Party Members: Fiver, Barendd, Kylgore, Emily, Nying, and Mizzi.
Journal of Barendd Torunn (Excerpt 2):
For one it was the best of times; for others it was the worst…..
After spending a week accompanying Arin (reference Excerpt 1) to his home near the Black Footpad Inn and enjoying various pleasantries of this small outpost, I met two of my former adventuring colleagues, Fiver and Mizzi. I was somewhat surprised to see them together as they always seemed to be at odds with one another during our previous campaign. I couldn’t blame my Dwarven brother, as our colorful Kobold companion, from my limited perspective, often behaved in a somewhat chaotic manner during our aforementioned failed attempt to find and dispatch a group of local pirates (reference Excerpt 1). We were joined by three others; a Ranger, a Paladin, and a Wizard (our leader). After a few weeks on the island, I had become more comfortable about my surroundings and chose to engage my survival skills in the role of trailblazer. We found information regarding a group of cultists located in, or to the North of the surrounding woods. These heathens were rumored to be engaged in sacrificial ritual to appease some musty ancient god holed up in the nearby mountains. Finally, I will get to do battle with true evil!
We set out and made our way North through the forest. About mid-day we spotted a small group of kobolds watching us as we passed beneath a short cliff side. Though they plainly had us at a disadvantage in positioning, we appeared to be similar in number, and they took no aggressive actions. Fiver was very helpful in acting as our interpreter, and we learned they were a small peaceful, band from the Grey Grey Clan who were fleeing a giant Tunnel Worm that had attacked their warren. Peaceful? To my surprise, these were not the craven, devious reptilians I was taught about in my youth. They were simple beings fleeing the horrors of a decimating attack on their warren; they had true sentient concern for their kin. They were traveling to the Black Footpad Inn to see if they could find any surviving members of their clan. Our party took pity on the poor souls and offered to dispatch the attacking worm. If I may say, a rather brash offer considering we had no idea how large or powerful the acid-spitting worm (or worms) might be….and what of hunting cultists? This would be unheard of in my homeland; Kobolds are evil(?) and would be dealt with as such….. My experiences with Fiver and this small band contradict what I have been taught. One thing I have learned during my time here on the island is that to survive, I must retain an open mind.
Throughout our journey Mizzi verbally poked, prodded, and persecuted Fiver in an uncivilized manner that belayed his deep prejudices. On several occasions they nearly came to violence; Fiver always took the high road; placing the party’s needs above warranted retribution. I am somewhat disappointed in my cleric kinsman; flaunting wealth and belittling your peers is no way to model piety; eventually fate catches us all….. We came across a group of small boar rooting around in the loam of the forest. The thought of fresh bacon made my mouth water! So much better than trail rations! In our first salvo we killed three of the five animals; my butchering skills were not perfect, but we retained more than enough meat to tide us through several days. I was thankful, those who would kill the remaining two boar were unsuccessful. What purpose is served in wiping out a herd?
We reached the kobold warren at dusk. There were many tracks leading out of their cave and no indication that anything had followed them out. The wizard sent his bat familiar into the cave to scout and it was nearly eaten by a marauding spider. We entered the small, dark cave slowly, expecting to be ambushed by a spider at any moment. We saw nothing until our leader sent a fire bolt into a tangle of webs, and an angry spider flew out of the burning webs and attacked. It was no match for our combined efforts, however it was apparent their poison could be deadly. At the end of one of the tunnels we detected the presence of a kobold child; again, Fiver was instrumental in communicating with it. Lilbit was quite distraught by what he/she had witnessed. Between the ravaging worm and the scavenging spiders, Lilbit was frozen with fear in his/her hiding spot. Fiver assured the little kobold that we would return after clearing the warren of any dangers; our paladin left the little critter with a javelin to protect itself if necessary. While we were conversing with the kobold child, two more spiders took notice of us, and we defeated them with only minor injuries. The wizard’s bat familiar was again sent further into the cave to scout, and it came across a large cavern meeting-room with what appeared to be two large holes freshly dug into the floor. He sent his bat in to investigate, and it immediately was lost. A loud rumbling could be heard and felt from under the floor.
The giant Worm erupted from the floor between myself and Mizzi; as it flailed about, choosing a target, it turned to me and attacked. If not for my shield, I would have been struck by its gaping maw. I summoned my shield of faith and attacked with all my might. Blow after blow I landed, yet it seemed to do little or no damage against the thick carapace. It struck at me again and again; I know, if not for Tyr’s shield, I would likely have been struck down by the monster. Sensing a greater vulnerability, the worm turned and attacked Mizzi; swallowing him whole and diving back into its hole. Without a thought, I jumped into the hole after it; bringing down Tyr’s flame to no avail….. If not for the paladin’s heroic efforts, Mizzi would have been lost. Apparently, worms do not do well in digesting metal, gems, and glass as we found numerous coins, gems, and even a few potions hidden within its bowels.
To my dismay, we never did get to track down and chastise those cultists. All is not lost though…. The debate over whether evil is inherent or is a behavioral consequence has been waged for many years. I was able to witness compassion and gratitude from a species I had, until this day, considered evil. As this island is isolated from the preconceptions of the rest of the world, I can only surmise that maybe evil is not inherent. Maybe evil is learned or foisted upon a species by their disposition in the predominant society. If Lilbit were to have the same experiences, resources, and support as Fiver has had, would he/she develop the same good disposition towards others?
As we were leaving the forest to return to the Inn, three hawks appeared to be following us. The wizard, a rather bloodlusty fellow, attempted to shoot them down with his magics. Much to his chagrin, these hawks turned out to be Zach, Zachary, and Gwendolin(?), three very high level protectors of the forest. They were not pleased with Nying’s behavior. Fortunately for Nying, Fiver conveyed the wizard’s ignorance of nature’s balance and Nying begged for forgiveness. The three protectors took pity on the wizard and merely turned him into a rat…a rather tasty morsel for a hawk I might say. We did eventually return Lilbit to his/her remaining clan members. Also, of equal importance, my patron Tyr and I gained a new level of association. With that closer connection, I was granted more tools and resources with which to go forth and ensure that the lives of all “good” (whatever that means) creatures have meaning in the grand scope of fate.