Journal: Day 1
I was not sure how long the journey into Grex would take. Rumors in Korr varied wildly – some saying we would ride on Cave Goats through an underground chasm over the span of eight weeks, others saying we would be flung over the mountains by a giant Kolonian trebuchet.
The truth appears to be closer to the former, with the tunnel we traveled spanning multiple days. The engineering of the tunnel was formidable – the curves and steady gradients show admirable foresight. It must have taken almost as much time to plan as to excavate. Thankfully, the steam powered wagons ensured that the tunnel remained free of any horse or cattle manure.
Not much was learned about Grex yet – nothing that would interest Master Durgle, in any event. I spent most of the journey asleep under the glow of the phosphour lanterns. As we approached the exit, I was able to glean more about my companions.
Most stunningly, Turok Ironsong, the half-orc Skald, is among us. I had been a fan when he was toiling among the tavern circuit of Korr, and had even managed to hear him sing at a few festivals and holidays. My profession took me away from Korr for a time, and when I returned I did not see any more of him. There were rumors that he had left to join the Philharmonic and stories that he had thrown himself into the volcanic heart of Korr. I must admit I am surprised to see him here. Perhaps he seeks to write the music of the first settlers. Or perhaps he is now a common crook.
I am reasonably certain that there are at least two criminals among us, although only one appears to have the potential to cause any real harm. Tigen (note: refers to self as “Tig”) seems to be a pugilist, and a rambunctious one at that. His Rover accent is thick and he is covered with their marks and tattoos. He appears to have been thrown in this wagon due to public intoxication. His nose is broken and he claims to have great aptitude in combat. While I have only known him a short while, he seems an agreeable fellow, if a bit unaware of his own strength – much like a mastiff or a boarhound.
The other convict I am less sure about. He is a human and his name is Dougal, and he appears to be a disgraced Kolonian soldier of relatively high rank. The man smells of liquor and is quick to a temper. At times he appears to be disoriented, unsure of his surroundings. He carries with him a fearsome weapon, one that looks to be made of lead piping, rusted nails, and bolts. It is chained to his military belt, a clear symbol of how far he has fallen. (Note: Perhaps Dougal has stolen the uniform. It is certainly possible.)
I do not know much of the other two in our group. Balthazar, the half-elf from Arc, has been aloof from the rest of the party. I am not sure if that is by design, or just due to his disposition as a half-elf. Balthazar often speaks of his training, leading me to believe he is highly trained in either a martial or religious order. He carries with him an ancient sword that he claims will lead him to the magic of lost generations. His cause is clearly noble, and I am keen to see if he finds any magic. I am sure that Master Durgle will be as well.
Krawaal Rinderhack ranks among the most striking dwarves I have seen – he is bald, for one, without the prodigious beards found on so many dwarves in NewValGar and other areas. I was not able to learn much about his motive, and this will require additional digging. He seems to be kind enough, although his constitution makes me wary of crossing him. Rinderhack seemingly possesses immense strength and, as I learned, not much can take him down.
Our guide was one Phineas Phunkleworthy, an insipid gnome who was very much impressed once I strategically dropped the Durgle surname. My relationship with Master Durgle certainly has its perks.
Outside of the tunnel, we were greeted by a Kolonian soldier. He welcomed us to the town of Breach. There is something admirable in the sheer audacity of this small encampment. For here is a small bit of civilization spitting in the face of the unexplored wild.
As expected, this town holds all types. Many people seem friendly, although there were a few that appeared to be quite dangerous. Perhaps releasing hardened criminals into a lawless society was not such a good idea after all.I have not seen enough of Grex to form an opinion on it.
I remained with my odd companions as we left the wagon. They appear (at least for the moment) my best bet at success in this wild expanse. We were approached by a slovenly halfling, one Barnold Burndugle II. He claimed to have been a master thief and escape artist, although I do not believe him. I have never heard of him in all my years as an investigator, and he appeared to be too drunk and fat to be any good at escaping anything except for sobriety.
Burndugle claimed to have a treasure map of sorts – something that would be of great aid in my work for Master Durgle. I was tempted to take the map from the halfling, either by cunning or intimidation. I feared angering anyone so early in this year-long trip, however. The halfling challenged my companions and I to a drinking contest, wagering his supposed map against our collective gold and supplies. Thankfully, among both Tig and Krawaal, we were able to best him at his own game.
I am not certain of this, however, because I passed out midway through the challenge. The dice were not with me this afternoon, and I was forced to drink several glasses of fermented mammoth’s milk. I had never encountered such a vile drink, full of curds and hair (not sure if hair was pubic or mammarian in nature. Best not to think about it). I am told that Dougal, myself, and Turok succumbed to the alcohol, falling unconscious in the mud of the street. Balthazar ceded the challenge (apparently his order prohibits him from consuming alcohol? Perhaps he is an Arc Willonist? Must learn more). On the strength of Tig and Krawaal, we managed to procure the paper from the halfling. We were then apparently dragged into an inn or home of some sort, where we laid to sleep off our alcohol sickness. I am writing this now among the snoring and vomiting of my companions. Dougal may be dead.
I have many questions about my companions and their motives. I must not let them distract me from my true objective; however, they could serve as valuable allies as I pursue my ends. We are set to open the paper soon. I hope it was worth the hangover.