These past few days have been eventful. Although I am late to fill these pages, the drama is still fresh in my memory. I will commit it to the written word as quickly as possible.
We awoke after our drinking contest to a grisly sight. Balthazar, our half-elf friend, had been murdered in the street. I am not sure if his murder was motivated by wanton cruelty or prejudice against his race. Balthazar had been nailed to a wall and appeared to have been struck repeatedly in the face, showing many fractures and contusions along his skull. He had been disemboweled, and his intestines were nailed to the wall in a halo above his head. These events are made even more distressing by the fact that Balthazar had not fully competed in our drinking game. He must have been sober for the entire ordeal. And we slept just inside, our minds too numbed by mammoth’s milk to hear his pain.
While collecting ourselves after the death of Balthazar, we made acquaintance with a new fellow: One Jack T. Buck. This man strolled into our shanty unannounced, clad entirely in leather. His large-brimmed hat hid his eyes, and his hair had been wrestled into a tail behind his head. He carried with him a large weapon and a bindle that appeared to be full of raw meat.
This Jack T. Buck appeared to be drunk, although I did not see his liquor (note: Perhaps his bindle-meat has been soaked in an alcoholic marinade of some sort). While none of us had invited Buck into our shanty, he stayed with us, and remains a member of our clan today.
After the arrival of Buck, I unscrewed the ceramic capsule we had won from Burndugle the night prior. In it was a map written in mysterious script. Using my inspirational powers of deduction, as well as my astute intellect, I was able to decipher and deduce some of the map’s portents.
First, I noticed the Great Falls, located far to the east. Through the fugue of my hangover, I remembered being told by a stranger the previous night about a man named Harford Jones (Woodsman, explorer, archaeologist, etc). Jones had spent much time exploring the area around the falls, and had last been seen in the “Thousand Needles” which I take to mean a large, coniferous forest. The truth of this story cannot be proven, however – how would this story work its way back from The Great Falls to Breach?
Regardless, the map indicated the Great Falls and The Thousand Needles as destinations. They were circled, and the map was marked with unknown symbols (perhaps I can learn more of this language as I spend more time in Grex).
I still have my doubts about this map. It is too convenient, too neat, too straightforward.
While I was reading the map, my companions huddled around me. I am the only one who can decipher this map. As such, I hold a surprising amount of power very early into our pilgrimage. I can tell them anything I like – perhaps this map will be useful, regardless of its veracity.
Upon decoding the map, we were intruded upon by Kolonian soldiers. Captain Ephraim, the man who greeted us in breach, begged our assistance. Truly, he did beg, as this sad, well-meaning man very nearly prostrated himself before us.
It appears that the captain has lost all contact with the Gnomish settlement to the north. (Note: He used the phrase “Tinker Town.” However, I refuse to use such a vile slur. Gnomish technology is responsible for the evolution of our societies. We are inventors, not “tinkerers.” Truly, human arrogance knows no bounds. But I digress.)
((This Gnomish settlement could have ties to Master Durgle, or be of value to him in the future. Will update soon.))
The captain did not have the men to spare for a scouting mission North, and offered to pay us the wages of a soldier to do so. We refused, as we were curious about the Falls. However, the captain offered the deed to a lodge along the north road. This lodge is apparently located at the meeting of two large rivers, and will be quite valuable in the future. Sensing the man’s desperation, we held out for more. By the time we were finished with the poor man, he had offered us each 8 days of wages as well as the lodge. That is 80 gold pieces each. Truly an exorbitant sum of money. Less than one full day in Grex, and I have already netted more gold than most farmers make in a year.
We set off north. After the prefabricated buildings and muddy thoroughfares of Breach, the untouched woodlands were a welcome change. The travel was uneventful. My companions stumbled along beside me in varying states of inebriation. Jack T. Buck chewed on his bindle meat. Eventually we reached a river. While fording the river would have been simple with mounts, it was difficult considering the strength of the river and the intoxication of my allies.
While Dougal and Tig crossed, Mr. Buck was overcome by the current, being pulled downstream. The oaf gashed his leg, and was all but useless while the rest of us attempted to pull him out. Due to either his drunken state or a simple lack of awareness, he dragged me into the river while he was hoisted out. Luckily, I managed to swim out, and did not lose my belongings. And, praise the gods, Buck managed to save his bindle of meat.
We set up camp soon after, with Buck redeeming himself by creating a fire and finding food in the wilderness. I spent the night documenting the various sights and sounds of this new land. (Of note: There appear to be giant, nocturnal Hill Toads in this area. Interesting, however their songs and croaks are quite irritating in the evening.)
As the next day began, we continued to the village. Along the way, I spotted a peculiar sight just off the road. A half-elf woman had been nailed to a tree and beaten repeatedly, seemingly to death. Her wounds were consistent with those of the late Balthazar. Additionally, her breasts had been carved out of her chest and nailed into her eye sockets. (I am uncertain about these killings – are they the work of an organized hate group, or a deranged individual? Are these mutilations exclusive to half-elves?)
As we wound up the mountain path to the Gnomish village, we encountered an overturned wagon along the road. This seemed to be an obvious trap, but Dougal and Buck continued forward – I admire their bravado. Men appeared on the ridge above us and behind us and shouted at us. Before they could react, Tig turned and punched the man behind us in the face, The man’s jaw shattered and teeth fell from his slack mouth. In an instant, the skirmish began. I did not see much of what happened, but I managed to get off several shots with my crossbow. After the battle, we recovered a great deal of loot from the bodies and the wagon. As we recover from our wounds, I shall list the loot below:
Flask of Potion (Alchemist’s Fire)
Small vial with the symbol of Omnor
Flask of Holy Water
2 Vials of lantern oil
Heavy Wooden shield
Dull Iron Dagger, cold to the touch (Magic?)
Wooden holy symbol of the Eight
28 Gold Pieces
Flask of Heal Light Wounds
2 flasks of green acid
Masterworked studded leather armour
Leather bag of thieves’ tools
Flask of cure light wounds
Flask of alchemist’s fire
Finely crafted Longbow
2 bottles of Elvish Morning Dew
2 bottles of Kolonian Wine
2 mini-kegs of Dwarven stout
2 casks of Yondic mead
2 glass jugs of Rover Moonshine
2 large bladders of fermented Mammoth’s Milk