful when we use them.

And this is such a position of responsibility. This is the first time I have killed a living thing like that. I feel sure it will not be the last. Thank Pharasma that I know the meaning of life, of death, and of the Journey we must all take.

My love to all at the old Temple, and I shall try to visit when I can.

Your loving apprentice,

Chrysta Bel-Trydimite

Treasure: 100go each
This adventure – 400 xp
To date: 700xp

Nura's Journal: Goblins ahoy!

I have been thinking more about the spark of heroism that we share. In particular, I am curious as to how it relates to Chrysta’s powers.

Do her powers indeed flow directly from Pharasma? If so, why is the spark involved at all? Surely a god could give power to anybody she chose, spark or no. Unless the spark is bestowed by the gods themselves, as the means to channeling that power… but frankly, if that were the case, one would think the gods would choose folk more godly than myself, or certain other people who I will not name.

Or do her powers come entirely from the spark, with her belief merely shaping the form of that power? In that case, belief in even a false god would be equally powerful. It would be interesting to find somebody else with the spark and test the power of a concocted faith, but sadly a little impractical, and I suspect Chrysta might take it amiss.

But let me write down our recent exploits. We set up for the night at the anchorage where the barge had previously incurred thefts. Vall and Myrie explored the region and found that we appeared to be in the ruins of an old settlement built up from cleverly-assembled drystone.

Myrie brewed the anti-rabies tea. It was not entirely to my tastes, but I grimaced less than some. I sincerely hope that will be the end of that matter. Faye complained about my use of magic to defend her from the bats, but I told her that it wasn’t my fault if she was more distractible than a bat, and the conversation ended there.

We made camp for the night, with both the elves on watch; their eyes and ears are keen enough that there’s little value in me staying up, and I need my rest to keep my mind fresh.

During the night, as we had expected, our thieves paid a visit. By the time I woke, Vall and Myrie had more or less taken care of the first intruders. Little creatures with bizarrely oversized heads and sharp teeth – goblins! It seems there was a tunnel next to the anchorage, and they had emerged from there to raid the boat.

Between Vall’s sling and Myrie’s bow, two of them were gone within seconds, with the last one injured. We captured it, but none of us were able to speak with it, and it kept shouting – presumably for its friends – so we were obliged to silence it permanently.

Or as Chrysta put it, “return him to the darkness from whence he came”. She is oddly verbose, especially for a dwarf, but I have a fondness for that sort of flowery speech. Heavens know there’s enough of it in —’s old notebooks!

Meanwhile, more approached from the land: three goblins, and a disgusting rat-dog (dog-rat? Well, the size of a dog, with the charm of a particularly vicious rat). I flung my staff at one and cuffed his ears, but Faye, Vall, and Myrie seemed to have matters well in hand, so I returned to the boat to stand by Chrysta and make sure no more goblins came to attack us from the hole.

When the fighting was over we investigated. The place has a very faint aura of magic; it may be worth our while to return here at some point and investigate further. We found some items obviously stolen from the cargo, which we returned, and others less identifiable, which we kept.

An unfortunate incident: one of the bargemen fell into the fire during the commotion, and Chrysta healed him along with Faye and Vall. Afterwards, the other bargemen began to look askance at him and at us; until now both goblins and elementals had been nothing more than myth, and it seems they blame us for the reappearance of both. The timing is certainly curious; whether or not it is true, we shall have to be careful to avoid provoking antagonism. I have no desire to be chased out of town by a frothing mob.

Have been asking Myrie about L., an Elvish hero of the old sagas. I had wondered if she might know him – elves do live a long time – but the topic seemed to be a sensitive one. I am not sure whether I have missed some rule of elvish etiquette, or perhaps there is some personal reason why M. finds the subject unpleasant. Is there a history between them? Most curious.

I wonder what lies in store for us next?


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