Party Members: Zoren, Fiver, Abal, Emerion, Barendd, and Mizzi.
Journal of Barendd Torunn (Excerpt 1):
Twas my first foray from the safety of White Moon Cove into the wilds of my new home, Sleeper Island. We were tasked with investigating recent reports of pirates/bandits reported to be active along the East coast. Led by a pleasantly effective, yet somewhat delusional Kobold, we left the protective walls of White Moon Cove and set out along the Northern road through empty plains; three clerics, a rogue, a paladin, and a warlock. An odd group, yet, as it turned out, quite effective in surviving what fate had in store for us. I will start by saying I am not fond of the plains; too open for me, and I vowed to stay close to the sparse patches of trees and scrub.
At about midday we witnessed a herd of goats stampeding across the open fields. Upon closer inspection, we saw they were being chased by a pair of lizard-like flying beasts. Dragons? So soon and so close to a large town? Sleeper Island must be much more perilous than I anticipated. But alas, they were merely wyrmlings chasing an easy meal of goat. We attempted to stay out of sight so they would pursue their quarry without giving notice to our presence. Whilst scrambling into the cover of some nearby brush, the sound of metal armor must have carried to the wyrmlings, and they veered away from their easy prey to investigate. We must have stood out like ripe fruit in a tree, and they decided to forgo a goat meal in favor of humanoid flesh. Their initial strafe of fiery breath reminded me to stay behind or out of range of this deadly ordnance. Slow-cooked dwarf would not be on the menu today! Our leader showed great poise and courage in repelling the attack, yet screams of, “I am the true dragon, you are fake dragons”, left me wondering if their sanity matched their bravery…. After dispatching one of the beasts, and seeing the other was in critical condition, we made the mistake of grouping too close together. Unable to resist a deadly opportunity, the surviving wyrmling, in what turned out to be a suicidal act, chose to give us one last fiery bath. While I was only scorched, half of the party lay dying after the blast. I was ready to rob the reaper, but with two other clerics and a paladin…well, this dwarf isn’t always the quickest to respond. Surprisingly, I was able to harvest some useful bits of wyrmling from their corpses. My pappy’s hearth-side stories of dragons, and numerous “wasted” hours with my nose in a book must have subconsciously stuck something into my brain…. I wonder if the fiery glandular fluid would work in creating a new spicy, hot brew? Time for some experimentation!
After a brief rest, we set out across the dusty plains again. In the early evening we came across a naked man face down in the road. He was clearly battered, bruised, and in a bad way. A snickering of “look at the full moon” emanated from one of our party. I felt sorry for the old man; life isn’t always fair, and it is the purpose of Law to lend a hand in balancing the tides of fate. Our leader immediately became suspicious, suggesting that this may be a ruse or that the man was suffering from lycanthropy of some sort. As the moon had not yet risen, and the man was just regaining consciousness; wouldn’t he have regained consciousness in the morning after a night of tearing through the brush(?)… I had my doubts that he was infected with this form of madness. What would cause our leader to be so paranoid? While I trusted our leader’s experience, in my heart, I could not convict the man (Arin of Black Footpad Inn) without proof. Arin was given an empty backpack to wear as makeshift clothing, and we decided to camp for the night so we could be fully rested when we entered the last known area where pirates had been encountered. After letting Arin borrow some winter clothes, our leader insisted that Arin be placed into a 3 foot by 3 foot, 5 foot deep hole so that if he “transformed” during the night, he would not be able to ravage the party. I found this to be ludicrous and inhumane… I refused to take part in any aspect of this degradation. None of the party was willing to dig the hole, so Arin was forced to dig his own hole…. He performed the task without complaint; which further proved to me he was harmless. I will not judge our leader’s decisions, but I cannot help but wonder, what experiences would foster such behavior? I have never traveled in the company of a friendly Kobold so maybe this is a cultural thing?
During the first watch I was awoken to the sight of a large group of men fanning out around one side of our camp. They were armed, and claimed to be guards investigating recent local robbery’s, yet they carried no identifiable insignia. When they suggested we lay down our arms and give them our belongings, I knew they were truly insidious bandits doing a poor job of masquerading as guards.. I did my best to stay out of their torchlight while circling around behind them. By the time I got into the fray, most of the lessor guards had already succumbed to our leader’s dark magics or they were fleeing for their lives. Our “holey” warlock leader was a force to be reckoned with regardless of mental state. Two of the bogus guards were obviously stronger and more determined in their pursuits. Even though I brought the wrath of Tyr upon one of these bandit leaders, it was not fated for them to succumb on this night. They disengaged and ran into the darkness, bloodied and beaten. Were these the bandits we were sent to investigate?
During my watch I encountered a small heard of beasts. Sadly, I could not properly identify them nor infer their intentions, and I woke the next watchman early. They turned out to be grazing beasts with no interest in our party. They were, however, being stalked by a pack of wolves who entered our camp and attacked us on sight. These beasts bit off more than they could chew and were easily dispatched. I was rather disappointed to see one of our clerics ruthlessly kill a helpless, sleeping wolf even though the battle had clearly been won. The lives of all creatures have meaning in the grand scope of fate, don’t they?
We found an elegant backpack full of goods and coinage in the nearby bushes. Before its ownership could be entirely established (it could have belonged to Arin…), the other cleric made claim upon it because it was of better quality than his own. I guess I have come to expect a greater level of piety, restraint, and frugality from fellow clergy. On a brighter note, we did return to White Moon Cove with Arin in tow (it appeared he had little choice in the matter); he was checked for disease, and as I expected, he had nothing wrong with him. I hope he can safely return to his friends and family. I received a goodly sum of gold from our spoils; I will donate 10gp of it to Arin so as to see him home safely. Again, I wonder how the people of this island have been affected in the dogma of compassion and fairness. It seems that survival at any cost has slowly crept in upon any who have spent significant time here. I will endeavor to retain my sense of right and wrong….