This is the first time I have commited thought to parchment and ink in what feels like years… My mind is too full of thoughts, unable to escape, it feels like my skull is filled with a thousand bees, all aching to burst out of my beak, but this damned curse holds them back, hazing my thoughts with the incessant buzzing of their unanswered questions…
Since arriving on the island, I have met many people I would happily call my friends, and been lucky enough to undertake a few adventures with them. The reason I am breaking my long-held written silence is due to the recent most adventure I found myself swept up in.
I signed up to investigate a ruin another group came across a few weeks ago, along with several other newcomers to the island.
By name they go as Khora, a bright young merfolk, with a keen mind and incredible ability to lead. Zandaris, a mysterious one for sure, choosing to hide his face most of the time by a black mask, but certainly a formidable ally. Leolumin, a young man, one of the most recent arrivals, despite his evident interest in self-preservation, there was a certain charm about this one… The final pair I had not had the pleasure of meeting before we set off on the adventure, but go by Sigvor and Dimble, a stout Hilldwarf cleric and a somewhat quiet gnome sorcerer.
Khora had scouted the ruin twice before, and as such was the leading authority on information in its regards. We spent the afternoon before hand briefing Leolumin on the previous excursions, what the ruin held within and what the plan of action would be. We had decided to take advantage of a strange magical fruit that grew in abundance from an enormous gilded tree within the ruin walls. Small blue leathery fruit, that granted the ability to breathe water as if it was air, and vice versa, once a second was consumed. With the aid of the fruit we intended to venture into an underground tunnel, submerged entirely by water, and see if there was a source to the strange fish-like creatures we had dispatched beforehand. Once we had finished our discussion, we all rested up and met the following morning, ready to take on whatever we may find.
The ruin is roughly a day and a half travel away from White Moon Cove, with that in mind we set off with a campsite used by adventurers as our destination, with the intention of spending the night there and arriving at the ruin early the following day. The first day of travel was pleasant enough. There was a certain warmth in the air carried by a strong wind from the coast, making traveling fairly easy going as we exchanged some small talk. Once we had arrived at the campsite, nestled on the beach of a small cove, Zandaris and myself went hunting to see if we could find any small game for the party to eat for the night. To our surprise we stumbled across a lone doe, not far from the camp. I was able to bring it down by invoking a blast of that strange energy that I wrote about in my last journal… and with Zandaris’s assistance, we butchered the doe fairly effectively, managing to yield a few days worth of rations. We returned to camp, which by this point had been secured by Khora, and proceeded to cook and eat.
After deciding on watch shifts, myself and Leolumin took second watch. The night took something of a dramatic turn as I briefly became dinner for a large fish that took me by surprise as I walked along the shore. It caught me off guard and used some kind of electrical discharge to render me helpless as it swallowed my whole. After several excruciating moments of being singed by whatever disgusting biology was inside the fish, it seemed to weaken its grip on me, allowing me to squeeze myself back out of its slack maw. I was met by a wall of salt-water and was underwater for the briefest second before Khora pulled me to the surface and carried me back to shore. She administered some healing to me, treating the wounds with what felt like expert handling. After taking a few minutes for my nerves to relax, I took a moment to thank everyone in the camp for saving my life and ended my watch by falling asleep pretty much where I stood.
The following morning, we packed up camp and left the cove in something of a rush with a certain amount of excitement, from the night before and from being close to our destination getting the better of us. We struck out along the road, traveling for an hour or so, deep in conversation.
This is where one of the two reasons I am writing comes…
Without a moment’s notice Sigvor was gone. He had been snapped up by some monstrous bird like creature. So wrapped up in my own thoughts and listening to the conversation unfolding between the party, I hadn’t noticed the flock of giant birds approach the group. And as such, he was gone, as the first of the flock plunged from high above and seemingly swallowed him whole. A crimson smear, mixed with freshly turned dirt left in his place. I fell backwards and froze in shock, trying to process what I had just witnessed. Zandaris sprung to action, tipping his pack upright, letting his rations spill out, and Dimble conjured an image of a large, heavily toothed beast, Leolumin drawing a few arcane gestures with his hands in the air, assisted the illusion, causing a roar to emanate from the beast, I think scaring one of the winged terrors away from the party. Following suite, I emptied what veal was left from the doe we had butchered the night before. The two remaining giant birds, snatched up the rations and meat, before turning and flying away. Leaving us to deal with the sudden shock of loss, and its ramifications on the coming tasks.I searched for remains of Sigvor, but there was nothing, all I could find was a piece of loose parchment, presumably from his pack. Now lightly spattered with crimson dots. With our mood brought to a sudden sober tone, we pressed on to the ruin.
With the ruin in sight, Zandaris moved on ahead of the group to scout the interior. After confirming no threat lurking inside, the rest of the party entered and went about conducting a few experiments. Khora, Zandaris and myself removed the lid to the large stone coffin, that topped the water tunnel. We all collected several of the fruit from the gilded tree in the ruin’s courtyard as Khora explained the effects to the rest of the party. Zandaris took charge, and hopped into the water, taking a bite of the fruit, he submerged himself beneath the water completely, and seemed to be able to draw breath as if the water was air. After taking another bite, he surfaced and was able to breath normally once again. Happy with the evident results, the party all prepared to enter the tunnel by stowing valuables in Khora’s magical bag to avoid them being damaged by the water. And with that we all bit the bolt and hopped into the water, taking bites of our fruit as we did so.
As we all swam down the fairly narrow tunnel, seemingly carved by water through the natural rock, we entered a chamber of some sort, it was obviously not a natural cavern, the walls were smooth, and inlaid with strange blue lights, casting an eerie twilight into the room.
As a side note here, since last week, the strange irritation in my eyes has faded, but they seem to have been altered by it. My dark pupils are now lined with a faint golden ring, and flicks of red and orange fill my irises… And I can see things better now.. Darkness seems as bright as day to me, perhaps another ‘gift’ from the court of my dreams, but I will have to wait before I come to a conclusion…
With my newfound vision, I could see fairly clearly in the room before me. Several bodies of the strange fish creatures we fought days ago on the surface were littering the floor. Each of them seem to have been killed by some form of fatal wound dealt by an unknown opponent. Whilst Khora looted the fish creatures’ bodies, I carefully peared down a corridor, I could make out a set of stairs, blocked by large boulders, there was a faint glow from beneath the boulders, I am interested in what the source of this was, and think I’ll talk to Khora about returning another time. Amongst the creatures bodies, several metal spheres with what appeared to be arms and legs, laid motionless. Khora deducted they were likely automatons and investigated them further for some source of magical energy.
This is where the second of the reasons I am writing comes…
In an attempt to help the members of our party that could not see as well as myself, I illuminated a small button from my pouch, using the light spell, and then summoned a spectral hand to carry the light source down another corridor. Before I could realise my mistake, it was too late. I was able to make out three of the fish creatures, strapped to the back of large sharp toothed fish, all alerted by the sudden light in their vicinity. I tried to warn the party of what I had seen, but my damned inability to talk made the warning too slow. The three creatures and their large fish mounts quickly swam down the corridor towards us, and a battle ensued. Zandaris leapt forward, holding two of them at the entryway to the chamber, but one managed to slip past and engage with Leolumin. I positioned myself in the center of the chamber remaining close to Khora, as I forced several blast of energy toward the two that were assaulting Zandaris. Leolumin managed to keep the attention of the creature and its fish firmly locked on himself, allowing the party to try and focus our attention on the two Zandaris was fighting. After several blows were exchanged, Zandaris took a hefty, blow, one of the creatures managing to knock him unconscious. I cast some healing magic, and managed to bring him back, as dimble cast an incantation, making one of the creatures fall under some sort of magically induced sleep. Unfortunately this got the attention of the rider that Leolumin had been able to keep distracted, and Dimble took a series of crushing blows, that rendered him unconscious. Khora was able to get between Zandaris and Dimble, administering healing to them, and keeping them in the fight, whilst I tried to support them from afar. I don’t think my weak frame could handle a one-on-one… I feel an amount of shame that I was not able to do more..
After Zandaris managed to dispatch the two he so heroically held in the entryway, Khora indicated it was time to make a hasty escape. We all began making our way back toward the tunnel entrance in the ceiling of the chamber, but the remaining rider rushed Leolumin, it’s fish managing to get a hold of him. The creature riding managed to unleash a devastating series of strikes on the young man… I could see the life leaving his eyes.. Something I don’t think I will ever forget. A sense of dread overcame me. Knowing I would never know his motivations… we would never exchange stories.. Knowing he trusted me to protect him, and still, he died, a few feat away from me..
All these thoughts were cut short as the rider who had so cruelly struck Leolumin turned his attention to me, racking me with its claws, causing the salty sea water to start tasting like metal as red mist bled into the water. I don’t know if it was my own blood, or Leolumins I tasted… it’s not an idea I care to give much thought..
Zandaris, Khora and Dimble were able to slay the final rider, leaving the chamber filled with 3 more.. No 4 more corpses. Deciding to make good on our plan to retreat, I managed to hoist Leolumin’s body to the surface. I laid it as respectfully as I could to rest by the alter in the ruin. I searched his pockets for some kind of personal effects, but all that he seemed to carry was a bundle of bolts. I placed them into my pack and said my goodbyes to the young man as the party made their way back to White Moon Cove, our heads held low, and our losses high…
With those events committed to parchment, I hope my thoughts will clear.. I took a few hours this morning to properly respect the loss of Sigvor and Leolumin. Their names had been added to the wall of lost adventurers in the Axe and Thistle, I left the parchment and bundle of bolts, with a few feathers and flowers, just like Master taught me to do… Seems funny to talk about loss and Master in the same sentence without…. My candle burns low, I think it best to end this journal now here.
I will make a copy of this entry and leave it by the Map, with the other logs. It could help someone… I just want to help..