|25th of Autumn, 217|
Unbelievable. The ruse is still working. It has been a few days since the revelation, and Varo still thinks I have joined him in his cause. How arrogant his evil mind must be.
We have been travelling north with a small army of goblins. Varo says that we travel to the fortress of Maldis, in the belly of which can be found the Well of Shadows.
Unfortunately I'm still not sure how I can stop them. It was going to be difficult enough out-numbered three to one with his cohorts. With the goblin entourage, I really don't know what kind of chance I'll get. Must be patient.
|22nd of Autumn, 217|
I am a fool. How could I have been so easily duped?
Where to begin. My pen is shaking almost uncontrollably, but I can't let them see it.
Well, my hunch was right, Varo DOES know more about the north than he suggested, and it doesn't bode well. This morning when we woke Varo asked if I would stay and accompany him further north while Etrin led the hunters back to Three Firs. Intrigued to learn more about what Varo knew of the historical mysteries we stumbled across (the paved road and the quarry), I agreed.
While Etris led the men back to "safety" from the goblins, Varo showed to me a tome that he carried with him. These pages described an ancient kingdom of goblins ruled by a necromancer named Maldis. The book also included the source of much of Maldis' power, a source of magical death energy called "the Well of Shadows." He continued to explain that Maldis fashioned an item that attuned him to the power of the Well, a charm called "the Wheel of Bone", the very same that Varo recovered from the goblin shaman last night.
This is why the goblins feared us when Varo spoke the name Maldis, for Maldis was their former master! Suddenly I realized the nature of Varo and his companions. They weren't here to help us with the kobolds or the goblins. They were here to investigate this dark power, and to claim it as their own!
So Varo has offered me to join him on this quest. I think he even hinted at an apprenticeship should I prove myself worthy. My stomache was sinking to the pits of my gut as he spoke, as I realized Gilas and the woodsmen ... they probably never made it back to Three Firs. So help me, if Etris killed Gilas and the others, Hell will have something to learn from my vengeance.
Now I am torn. Had I left with the others, or should I try to leave now, surely they would just have me killed. No, I must stay with them. Perhaps there is no better way to stop them than to keep their trust, and wait for a moment that I might be able to stop Varo's schemes, and flee back home and warn everyone.
Curse my foolishness. Curse my trust. Varo, Etrin and Gunthac have all earned an enemy this day.
|21st of Autumn, 217|
Well, we've done it. The goblin shaman fell tonight, but stranger things are afoot.
After trekking through the mountains for several days, we came across a quarry - which is another mystery: what is a quarry doing so far north? It was clearly not being worked by the goblins. The quarry held an army, their numbers were countless. thankfully we were able to sneak into the cavern where the shaman could be found. My incantation of spider climbing proved most useful. Everyone else used ropes to descend to the cave entrance, however, after a brief incantation I was able to climb down the surface of the rock itself. I think it was the first time I'd used the rune in months.
What we found in the cave was shocking. The goblin shaman had a few goblin attendants, but the guards were like nothing I'd ever seen. They were large creatures, and completely skeletal. I can only imagine that it was some power of the shaman that cause them to stand and fight us. After using my sleep runes on the attendants (the shaman and the skeletal creatures seemed unaffected) I mostly stayed on the ceiling out of harm's way, trying to distract the skeletal warriors while the rest of our group dispatched them.
Even once the shaman fell, alarms were being sounded outside, and we now had an entire army of goblins to contend with. Then the most curious thing occurred. Varo walked over to the goblin shaman, and scooped up a small bone amulet from his neck. He then marched outside the cavern to the great quarry and shouted "I AM MALDIS!"
All the goblins reacted with immediate fear and genuflection. Confused as I was, his actions clearly saved all our lives, as I doubt we could have outrun the entire goblin army, mounted on their wolves.
Varo later explained that it was a name he knew the goblins feared, and he began pouring over a tome that seemed to have illustrations of the amulet he recovered from the goblin shaman's corpse. Clearly Varo has had another agenda this entire time, which conveniently included helping Three Firs dispatch the kobold and goblin threats. As much as my suspicions rise, I find it hard to find fault in his secrecy when he's helped us all so much. We might already have fallen to kobold raids were it not for their aid. With winter fast approaching, the Mark's soldiers might not have been able to reach us in time before the snows set in. Still, I'm incredibly curious what Varo's ambitions are. They seem fascinatingly more interesting than farm work, perhaps he'll tell me in time.
For now, while we are all protected under the false identity Varo has established with the goblins, we will sleep in the goblin caves and decide what to do next in the morning.
|19th of Autumn, 217|
|Today held a very strange discovery. While walking through the northern wilds, where no human has tread, we found a PAVED ROAD. And not something recent, that the goblins could have produced (assuming they're even capable of such a feat) ... something old and nearly swallowed by the earth. Extremely strange, especially that Varo didn't seem that surprised. I wonder if he doesn't know more about the north than we've given him credit for?|
|18th of Autumn, 217|
|Travel in the deep wilds of the north is hazardous, to say the least. Gilas and the other hunters have been able to help us dodge bands of goblin patrols so far, but we're not even halfway to their mountain camp yet. Everyone's nerves are on edge, but we're safe for now.|
|16th of Autumn, 217|
What an exciting, and grueling day. I would have given up dinner for sleep, if I weren't just as starved as I am exhausted. I am even too weary to rinse all this sweat and kobold blood off my clothes.
We were stirred before dawn to gather in the town square. Etrin, Varo and Gunthac were waiting there, with some of the hunters and farmers. Etrin announced that the kobolds finally revealed the location of their lair, north toward the mountains, in the foothills. We would march through the day to reach it before nightfall, when the kobolds would be at their most alert and active.
The determination could be felt in everyone, through the sheer anger over the lives that these creatures had taken or ruined. The people of Three Firs were ready to purge them from the land forever. So determination of our group, some two dozen strong, kept us going the entire day, marching toward the foothills, following a local stream.
Along the way we encountered a kobold sentry. They attacked us from higher ground with javelins, but thankfully the indirection of the lesser rune of sleep let me hurl my enchantment in their midst easily, and sending several suddenly slumbering kobolds right off the ledge they were attacking us from. Arrows and thrown axes dispatched the rest, before they ran. Gilas and I stood together for the trip, and kept watch over each others' backs. He is a terror with his bow. We were all joyed at the losses they suffered while our war party remained relatively unscathed.
Finally, toward dusk, we reached the cave entrances, at the source of the stream. We entered the network of caves and dispatched guard after guard of the creatures. I was able to confirm that Varo was in fact a right-handed arcanist, like myself, and clearly a competent one. The battle in the central cavern of the kobold leader was the setting of a grueling battle. Etrin dodged javelins and hurled daggers with deadly precision. Gunthac was truly terrifying. He pushed through the kobolds like a giant boulder through grass, and much like the boulder would be, he was covered in the green remnants of his fallen foes. The laughter as he went was very unsettling. Clearly he enjoyed this sort of work. Gilas was as brave as the rest of us from Three Firs, and thankfully he stayed safe. My sleep enchantments remained my best ally, as it put many of the creatures out of our way before the battle had even begun.
When all the creatures were fell, the three ushered us out, to make a campsite nearby, while they questioned the kobold leader. It seemed strange at first, but we left them to work that they were clearly more experienced with. Setting up camp was a laborious process for all of us, being so weary from the travel and battle and grief from those that had fallen. After a brief dinner of pheasant, I am ready to sleep. Ah, but I can hear already that Varo and company have returned to camp, the news is more important than rest.
-- -- --
Fascinating. It seems our battles are not yet over. Varo's interrogation of the kobold leader has discovered that the reason for their migration south is due to the presence of a large clan of goblins that moved into their territories further north. Apparently the goblins are being led by a shaman of some power and presence, making the goblins more aggressive in their expansion. Varo consulted me (apparently he's quite impressed to have a wizard present in Three Firs - for the first time I actually FEEL like the town wizard), and we discussed our options.
It seems safest to strike at the goblins now, while they are still far away from Three Firs. If their expansion brought them this far south, then surely they might not stop when they learn of the fertile lands that our families work. Varo suspects that if we could lead a small group of capable people (for which he included me, much to my pleasant surprise) into the goblin camp, find and kill their leader before stirring the goblins, that their ambition would diminish, and we could break the goblin tide before it reached Three Firs.
I thought it was a fabulous idea, and he chose me to help select those that would travel on this group. We will leave in the morning, since we are already almost halfway to the mountains where the kobolds say the goblins can be found. The wounded and the craftsmen will return home in the morning. The five most capable hunters, including Gilas, will help lead us through the wilderness toward the goblin camp. Add to those five Varo, Etrin, Gunthac and myself, and that is the war party that will endeavor to kill the goblin shaman.
I have several more long, exciting days ahead, so I better get to sleep now.
|15th of Autumn, 217|
Thanks be to the gods that I chose to travel with Moren and Gilas today, as it was an extremely dangerous endeavor.
After some travelling into the deeper woods of the north, Gilas showed us how to take hiding within some quickly assembled wooden forts. There we waited for some painful hours before we finally took notice of a rather large band of at least half a dozen kobolds. I quietly incanted the rune of protection, covering my skin with its cascading blue shield of force. Gilas and Moren seemed rather impressed.
At what we thought would be the most advantageous moment, we sprang upon them. It was a pitched battle, and though Moren was a mighty woodcutter, he was felled by the spears of the vicious kobolds. Thankfully throwing sleep runes and rays of frost, Gilas and I were able to avoid poor Moren's fate. At a great cost, we tied up a pair of the tiny killers to bring back.
Before we could get back to the village however, night had fallen, and we heard a commotion ahead. We arrived just in time to see Lirn and his hunters being ambushed by a great number of the kobolds. They set fires to block escape routes, and advanced from the cover of darkness. I suspect had we not arrived, the hunters might not have survived. As it was, the losses were minimal, but still too great. The kobolds are far more dangerous than we first assumed.
Thankfully we received good news when we arrived back at the village. After Etrin rewarded us, and consoled us our losses, he said that with so many surviving kobolds captured, Varo would surely be able to question them and learn the location of their lair. With that revealed, we could attack their leaders and hopefully put an end to the kobold threat once and for all.
I guess we'll hear news early in the morning. Mom and dad seem to have rediscovered their affections for me, and were over-joyed to see me come back in one piece, after news of the many fallen reached home. I was equally glad to see my brothers in one piece. After hearing about the attack on the Hilldale farm, they decided to stay at home and protect our farm.
For the first time in several days, I will have no trouble going to sleep. I am exhausted from today's toils. Sleep well too, Moren, your endeavor was gallant.
|14th of Autumn, 217|
Oh, if only I could carry more kobolds!
The day was definitely a success. As much of the village did, I set out at dawn to scour the woods for kobold. I noticed the villagers seemed to split off into groups and head near each other for safety. Perhaps feeling bold, or perhaps feeling greedy, I decided to venture in my own direction, north and west of the outlying farms.
This choice put me all alone in the woods, which must have seemed too tempting a target for the predatory kobolds. Three of them ambushed me from a hiding place, and attacked. They were far tinier than I expected, barely coming up to my waist, but they were vicious, and clearly out for blood.
I quickly threw my lesser rune of sleep at them, and that was the end of two of the creatures. One seemed to shrug off the enchantment long enough to take a swipe at me with his small wooden javelin. Thankfully he missed, perhaps still a little groggy from the sleep spell he resisted, and that gave me a chance to trace the rune of frost in the air, hand pointed right at his chest. The icy ray made contact, and the creature fell to the earth, a nice frozen wound on his chest. It was just as exciting as I'd hoped it would be!
Then came the more complicated matter of trying to get the two living (and unconscious) kobold back to town. I had walked for some time, so I had to bind and gag one of them, with some rope they thoughtfully had with them. Realizing that even one of the creatures was almost too much weight for me to carry, I decided to half my spoils for the day and drag the body back to town.
Etrin was thoroughly impressed, and paid me the promised gold sovereign. I think several of the other hunters out that day were a little surprised as well, to see the only lone venture, a mere boy, come back with a living captive. I still feel the rush of pride at their expressions, and especially those of my parents when I handed the gold piece over to them.
Tomorrow I suspect the kobolds will be a little more prepared, so I spoke to two other kobold hunters at the town hall where my reward was gained. Gilas, the trapper, and Moren, the woodcutter. Upon seeing my loan conquest, they were more than agreeable to team up for the next day's hunt.
So now I have to try again to get some sleep while my heart is still racing from the excitement of the day. Hopefully more success will be met tomorrow!
|13th of Autumn, 217|
Just when the kobold attacks seemed to jeopardize the safety of the outlying villagers (Umel the shepherd was found murdered by the kobolds), three strangers arrived in town. I followed the commotion to the meeting hall, and half the town must have been there! At the hall I met a most impressive contingent of explorers! Lord Varo is their leader, an older, competent-looking man, with very intelligent eyes. He has two servants with him. Etrin is clearly the diplomat of the group, as he is a very smooth talker. Gunthac, I am guessing, is their warrior and guard. He is a massive man, with a constantly silent, grim expression.
The only thing more exciting than their arrival was their purpose! Lord Varo says he is here to help Three Firs purge the country-side of the kobold plague. To that end he offered any villager the a gold sovereign for every kobold captured alive! How exciting!
Not only can I finally get out of my never-ending, back-breaking chores, but to do something so thrilling! And a gold sovereign for each kobold! That's the a greater sum of money than I've ever seen! My parents would certainly be proud if I could return to them with that kind of reward.
Mother of course doesn't want me to go, but Headman Dougal himself has insisted that every able and willing villager assist Lord Varo and his men! And I can't wait to see one of these creatures. I think my sleep charm should be very useful in capturing them alive. If things get too dangerous, I can always hope that my ray of frost will not miss its mark. I can't wait to get started. I must try to get some rest and get up early in the morning to prepare my incantations.
|2nd of Autumn, 217|
Interesting news, I hear reports of kobolds molesting the farms on the northern stretch of Three Firs. I've never seen a kobold, and while my family assures me that I never want to, I must say I am curious. Pogrem says they are nasty, vicious little creatures. They have the shape of a person, arms and legs, but much shorter, and a taste for human flesh. So far their appetites have just for animals stolen from our traps and chickens stolen from some of the more remote farms.
No one has ever heard of such attacks. Headman Dougal says that help may not arrive for some time, because the Mark of Greenfell is off playing politics in the southern kingdom of Llyrlein proper. I'm curious, if no help arrives, where this will lead.
No doubt Pogrem will shine in the defense of the town, with his training in the militia of Greenfell. Meanwhile, i will be painfully dragging in the fall harvest.
|51st of Summer, 217|
If the heat doesn't kill me, all this manual labor will. It has been over a month since returning from Greymere, and the only spell I use is mage hand to help me with the countless chores I've been given. This is ridiculous, and infuriating.
My brothers are simultaneously laughing at my failure, and equally annoyed by it. All the land that was sold to send me to Greymere is that much less land they'll be working when they are older. Pogrem is even talking about joining the March's militia, just to get out of here. I can hardly blame him. Too bad I've never even touched a sword, much less mastered how to use one.
And I love my parents, but I can't take much of their passive aggression much longer. I know they feel I've failed them, but we have to get past this. They barely speak to me except to remind me of how much I owe them, and give me some huge list of tasks to do. And I'm simply not built for this work! I can barely lift the damn shovel, much less clean out the goat stalls with it.
Is this going to be the rest of my life? By the gods I hope not. Something needs to change. Soon.
|17th of Summer, 217|
Well that went horribly. I feel like a complete heel. What a waste of time my training has been!
Headman Dougal called me into the meeting hall just after sunrise. I walked in, and it was far less empty than usual. There were only a few other town elders there. My parents took a seat by the door. Everyone seemed pretty excited to see what I was capable of, or so I thought.
I had practiced my tricks all night, until I was exhausted. I began with my sleep enchantment. I think my choice of subjects might have been poorly chosen, for when elders Poldrin and Baskel began snoring, it was not entirely obvious that it was due to my incantation.
Next came the light, which I cast on a pebble, to brighten the interior of the hall. A few nods and mutters from that one at least let me know I still had their attention. I then cast prestidigitation, and proceeded to clean, warm and comfort the elders. This was a bad choice. As useful as the spell is, I think I came off more as a servant than a town wizard.
Slightly disheartened I moved toward my last spell, which I used to freeze a mouse scurrying across the Hall. This one I was the most nervous for, as my aim with the ray of frost has never been great. And yeah, I missed.
They waited expectantly, and I awkwardly informed them that was the end of the demonstration. A couple elders actually chuckled. Headman Dougal I could tell simply felt badly and embarrassed for me. He showed us out, and my family wouldn't even say a word on the long walk home, they were so ashamed.
So yeah ... no word from anyone today, except mom has asked me to clean out the goat stalls. I guess I probably won't have much use for this book anymore. Thanks for selling half the farm land dad! After all that you get a feeble, unskilled farm-hand. Let me know if you want me to knock out the chickens.
|16th of Summer, 217|
I had forgotten just how long a journey it is between Greymere and Three Firs. It was a pleasant morning carraige ride to Gaelin's Cross, which I keep thinking is halfway home for some reason. Walking through the town, a warm sun and cool breeze definitely improved my mood. Then it was onto horses for the rest of the trip, all FIVE DAYS of it. Resting in Kestral's Point was hardly pleasant, even though it was amusing to watch my hostess, old maid Maurgram, wrestle her pigs all afternoon. Rest was hard to come by though, as the town was beset with drunken merchants enjoying the warm nights. It was good to finally arrive home today.
Earlier tonight we had a small "feast" with mom, dad, Kanden and Pogrem. The Hilldale's from the next farm even came to offer congratulations and gifts of wine. The dinner was smaller than the feast we had for Kanden's wedding, but that makes sense. Mom and dad sold half their land to pay for the tuition at Greymere, which they've been kind enough to only mention half a dozen times since getting back.
Tomorrow will be good though. Tomorrow we will meet with headman Dougal, and find out what kind of services this newly graduated wizard of Greenfell shall be performing for our town! I'm very excited.
|10th of Summer, 217|
Well, tomorrow is the day. I return home to Three Firs after three years here at Greymere. It hasn't really sunken in yet. Master Alten gave me this spell journal as a matriculation gift at dining hour tonight. Wasn't very moving or ceremonious, in fact he seemed as annoyed as he usually does.
Linwell is the only person that seemed remotely sad to see me go at dining hour. That's probably just because he won't have anyone to copy notes from before alchemy lab anymore. I should feel proud that I'm leaving so early, Linwell will be here for another few years at least, and we arrived together.
But it isn't pride I'm feeling. If anything it is kind of strange. I leave with a few runic tricks and this book. Is this how I'll serve Three Firs? Helping people fall asleep and throwing some tiny lights from my hand? I know there's more to it, but this seems as much as Greymere has to offer. Oh well, It will be good to see everyone again. I'm sure it will all make sense once I get settled back in at home.