Kingmaker

Raining Journal 03/02/12

3nd of Calistril, 4712AR

Sleeping was difficult last night the wounds that the giant tick inflicted on me were healed by magic but they ached terribly through out the night. Today I was the last to get up. I and stumbled up to the mirror in the guest house. I was incredibly pale and the aching bruises around my waist were sore and warm with infection.

I staggered outside to Aramis helping Svetlana dole out scrambled eggs to Jhod and Chet. Mitchel was busy removing Geronimo II’s armor, petting the cat, and saying their goodbyes to each other. Mitchel paused briefly to say, “Wow. Rainfall, you look like shit. You should probably go see Jhod about that.” Geronimo, agreeing, let out a strange meowed or roar that almost sounded like, “Ya.” Mitchel and Geronimo shared one last beer together before Geronimo headed off into the wilderness.

At the other table sat Schmidtaki, Oleg, and Bokken. Schmidtaki had a ledger with our current supplies and he was quizzing the distraught Oleg and Bokken about there current stocks.

Schmidtaki, “So lets see what kind of armor do you have again.”
Oleg, “Leather, studded leather, a couple of chain. No I don’t have any Mithral in stock.”
Schmidtaki, “Hey hey. Rainfall, you look like shit. You should see Jhod when you get a chance. Hey Jhod, when your done eating can you take care of Rainfall? So Rainfall, you wanted something right?”
I coughed a couple of times, “Lamp oil.”
Schmidtaki, “Ya, that’s right. So how much lamp oil do you have on hand right now?”
Oleg, “I have a hand full of pints and a full barrel of it. How much do you need?”
Schmidtaki, “Wait how many pints are in a barrel?”
Oleg, “250 pints.”
Schmidtaki, “We’ll take it. Now do you have a cart we could buy?”
Oleg pointed to a pile of ashes next to the larger pile of ashes of the barn, “Used to.”
Mitchel, “I want a flute, emblazoned with carving of a lion on it. To commemorate Geronimo II.”
Oleg, “I told you last time that I don’t deal in instruments but I know a guy in Restov. I’ll put it on the order with the silver holy symbol. It should arrive on the 12th of Calistril.”
Schmidtaki, “So I am going to go on a limb here. Do you have a galley?”
Oleg, “What like a ship?”
Schmidtaki, “Yea.”
Oleg, “No.”
Schmidtaki, “Long boat?”
Oleg, “Nope.”
Schmidtaki, “Catamaran?”
Oleg, “Oh, let me check. No.”
Schmidtaki, “Wow, well I am sensing some hostility. Ok lets switch to potions. Feel free to pipe up Bokken.”
Bokken, “They burned everything.”
Schmidtaki, “Yes you’ve been saying that for a while now. Cure light wounds.”
Oleg, “I’ve got a couple.”
Bokken said with a glazed and distant look, “Me too……”
Schmidtaki, “We’ll take ’em. See now were getting somewhere.” They went on like this for quite some time.

After breakfast Jhod spent prayed for my and laid his hands upon me. As he spoke the holy words of Erastil I could feel my strength return to me. The rest of this day was spent patching up the trading post. The day was far from uneventful. Mitchel made sure of that.

He gathered up roots, twigs, berries from around the area surrounding the fort. Arranged them carefully in a circle and lighting a few of the twigs on fire. He then spent the next couple of hours sulking about the fort as the rest of it tried help with repairs. As we worked he would pick one us out and stalk us while meowing and purring. He then carefully and I thought comically, picked a moment to pounce on us or to paw at our legs as we passed by.

I can tell you this there are few things funnier in this world than a beardless dwarf trying to sneak up on you while acting like some sort of cat. After about an hour of this a snow leopard showed up at the front gates, pawing to be let in. Mitchel rushed to let the cat in. He then hugged the new cat, who was somewhat uncomfortable about the whole thing. “You will be Geronimo III. Good news a full 50% of my animal friends are still alive to date. Now lets get you into some armor and teach you to talk!” The cat reluctantly meowed.

My warm aching sores were getting worse so I decided to show it to Jhod. This was interesting experience as no sooner did I show the healer the infection, than did all the rest of my friends take notice.

Aramis, “What is that? That doesn’t look right.”
Schmidtaki appearing out of nowhere as he usually does, “You know you can’t just go sticking your thing anywhere, you get diseases that way.”
Aramis, “You have got to be careful of which giant insects you sleep with.”
Jhod, “I don’t have the power to heal this through prayer. I suggest you get a lot of rest.”
Mitchel, “You should wrap it up your sores in bandages soaked in vinegar and water.”
Chet, “I think we have a cream for that in the healers kit.”
Mitchel, “I think that cream is for fungus.”
Chet, “Couldn’t hurt. Besides what do you know Beardless?”

It was a bit humiliating to have them all poking, prodding, and laughing at my sickness but even I found it a little funny in the end. I don’t know if all there advice and help, helped or hurt me in the end.

Around noon a merchant arrived with our horse order. We effectively traded our horses for war horses, they will be less spooky in the face of danger and combat.

There was one more interesting note to finish today. Mitchel was reading fairy tales to his new companion, the newly dubbed Geronimo III. He took special care to emphasize the words yes, no, and danger.

Rainfall

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Vistretta and Galano - The Search Continues - L1

Everyone else is writing something on something, Rainfall and Schmiditaki are over there writing novellas so I’m going to write on this giant oak leaf!

I found a rock today with some chalk under it, I believe this is the next big key to finding Vistretta and Galano. My party is of sound mind, except Chet who apparently likes to clean a lot. He’s become a successful soapsmither and healer, although I wish he’d taken up cooking, so hungry and confused…oh! Well Aramis can’t be touched, people fall down around Rainfall a lot, and

Flips Leaf

Schmiditaki has a knack for decapitation, I like it all! I will miss Geronimo II, he’s was a solid trooper, his help towards finding Vistretta’s links to the lousy heroine will not be forgotten, hence why my new piccolo has him inscribed on it in vivid detail. Anyway, about my friends, I do believe they will help me find Vistretta and Galano…in time. I welcome my new companion Geronimo III, he seems strong and capable!

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Ninja Diaries Entry One (Battle of the Mites)

It was midday when we arrived at the giant Sycamore tree, its branches stretched out long and gnarled setting a very ominous picture even in the light of day. This was definitely the tree the Kobold leader Sootscale had told me about and it wasn’t long before we found the hole which led into the mite’s lair. Tying the horses up just outside and leaving Geronimo “That’s pronounced Her – On – Eh – Mo” back to guard the horses in the case mites should threaten them, we proceeded to enter the hole one at a time.

As I entered the small room below I could already hear the sounds of combat, there was plenty of giggling followed by the sounds of frustration from my companions as they began to clash with the small creatures but found that the low ceiling and cramped space made swinging a weapon to be very difficult. I also found this to be a problem as I begin to engage one of the mites; the creature dodged my attack and proceeded down a passage straight ahead of me which looked to proceed down deeper under the great Sycamore.

Following the mite down deeper into his lair I did my best to keep to the shadows watching the poor mite as it ran off toward a small group of its brethren and a rather good sized centipede about the size of a human in length. I saw my chance and instinctually produced an arrow notching it as I drew the string back. Aiming was not an issue, this mite had its back to me, was running in a straight line screaming and flailing its little arms about and attempting to get the attention of its comrades; As its comrades began to notice I loosed the string and the sound of my arrow striking the back of the mites head produced a loud crunching sound as its feeble skull collapsed under the force of the impact. Its lifeless body hit the ground with a thud and slid toward its brethren ceasing its forward motion directly in front of them. The mites had a look of shock and disbelief on their faces as they watched the lifeless and bloodied body of their fallen comrade slide to a stop in front of them.

It was then I heard the sound of someone rustling through the passage behind me, I looked back to see Aramis coming down to join me, while I was appreciative of the extra help I was still very weary of this new member to our illustrious party and decided it would be best to let him take the front. At the same time he motioned to me wanting to pass, without hesitation I squeezed myself against the side of the passage and he took up position in front of me. I thought this rather amusing considering when we first met, I snuck up behind him to greet him as most ninja’s do and he proceeded to go on and on about how I like to give it to people from behind, him now being in front willingly was either a sign of trust or a gesture that maybe he likes it from behind. As the mites began to prepare for battle and the large centipede began its trek toward us these thoughts quickly vanished from my head. It was then I began to notice this large section of ground and ceiling that seemed to be moving ahead of the large centipede. Knowing this couldn’t be a good sign I yelled to Aramis to watch out!

It was too late. The swarm was upon him he was now covered from head to toe in a swarm of nasty centipedes. He yelled “Oh gods! There everywhere. There in my hair! Please it’s hideous, kill it with fire! “. I didn’t hesitate for I knew there was only one solution to this situation. I quickly produced an Alchemist Fire and threw it at Aramis covering him in a lake of fire as we began to move back up the passage toward the first chamber. He screamed in pain and earned some of my respect for taking it like a man and not crying like some sissy nobleman trying to play solider. As soon as Aramis could manage he also produced an Alchemist Fire and doused himself in it earning even more respect from this seasoned assassin who has seen plenty of hardened veterans give up in situations such as these crying for mother and home. At this point the swarm was now nothing but a bunch of charred husks lying all about the upper chamber and Aramis was still covered in flame, he instinctually dropped to the ground and began rolling around trying to put the fire out. In doing so he covered himself in caltrops that happened to be littering the whole upper level. I could hear the sigh and sound of relief from him as the final flame went out, he was now quite hurt, burned and bloodied, I produced a potion of water I retrieved from a sacred pool at a temple we cleansed of evil earlier that week and tossed it too him hoping that it would cure him of any poison or ailments he may have suffered at the pincers of that swarm. I then proceeded back down the passage alone.

As I entered the large chamber I found that the mites that remained began retreating down another passage at the back of the chamber. I began to chase after them. Entering the second passage I couldn’t find many places to hide as the passage quickly opened up to another chamber packed from wall to wall with mites, there must have been at least 12 of them in this tiny area, I was quickly overwhelmed by a hail of darts all of which either missed me or bounced off me with no ill effect. I could hear at this point the screams of Rainfall from within the chamber ahead “Oh Gods it’s draining me by the pint!” Not knowing what kind of evil was causing our rather stout monk to cry out in fear was very disturbing but I knew I had to press on to help my comrade. As I began to wade into the lake of mites I noticed that this chamber had extra vines and roots sticking out of it making it very difficult to connect my swords with the tiny creatures. As I continued to wade into them Aramis showed up and did the same, it was then that we heard a loud clattering noise, and saw a 2 large glowing eyes appear from down the end of the chamber. It was a Giant Centipede and its fangs seemed to glow red hot.

Aramis shouted “What the hell is that thing?” as I let loose an arrow, piercing its hide, but all that did was anger the giant. It reared back and launched a flame from its mouth toward me. I jumped clear and watched as the ball of flame melted the dirt and rock beneath it. I moved to the back of the chamber and began to prepare for my next shot. Aramis pushed through the group of mites knocking many of them out of his way and skewering a few. He now stood face to face with the giant centipede. The fearless nature of our new companion impressed me, he was not only face to face with a giant flame shooting centipede but also surrounded by an army of mites. I saw a chance and immediately sniped one of the mites dead with my bow as Aramis engaged the beast!

Lunging forward Aramis attempted to pierce the giant with his rapier but at the last moment the large centipede showed its agility and moved clear of the blow, returning a blow of its own sinking its fangs into Aramis as he let out a rather loud cry. Aramis was clearly staggered by this blow he didn’t seem to be expecting such a big beast to be able to dodge his attack as well as deliver such a devastating blow at the same time. It was then that Chet came charging into the chamber sprinting as fast as his little dwarf legs would carry him, seeing his companion in danger he charged head first into the sea of mites and began to do his best to stabilize Aramis. I began letting loose arrows at the beast but to no effect the beast was still ravaging Aramis every chance it got and it didn’t seem to be slowing down. Even with the combined efforts of Mitchell and Chet, Aramis knew he couldn’t continue to stand toe to toe with this giant and he ordered a retreat. It was then that Mitchell’s companion Geronimo that’s pronounced “Her – On – Eh – Mo” showed up. Mitchell ordered the cat to cover our retreat which it did without hesitation.

Entering the chamber I had just come from I noticed a giant tick with a mite riding on it come from the upper chamber. I also saw the look of fear and dread on Rainfall’s face, he began to retreat for the upper chamber as I charged the tick attacking it with everything I had. It latched onto me and drained me of some of my blood, I immediately began to feel a bit more sluggish as it did this and I knew it was going to be some time before I would recover from this ailment. In seeing my predicament Rainfall’s demeanor changed and he instead charged the tick laying into it with everything he had, Aramis joined in as soon as he made it back up the passage and the tick was down within mere seconds, the rider followed shortly there after. During this time we could hear the growls of Geronimo that’s pronounced “Her – On – Eh – Mo” and the loud screech of the giant centipede as it was barraged by the large cat. Impressively this went on for a good 30 seconds before we heard a low growl followed by giggling from the mites as what sounded like Geronimo’s that’s pronounced “Her – On – Eh – Mo” body slumping to the floor of the cavern.

Glancing at Aramis we knew what we had to do. Approaching the opening of the passage I hid in the shadows preparing for the Giant to make its appearance. I didn’t have to wait long, the clattering of spike like legs against the chambers passage soon produced the head of the giant centipede followed shortly by the rest of its body, it began to move past me unaware of my presence charging straight for Aramis. It was then I saw my opening, I stepped from the shadows catching the beast completely off guard, My first blade struck true, going in one side of its body and out the other as it moved past causing many internal injuries. I swung with my second blade and impaled the creature once more. The centipede screeched in pain and began to turn its head toward me. I knew it was now or never and channeling my Ki I pulled my first sword out of its body and struck with all my might nearly severing its head from its body. At that point there was no screech it was almost as if the whole cavern went silent as the giant’s carcass fell to the ground causing a small quake and much of the loose dirt above us to rain down on the party.

As a group we we’re able to clear the passage of the giant centipede by dragging it through the rest of the way and into the chamber. Worried about Geronimo that’s pronounced “Her – On – Eh – Mo” and with the passage clear we began our decent back down into the bowels of the mite’s lair. We began wadding into the army of mites, who where still attempting to harm us with their little daggers no larger then a pin in size. Every once in a while they would get a good jab in that would pierce skin but mostly they where just a nuisance. While Aramis and I dealt with most of the mites, Chet and Mitchell proceeded to aid our fallen Cat. Shortly after reviving Geronimo that’s pronounced “Her – On – Eh – Mo” out of the passage that the centipede had appeared, now appeared a human sized mite with a white beard and a creature covered in dark rags. At that moment two things happened, the room filled with a mass of webs and then it went dark, completely absent of all light. Even as an elf I was unable to make out anything not even my own hands in this darkness. Somehow I managed to dodge the majority of webbing and blindly finished off the mite in front of me, I decided to push forward in the direction I believed to be forward.

My eyes needed a second to adjust and they did as I moved clear of the darkened area and were able to see again. I saw the chief mite and his dark companion next to him starring at me in shock, surprised that their spells hadn’t stopped me, the chief took a swing at me with his flaming club which I expertly dodged at the same time plunging both of my swords into the creature in dark rags. It let out a groan as it slumped to the ground dead. At this point Aramis came charging out of the blackness that was now dissipating and slammed into the chief mite pinning him against the wall. Between me impaling the chief from side to side, and Aramis sticking his rapier up its nose, the chief fell quickly and the mite lair fell silent absent the screams and sound of the remaining mites scurrying for the surface and escape from this now tomb. It was time for rest and everyone was in dire need of it. Aramis and I nodded at each other in respect for each others skills and determination and the rest as they say, is history.

-Schmidtaki

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Raining Journal 02/02/4712

2nd of Calistril, 4712AR

Today was intense to say the least. Even as I write this journal entry I can barely keep my eyes open but I need to get this all down before I forget any of it.

This morning Aramis was making breakfast over light conversation with our kobold friend. This included the topics of branding and the decision of whether to turn him into boot or gloves. Eventually he came to the conclusion that a younger kobolds would be needed for the suppleness that he demanded. I noticed that a handful of the kobold’s scales have been burned. Schmidtaki told me that our kobold friend had agreed to take us to his clan. On the ride back to the kobold camp Schmidtaki and Aramis ended up talking about the kobold.

Schmidtaki, “So he said that there were something like 300 kobolds back at his camp.”
Aramis, “Yup.”
Schmidtaki, “And we… Uh and by we, I mean you, spent the better part of the night threatening to turn him into gloves and burning his scales with a hot knife.”
Aramis, "Well I believe your miss representing things a bit. First off it was boots, he’s entirely too old and rough for gloves. Second, the little vagabond was stealing from us, that makes him bandit and…
Schmidtaki, “And now we are just going to walk into his camp.”
Aramis, “Yes…”
Aramis, “Wait, oh. Hold on a second.”

Aramis then rode up next to the kobold who was tied up on our pack horse.
Aramis, “So um, kobold what was your name again?”
Moretek, “You never ask name, just burn me.”
Aramis, “Yes, yes, and there will be plenty more burning if you don’t give me you name.”
Moretek, “Moretek.”
Aramis, “So Moretek, exactly how far are we from your camp.”
Moretek, “It is Sootscale Clan. And we just almost there. Just to South of here, maybe one more hour.”
Aramis pointed, “Just to the South. Straight this way.”
Moretek, “No no, this way.” He pointed just a little to the right as Aramis hung back a bit, pulled out his rapier.
Aramis flexing and examined it, “Oh perfect. Then we don’t need to you any more.” Aramis skewered Moretek, killing him. Schmidtaki then rode up next to him.
Aramis, “So it seems that noble friend Moretek was slain by some evil bandits.”
Schmidtaki plugning his own blade into the kobold quickly wiped it off, " Yes and his dying wish was to be brought to back to his clan. Oh and don’t forget to wipe your blade off."
Aramis, “A shame we couldn’t save him in time.”

I was a little horrified at the actions of my comrades. Though I can’t complain too much as our entire campaign to pacify these lands have been pretty brutal. Not the least of which is my propensity for collecting skulls as an example to the other bandits.

True to the kobolds word we arrived at the Sootscale camp. The plains became rocky and sandy and there was a large rocky crag jutting out of the ground. The craggy outcropping loomed over us as we approached. The frozen ground covered in countless kobold tracks and dotted by snow covered piles of dirt and broken rock. In the distance we could see the little lizards scurrying from mound to mound keeping an eye one us. We spotted a cave opening that they seemed be heading to. As we approached it a single kobold ran out towards us waving his hands. He looked carefully at the ground, stood his ground and called out to us.

Kobold, “YOU STAY THERE. WHAT YOU WANT.”
Aramis, “We are here to return one of your fallen warriors.”
Kobold, “YOU KILL SOOTSCALES?!”
Schmidtaki, “No it was bandits.”
Kobold, "Bandits? We have truce… Why you bring us dead sootscale?
Aramis, “Wait, you have a truce with the Stag Lord?”
Kobold, “YOU ANSWER QUESTION.”
Schmidtaki, “He told us to bring him here as he was dying.”
Kobold, “YOU WAIT HERE.”

The kobold ran back into the tunnel. It was now flanked by four kobolds brandishing spears and sheilds. Something like five minutes later another kobold came out. This kobold was dressed in leather, decorated in red and black feathers. He wears a helmet made from kobold skull and decorated in the same red and black feathers. Several of his scales are pierced by silver rings, and others are inlay with silver to form draconcic characters. He strode out to the to the same spot as the last kobold and called out to us from.

Chief Sootscale, “I AM CHIEF SOOTSCALE. YOU WANT BRING US FALLEN SOOTSCALE. GOOD. YOU BRING HIM TO US. BUT ONLY ONE OF YOU COME.”
Aramis, “Let us two of us bring him.”
Chief Sootscale, “NO, ONLY ONE. MORE COME AND WE FIGHT.”

Schmidtaki got off his horse and brought the dead kobold to the chief. Two kobolds ran forward to grab and drag off the body. The Chief began to walk back and towards the cave, “You come with me we talk.” Cautiously Schmidtaki walked into the tunnel now filled with kobolds. As he disappeared into the cave the kobolds followed.

Later he relayed what happened to him in the cave. He had to crouch to get into the cave, but it opened up quickly. There were ledges and tunnels all around. The kobolds surrounded him but kept there distance, with the exception of Chief Sootscale. Even at half his height the Chief stood proud and intimidated.

Chief Sootscale, “I am chied Sootscale. What you doing here?”
Schmidtaki, “We are returning your fallen warrior.”
Chief Sootscale, “Why human care?”
Schmidtaki, “Well were good humans and it was his dying request.”
Chief Sootscale, “How sootscale die?”
Schmidtaki, “Bandits, bandits killed him.” At this the kobolds began to mummer loudly amongst each other.
Chief Sootscale, “WHAT! We have truce with Stag Lord. Why bandits break truce.”
Schmidtaki, “We just walked in on them being attacked.”
Chief Sootscale took his time looking Schmidtaki up and down before replying, “Why we trust you? Sootscales don’t know you. Who are you?”
Schmidtaki, “Because were good humans?”
Chief Sootscale smiled widely or at least what passes for a smile with kobolds, “I have idea, you do us favor, you go to Old Sycamore. You go get us Old Sharptooth Statue from the crazy mites under big tree.” Again the crowd began to murmurer.
Schmidtaki, “That’s it? A statue and a handful of those evil smurfs. Sure. No problem. We’ll get it done and if there are any real tasks you need done, you let me know chiefy. I talk to you later.”

Turning to leave, the kobolds blocking his path did not move until their Chief barked out an order in draconic. Schmidtaki returned to us. He told us that there were a lot of kobolds in there and, “So the Chief told us that he doesn’t trust us. But that if we go get his statue from nest of mites then he will. I figure if we get their trust we could pit them against the Stag Lord.” Considering our previous encounters with mites this should be a small errand.

Finding the tree that the Sootscales described was an easy task. Looming over all the hills in the northern Kamelands, a graying hulk of a sycamore tree clings precariously to its last years of life. Well over a 100-foot-tall tree is visible for miles. Standing around a gaping hole at the roots of the tree we could hear terrible giggling coming from inside. Looking at each other one last time we jumped in one by one. We left Geronimo on the surface to guard the horses. The narrow corridors and low ceilings of the lair would prove to be almost as big a hazard as the fey themselves.

In the first room we entered there were three crude, wooden workbenches occupy the center of this room, their tops strewn with various tiny tools, metal and wooden hardware, and blocks of wood. Four mites scurry about the room engaged in a strange competition using a new device they’ve built. Using a miniature catapult rigged out of bones and branches, the two take turns firing caltrops at one anther’s open mouth. This resulted in the room being covered in caltrops.

The mites gleefully attacked us with knives and darts. As we fought them, two of them began to wiggle their fingers, weaving there sinister magic. The vines and roots around Schmidtaki began snag around him and tie up in knots. The other mite caused oil and slime to bubble out of the ground under our feet. In spite of these distractions and the low ceiling that we kept bumping our heads into two we were able to kill two of the blue creatures. The other two escaped into opposite tunnels. Not feeling threatened we split up. Mitchel, Chet, and I headed right, Aramis and Schmidtaki headed left.

Jumping down, I found myself in a egg-shaped cavern, obscured by thick tangles of long, pallid roots. To the east, the chamber opened into a wide, root-filled chasm. A group of six mites are joyously tormenting a captured Sootscale kobold. One of four black-scaled kobolds who have been tied into the roots along the wall. The other three already hang limply by their bonds, dead from the mites’ torment. The last kobold shrieks in pain as the six mites take turns poking it with sharp stick, each shriek eliciting a fresh wave of giggles and cheers from the mites. All the while the mite we chased into this room was trying to get the attention of the others. When I attacked them they slowly began to realize that they were in danger. Again and again I either snagged in my feet and arms on roots in the cavern to the delight of the mites. From behind me I could hear a familiar voice whispering a prayer that ended in loud refrain. The shocking sound stunned many of the mites and the captured kobold slumped limply in the roots that held him. I charged forward to take advantage of the stupefied mites. They quickly came to their senses to retaliate. The ones I faced jabbed at me with tiny daggers while the ones behind them gleefully filled the air with darts. As they began to surround me I could hear the sound of music behind me followed by a loud thud. It was Mitchel.

Mitchel strode forth and fiddled the violin furiously, its crescendo shattered and sliced the flesh of the mites. Again and again he broke that note slicing and killing the unsuspecting mites. Finishing off the tune with a flourish that revive the tortured kobold.

I began to untie the kobold when I heard Arimis screaming from above, “Oh gods! There everywhere. There in my hair! Please its hideous, kill it with fire! Fire please!” It was immediately followed by, “Oh gods! I’m on fire! Why, why!”
I could then hear Shmidtaki yell, “Quick stop, drop, and roll.”
Aramis, “Ouch, ouch! Why am I on fire rolling around in caltrops.”

After releasing the kobold, I crossed a chasm. A deep and ominous chasm splits the passage. The chasm was a few yards wide, and twice as deep, but thick ropes of tangled roots fill the entire area. The passage continued on the far side of the chasm, and between the two ledges, numerous loops were tied into the roots to serve as hand and footholds. As I crossed I noticed that several of the loops were rigged to fall apart and called back to Mitchel, “Watch out some of these hand holds are traps.” Once on the other side I looked back to see Chet and Mitchel scurrying thier big dwarven butts back up towards the others yelling, “We’ll be right back.”

At this point I realized I was alone and turned to see what awaited me. In this room there were rows of wooden pegs lining the earthen walls, some hung with tiny, filthy cloaks. In the center of the room stood a rickety table held together with twine, covered with a filthy red checked tablecloth with two figures sitting at it. On the table was an bloodstained ivory statuette of what looks like a crouching reptilian devil. Sitting at the table was a small man covered in a dark cloak and a dressed in rags. Next to him, a human sized mite with a white beard, white hat, wielding a flaming club. There was one more mite in the room and it was riding what I believed to be a giant tick.

With a wave of his fingers the white bearded mite cause webs to spring up behind me cutting off my escape. The giant tick charged me and latched on to my waist. The rag covered creature and the white bearded mite began to laugh and chuckle as they watched me struggle with the creature. I just barely managed to hold and keep the mandibles from gnawing me to death, but still its rasping tongue drank deeply of my blood. The two figures laughed and laughed as I managed to free my self and I scrambled back wards towards the web. The raged figure raised his hand and suddenly everything went black.

The darkness was absolute and I could feel the insect latch on to me again. The monster drank my blood but again I managed to keep it’s mandibles from inflicting even greater damage. I could feel myself growing cold and weak with blood lose. Then from the table and laughter was I could hear a loud long whistle. From behind me, in the chasm there was a loud chattering and the scuttling of many many legs. As I fought with the giant tick something very large and flaming hot passed by me. I could just barely managed to make out two glowing red eyes and three large flaming interlocking fangs. I could hear the webs burning away behind me. After the large thing passed I managed to break free of the tick and crawl away from the creature. My only hope was to start crossing back across the chasm.

Pale and week I managed to meet back with the little kobold. The small reptile helped me steady myself and we climbed back up the tunnel with the tick following us. Once we arrived at the opening to the surface the kobold took off. I ran to the supply horse and drank a potion of bear’s endurance to regain some of my strength. Geronimo looked at me curiously as I guzzled potion. I then tried to get him to follow me. Tilting his head to one side then the other the cat followed me albeit a bit confused by my flailing hands and unusual calls. I shuddered briefly as I prepared to delve back into the tunnels hoping that Geronimo would join me. The last thing I saw before I jumped was the kobold running off in the distance.

I was immediately confronted by my thirsty tormentor. I prepared myself to attack and Geronimo jumped on top of the giant bug. Between the two of us we were able to kill the bug and its rider, though Geronimo did the lions share of the damage. The beast was finally dead and in a strange twist of fate, it was still my blood that spilled all over the ground. Geronimo and I locked eyes for a moment and nodded at each other with approval.

We both pressed on towards the shouts of friends and gleeful giggles of our enemies. Going through a narrow cavern we enter the room. The floor was wet-looking and crisscrossed by several shallow trenches, each containing trickles of putrid looking fluid. Six foul mounds of compost and dung lie heaped about the room, each studded with small spherical eggs. There were countless broken and burned centipedes strewn about the room and we could hear the sounds of combat coming from the tunnel on the other side of this room.

Rushing forward we made our way through another narrow tunnel into a damp room haphazardly cluttered with broken beds, chairs, wagon wheels, and an assortment of worn, tattered, dingy, and broken objects pilfered or salvaged from big folk. A row of bookcases stands crookedly propped against the far wall, the shelves filled with bits of bone, feathers, and dried centipede legs. Old window frames, cracked and splintered, hang upon the wall like works of fine art. The entire room was covered in small darts, I would soon find out why.

In this room I was reunited with my companions. There were also a dozen or so mites. On the far side of the room I could see a giant centipede at least twenty feet long with three giant flaming mandibles dripping with black venom. Behind him I could see the rage clad figure and the larger mite still laughing hysterically at our misfortune.

The white bearded mite covered us in webs with a wave of his fingers. A moment later he snapped his fingers sending a spark into the center of the web. The webs burst into flames with us in it. This was all to the delight of the other fey. The mites full of mirth attacked in concert. Suddenly the air was filled with darts flying haphazardly in every direction. Between the low ceiling and the tiny size of our targets the mites proved almost impossible to hit. Again and again the air became thick with darts. Eventually the entire room was covered in darts. This fact made sure that the mites were never out of arms reach of another dart.

Slowly almost carefully, the giant centipede made its way through the crowd of mites to join the fray. The centipede lunged forward with its flaming fangs striking Aramis in the chest, leaving three gaping bloody holes. The centipede whipped its long twin tails at Aramis almost tripping him. The pain of the bite nearly dropped Aramis to one knee but he steady himself quickly. Chet and Mitchel managed to heal Aramis as he dueled the giant monstrosity. Aramis could not seem to connect properly with his nemesis. Again and again his rapier glancing off of the centipede’s thick chitinous armor. Schmidtaki took this moment to jeer him, “3, 4, 5. Are you planing to hit that thing some time today?”

Aramis was struck again by the giant centipede and its flaming mandibles sizzled, extinguishing themselves in his flesh. Even more darts filled the air and the mites cried out, “La la la la-la la. Happy things will come to you. La la la la-la la. Smurf the day away!” Then Geronimo charged into the rescue. With Chet and Mitchel’s healing abilities nearly exhausted Aramis slowly began to retreat. Fighting his way back a bit, he drank a healing potion and we all made our way back out of the room. But not Geronimo. Geronimo flew into a furry and would not retreat. We could hear the sounds of the terrible centipede and the tiger battling.

The centipede slashed and tore into the great cat and the cat returned the favor. The darts rained down in all directions accompanied by the laughter of the mites. Geronimo deftly avoiding the missiles and bit of the giant insect. Then finally an errant dart landed in Geronimo’s meaty flank and he finally collapsed under his wounds. The last one of us to leave the chamber was Mitchel who let out a cry of sadness at the sight of his friend falling. But he would not let this be the end. Playing his piccolo one last time before leaving the room the great cat was granted a second wind.

Back in the room with the egg piles the remaining mites had doubled back on us. Here we had a better time of fighting them as we could get on either side of them to flank. Below we could hear the mighty mountain lion and the centipede’s battle rage on. Schmidtaki and Aramis tore the tiny creatures apart. Clearing the room we took positions to attempt to ambush anything that came from the direction of the centipede. Then the battered Geronimo clambered out of the small tunnel closely followed by the centipede. All together we pounced on the monster. The centipede shuttered under our assault and let out a terrible roar that shook the cave, nearly collapsing it as it died.

The body of the beast clogged the tunnel and we all together grabbed its legs to pull it through. We charged back into the cave that we were chased out of a moment ago. With their insect champions destroyed and their number reduced we pressed through the mite ranks. Forcing our way towards the white bearded mite and the ragged dark figure. The dark rag covered figure finally unsheathed a blade was smeared with thick black poison and attacked. Aramis and Schmidtaki dualed the two. Before we knew it the rag covered figure was impaled on Aramis’ blade and it burst into flames and light. The sudden light blinded the white bearded who swung furiously with his macabre faced flaming club. Together Aramis and Schmidtaki killed the mite leader. Suddenly the laughter that had permeated this entire battle stopped. The mite leader collapsed and then began to shrink back down to regular size as the rest of the mites looked on. The mite leader let out a final sigh and the rest of the mites ran out of the cave screaming and sobbing.

The tunnels were silent except for the sound of us all gasping for breath. Eventually we all broke into laughter because we survived the terrible encounter. We sorely underestimated these tiny fey and their vermin champions. Searching the cave we found a bag of treasure underneath the ragged table and the armor and weapons of the mites. Mitchel gathered up every dart he could find, they were everywhere. We found the statue that the kobolds were looking for. It was a blood stained ivory statuette depicts a crouching horned devil, of fine craftsmanship but not magical in the slightest.

When we emerged from the tunnel Schmidtaki pulled out a crude map written in the mites strange language. He was not able to properly read the language but pieced together that there were two columns on the map. One labeled “Us” and one labeled “Them.” The “Us” column lists only two things: “kobold statue” and “lots of spears and coins.” The “Them” column lists “magic dust,” “lots of coins” and “shiny human ring".

Schmidtaki, “Shiny human ring, could that be the wedding ring were looking for?”
To which I replied, “Lets get this damn statue back to the Sootscales. We can ask them. And once we get back to Oleg’s I am buying as much lamp oil from him as I can. Barrels if he’s got it. We are coming back and burning this disgusting tree to the ground.” Everyone agree that this was a good idea. It wasn’t even noon and the Sootscales were only an hour or so away so we set off.

We approached the Sootscale cave and again we were greeted by kobolds watching us from afar while darting between mounds of snow covered dirt. As we got nearer one kobold ran towards us waving his arms and yelling, “Hey, hey!” The little kobold walked next to my horse as, he was the one that I untied in the mite cave.

“Hi, I Mikmek. You humans that rescue me!”
I replied, “Yes, We did and now were on our way to return the statue. Then later were gonna burn that damn tree to the ground.”
Mikmek squealed in delight, “Ya, stupid mite. Burning them is good. So you get statue?”
“Yup.”
“So you return statue to Chief Sootscale or Turtuk?”
I said, “Well since I never heard of this Turtuk character, I am thinking we’ll end up returning it to the Chief.”
Mikmek cheered “Death to Tartuk!” before clapping his hands over his snout. “I go get Da Chief.” He then ran towards the cave opening.

The Chief emerged after a few minutes. As he got closer Schmidtaki unceremoniously tossed the statue to Chief Sootscale.
“So Chief, lets talk reward.”
“Yes reward, you are now friends to the Sootscales. You come with me, your horses will be taken care of.”
Aramis, “Well thats more like it.”

Chief Sootscale barked out orders in draconic and the kobolds guarding the entrance put their shields and spears down to take care of our horses. As we entered the cave Chief Sootscale held the ivory statue high above his head. Walking through the narrow tunnels the kobolds looked on at the Chief and the statue with fear and dread. Several of the kobolds scurried off at the sight of it.

Our procession stopped at an larger cave. The walls of this cavern were decorated by a rickety wooden frame formed from clean-cut branches lashed together with gut and twine. Banners cut from two-foot-wide strips of old blankets and horse hides hung from floor to ceiling, covering much of the walls. The sloppily painted banners bear dozens of primitive icons and mystic symbols. A large cauldron filled with bubbling red liquid boils in the center of the room. A purple skinned kobold stirred the cauldron. Decorated in green and black feathers, necklaces, and fetish. At his side, a wicked looking sickle with a lizards skull as its hilt. The blade protrudes from the skull like a tongue. He was flanked by a handful of kobold guards.

Mitchel, “This place could really use a plant…”
Turtuk, “So you have brought Old Sharptooth back to me.”
Chief Sootscale, “No, Humans bring it. These good humans.”
Turtuk, “You dared to let their soft, scaleless fingers defile Old Sharptooth. This will not please Old Sharptooth. This will not help lift the curse on our tribe.”
Chief Sootscale, “No, not your tribe. My tribe. I have Old Sharptooth now. I AM CHIEF SOOTSCALE. I LIFT CURSE AND FREE TRIBE FROM YOU!”

At this moment Chief Sootscale smashed the statue in the center of the room and charged at the purple kobold. The Chief dashed to the side of the medicine man and viciously bashed in his head with an ornate bone club. Aramis always ready for a fight charged forward. As he did the ground under the broken statue rippled, distorted, and stretched downward forming a square pit. Aramis was just barely able to stop himself from falling in. He then turned to face Turtuk’s guards. As these events unfolded I for some reason I was staring at the floor.

I was brought to my sense by Mitchel, of all people, barking orders. “Rainfall! Rainfall!!! Stop looking at those socks!! I know they were on sale and they fit you just fine but they’re just socks!! The giant army devil demon summoned from the fiery pits of hell commanded by the worst of of devilkin and all that we hold unholy to us is emerging from the cauldron in religious fashion and you’re just staring at your socks! Oh and if any one needs this flaming club just grab it from me!”

Mitchel continued, “Watch out for that pit. This pit is decidedly square in shape, I do not believe this is natural. Unless that is a pit made of antimatter cubic crystalline lattice material… or whatever.” I have no idea what I he meant by this.

Schmidtaki let out a frustrated sigh before joining the fray. Ducking back briefly to make it seem that he hand left the battle and he reemerge to let loose an arrow at the Turtuk. Chet grabbed onto the macabre flaming club and the two of them briefly fought over it. He then attacked one of guards. Moments later the sand and dirt around the pit began to churn and move as if caught in fierce winds. The bubbling cauldron split over and its liquid burst into flames burning the kobold guards and Schmidtaki. The dirt piled up around all combatants, friend and foe, impeding our movement. To my suprise the guards even attacked Chief Sootscale, these must have been Turtuks personal guards.

Chief Sootscale continued to battle Turtuk who was being pushed back a narrow tunnel. The Chief landed another vicious blow and Turtuk collaped. As we continued to whittled away at Turtuks guards, Chief Sootscale stood over the fallen Turtuk and killed him with a final blow. Turning around to face the swirling sand and the mysterious pit Chief Sootscale cried out to his tribe.

“I AM CHIEF SOOTSCALE! TODAY I BREAK CURSE! I BREAK OLD SHARPTOOTH! SOOTSCALES FREE!”

The remaining guards fled or dropped to their knees to beg for mercy. A few moments later winds and sand died down, the distorted terrain shifted and bended back into its normal form.

Chief Sootscale, “No mercy for kobolds that betray tribe to Turtuk.” He walked up next to Aramis and killed one of the kobolds kneeling in front of him.
Aramis joined him and killed the kobold next to that one, “What the hell is wrong with me today. All this fighting and I only killed one thing and only because it knelt down in front of me!”
Schmidtaki, “Ok seriously Chief Sootscale, I believe there was talk of reward. I mean this has been one hell of a day.”

Chief Sootscale pointed to the corner of the room piled up with various treasures, “There. Turtuk made us pile up all treasure. Offering or else curse get worse. You take what ever you want from there but you leave us silver. Silver is metal of Sootscales.” He pointed proudly to the scales on his shoulder that were inlayed with silver. He then left the room.

In the pile of treasure we found a great meany copper, silver, and gold pieces. There were even a few platinum pieces. A pair of find boot, flaming crossbow bolts, and a soiled bag. Mitchel was immediately drawn to the soiled bag. He dumped out the sack into the pile of treasure and carefully looked over the bag. A plain brass ring set with a single pearl fell out and rolled across the floor. Exactly as Svetlana described her stolen wedding ring. On Turtuk’s limp corpse we found two wands, the cold iron sickle, magical bracers, and a book written in a strange language. We looted the room but left the silver as instructed. After we were done Chief Sootscale returned. (Oh and we totally made level 4, DING!)

Chief Sootscale, “I have to restore order. Have to make law in tribe. You are my friend now. All of you help Sootscales very much.”
Schmidtaki, " Alright Chiefy we gotta have ourselves a little talk. We got you your statue, now you may not be much of an art lover but we brought it."
Chief Sootscale, “Um, ok.”
Schmidtaki, " We even helped you get a hold of your tribe and kill this Turtuk character that has been giving you all sorts of problems… apparently."
Chief Sootscale, “Yes! You good humans friends now.”
Schmidtaki, “Ya so these attacks on caravans have to stop. You guys want to attack the bandits thats fine. Remember that the Stag Lord broke your truce. Well we want that truce.”
Chief Sootscale, “Ok… yes. Turtuk make us attack caravans and traders.”
Schmidtaki, “Good, well then I will draw us up a treaty.”
Aramis, “Yes and as leader of this group, I umm, well, approve. Yes it meets with my approval, carry on.”
Chief Sootscale, “If you want us attack bandits, maybe you take off stag necklaces. So kobold no mistake you.”

Using our map making kit Schmidtaki was able to draw up a fairly official looking treaty in the same style as our charters. Chief Sootscale signed by dipping his entire hand in ink and pressing it to the paper as his signature. With the treaty signed Schmidtaki quickly switched his diplomat hat for his quartermaster hat and began sniffing out the next sweet deal.

Schmidtaki, “Well now that that’s all done, maybe we could do a little trading.”
Chief Sootscale, “Ok. What do you want.”
Schmitdtaki, “Well first off I would like to offer you these shields and spears as an offering of good will.”
Aramis, “Good will, what the hell are you talking about. Seriously I can’t believe you.”
Schmitdtaki, “So next we would like to get some prices for silver weapons.”
Aramis, “Wait, why are we leaving the silver again? Can someone explain this to me?”
Chief Sootscale, “Ok. we talk with smiths. You show us what weapons you want.”
Aramis, “I still can’t believe you gave away those things. If we sold them, that’s like half the price of a new outfit.”
Schmitdtaki, “I appreciate you trying to impress me, Aramis, but I am just not that way.”
Aramis, “What about silver sheen, do you have any of that?”
Chief Sootscale, "No, don’t know what that is?
Aramis, “It’s magical!”
Chief Sootscale, “Ya, no we no have that.”
Schmitdtaki, “I mean I know I ‘approach from behind’ and all, but I am just not into that sort of thing.”

Things continued like this for a while, eventually we had gotten prices for versions of all of our weapons but did not buy any. The sootscales have an interesting habit of making all trades and negotiations in silver pieces.

Not a bad day considering it was only just after noon. We were weary from all of the fighting so we decided to head back to Oleg’s for the day.

As the sun began to set we could make out smoke on the horizon. A lot of smoke, too much smoke. Something was wrong. Now with a sense of urgency we raced towards the trading post. We passed by the sign post that I had hung the bandit’s skulls from and a copy of our charter from. It had been burned down and the skulls taken. As Oleg’s began to come into view we could see the extent of the damage became clear.

The main gate had not been breached but they were severely scorched. Kesten Garess let us in, he like all of the inhabitants was covered in soot. All of the buildings had sustained some sort of damage and barn had burned down completely. Two of the guards had died in the attack. Flaming arrows were used to try and set fire to the trading post. Kesten told us the Stag Lord himself made an appearance. “It was the Stag Lord that killed the two guards.”

Chet immediately flew into an over dramatic rage, " Jhod, they were in you hands. They counted on you!"
Aramis followed suit, “Little disappointed Chode.”
Jhod, “It’s Jhod.”
Aramis, “Sorry, Chode, its my accent.”

Eventually Bokken stumbled out of the sleeping quarters, “They burned everything down, my shop.” The strange man was even stranger in the wake of the destruction of his potion shop. The bandits let him live because he never resisted giving tribute. He told us that they burned his shop because his potions helped use.

The trading post was over come with a sense of dread and foreboding. The sun setting and all of use exhausted from either battling mites, kobolds, or fire. It was at this moment when everyone was at their lowest Schmidtaki did something incredible. He walked up to Svetlana and wordlessly held out a ring. She broke down in tears and everyone looked on. She put the ring on and while crying tears of joy hugged Schmidtaki. This heartfelt moment struck a deep cord with everyone, lifting our spirits.

Despite Schmidtaki’s previous sexual overtures towards Svetlana he totally didn’t make the hug creepy, at first. While holding each other Schmidtaki whispering, in his most comforting voice, “who’s your daddy? who’s your daddy?”

After we had all recovered from this emotional event, we sat down to a dinner of bread and stew. The day was not over yet. Mitchel had a final announcement that he gave while doling out pints of watery beer. “Geronimo II, in the past weeks he has fought bravely for us. Just today he risked life and limb to save us. In honor of his selflessness and I have decided to release him back into the wild where he can spend his days ranting about how much he hates Maltese men and how he wants to eat Goosio.” The rest of the meal we spent feeding the great cat, petting him, and singing his praises.

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Raining Journal 01/02/4712

1st of Calistril, 4712AR

Mitchel started the day by pointing out that thanks to his little navigational error, we were all enjoying a warm breakfast. We all laughed because Svetlana’s breakfast almost made it worth it. As we ate, Mitchel was back to sewing together bits of leather armor and cutting other peices out of another set. When Chet asked him about it he replied, “I think I am gonna make bird armor this time. Ya, that’ll be the wave of the future.”

Afterward were getting ready to head out as stylish man rode into the trading post. This man was dressed in a finely crafted set of traveling cloths mostly black with red trim, and a pointed wide brim hat that matched the set. The hat looked as though it could use some sort of large feather to accent it. He was a somewhat blocky almost rectangular fellow, with mutton chops, a goatee, and a style and panache all his own. Riding in he got everyone’s attention but Schmidtaki was nowhere to be found.

The man presented himself and a set of papers to Kesten Garess, at this I, Mitchel and Chet began to introduce ourselves. He introduced himself as Aramis de Fortunas apparently a member of one of the branches of the noble houses of Brevory. We asked him what he was doing in the wilderness to which he replied, “I am hear as a member of a charter group to explore the region and put down banditry. Well I suppose I am being too modest. I am hear to lead it.” We were a bit confused as we told him that we were the group chartered to explore this region. At this point we began to examine each others papers.

Be it so known to the bearers of the previous charter issued to grant the right of exploration in the wilderness region known as the Greenbelt, they are hence forth to be accompanied by a agent of the Swordlords. This agent is to lead the before mentioned charter in an effort to address allegations of unnecessary brutality in their efforts against banditry and other unlawful behavior. So witnessed on this day , under watchful eye of the Lordship of Restov and authority granted by Lord Noleski Surtova 22th of Abadius, 4712AR , by the current Regent of the Dragonscale Throne.

After reading this addition to our original charter, Chet pulled me off to the side. Literally two steps away from Aramis and began, "Are we really going to just let this guy waltz in hear and take over. Listen this is a rough wilderness and he’s alone, maybe we should kill him. I mean I’m not saying we kill him, but hey lets not take it off the table. I looked over at Aramis, somehow it appears he did not notice (Perception roll 2).

Just then Schmidtaki appeared behind Aramis to introduce himself, " Hello, I am Schmidtaki Juicedice unofficial leader of this charter. Might I take a look at that charter of yours?"
Aramis, with his hand on his sheathed rapier, turned around slowly to face Schmidtaki, “What kind of leader sneaks up and approaches a man from behind.”
Schmidtaki, “Oh, I wasn’t sneaking. I just walked up.”
Aramis, “There are only two reasons a man approaches another man from behind and I’ll prefer not to be a party to either.”
Schmidtaki, “I didn’t mean you any harm, just…”
Aramis interrupted, “Sodomy is one of those two things, and the other is to put a dagger in a man’s back.”

At this point Schmidtaki just started at Aramis with a questioning raised eye brow. He then turned his gaze to the parchment carefully scrutinizing every line, looking at the signatures, and comparing its seal to our own. Schmidtaki failed to find anything out of order and with his curiosity satisfied he returned the page (Linguistics 14).

Schmidtaki then queried, “Well then if your the new leader, what is next?”
Aramis, "First things first, as I understand it the charter calls for a map to be made. Before we make any decisions we should take a look at that. "

After a few minutes of looking over the map and asking about our travels, boldly pointed at the map. p((. “East, we’ll follow the Eastern border of the charter and then follow the river. Fill in some of the huge gaps in the map.”
Chet followed up almost immediately, “Yes to Manshire!”

Again we traveled East and again it began to snow lightly. Aramis is a jovial man, as we traveled he made numerous jokes. Often at the expense of Schmidtaki. Seeing Mitchel tune his violin, Aramis asked, “You there you play, very good play me something.” Mitchel was all to glad to oblige. The music played and Aramis brought his horse behind Schmidtaki. He leaned low and to the side of his horse to scoop up a handful of snow (ride 7). While he did the the saddle slow shifted to that side. He tried to correct but the saddle continued to slid. Soon he was struggling to remain seated in the saddle that had settled in at about a 45 degree angle from right. The rest of us laughed at this sight and Schmidtaki finally turned to see what was going on. After another minute of chuckling at him we stopped so he could fix his ride.

We continued East and South and found the river and once Mitchel told us we hit the edge of the charter’s prescribed area started to follow the river Westward around noon. Looking ahead we saw the remains of a broken bridge. Of the bridge only one rope remains intact spanning the icy rapids below. On one of the post hangs an old copper bell. A few yards away we found the remains of a burnt down cottage.

Immediately, Schmidtaki and Aramis began trying to come up with away to cross it. And we all began to pile up any ropes that we each carried. After adding it all up I was skeptical that we had enough to rope to cross the bridge. Mitchel joined the endeavor offering to cast spells on Schmidtaki to help him swim and protect him from the cold.

After preparing the rope and readying the spells I again raised my concerns about how much rope we had. Then I asked how the horses would cross the bridge. But Schmidtaki was not to be dissuaded. Striping down to his shorts, Mitchel cast spells on him and Schmidtaki began to swim. He got down to his waist and looked back to tell us about how surprised he was to not be cold. While thanking Mitchel, the rest of us could see a dark figure begin to emerge from the water. An obviously long-dead man, flesh putrescent clutching dripping ranseur rose from the water and began to walk across the water towards us and Schmidtaki.

Schmidtaki once alerted to the undead creature, rushed to shore to regroup with us. The creature stopped some 40 feet away and he began to speak in a loud, eerie, soggy voice: “You are not my tormentors. Throw the Stag Lord’s body into the river that I may look upon his death, or join me instead.” We attempted to question the dead man but we could get little else out of him. “Bring me the Stag Lord.” “Bring me my murderer.” “Bring him to me, or join me instead.”

While we were shaken by the undead creature, it did not attack. We decided that there had to be better places to cross than hear. We made sure to be well away from the haunted crossing before we made camp that night, though I was still uncomfortable with how close we were to the river. As we set up camp, we heard a terrible cry from Chet’s tent. We looked over to see his tent covered in blood from the inside. Rushing in to help, we found Chet with a bear trap clamped on to his rib cage. He was trying to open it to set it. Using his body weight he pressed it open, but his fingers slipped and the trap snapped shut on his chest. Though the wound was grievous, he was able to heal him self with a few prayers and a little help from Mitchel. When everything was safe and whole again Schmidtaki chimed in with a question, “Why didn’t you use a stick to disarm it?” We all got a good laugh out of it.

In the night we took our regular turns sleeping. While half of us were asleep we were ambushed by another group of Bandits. Four of them began shooting at us as they mad their way along the rivers shore. Aramis was the first to notice them and charged forward to meet the enemy, while I woke our friends. Once awake the rest of us used boulders along the way for cover and joined Aramis. It seems as soon as I woke Schmidtaki he vanished.

Just as we thought we would have an easy victory, a second larger group of bandit attacked from north of the camp. I turned to face the new barge of arrows only to see Schmidtaki emerge from the shadows to disembowel two of the archers before advancing on a third. Mitchel held out his arms, with palms up and spread his fingers. He wiggle his fingers as if to imitate growing vines and every manner of frozen plant sprang to life garbing and clawing at the new ambushers. The third bandit that Schmidtaki struck retreated into the forest.

Then we quickly surrounded the ones tangle in the plants and shrubs. Mitchel ordered them to drop their weapons and surrender. They did, and Mitchel called the forest off the bandits. Not a moment passed before they took off running. Geronimo II charged up to attack one. Chet took to one knee to pray and magnificent dog appeared next to the other bandit and attacked him. We downed them quickly, even managing to take one alive. After searching the corpses, I began to collect the heads for the bandit post outside of Oleg’s.

We then turned to interrogating our prisoner. Chet, Mitchel, and Aramis did there best to intimidate the prisoner, as Schmidtaki questioned it. It was a perfect example of bad cop, bad cop, bad cop, bad cop. The man was sobbing almost continuously and began to rock back and forth. He may have seen me beheading his friends so, I guess we’d need to add one more bad cop. Schmidtaki, realizing he wasn’t getting anywhere this way, took the rogue into Aramis’ tent. Aramis protested, “Wait why are you using my tent. Wait are you approaching him from behind.”

The bandit sobbed, crying about how he did not want to get raped. Reassuring people is normally not Schmidtaki’s strong suit but he was able to get him to calm down a little. Between cries of, “please, please don’t rape me” and, “your going to kill me aren’t you? please don’t, no please” he actually got some information.

The bandit told us, “It’s hard keeping track of who’s working for the boss, so we use a master phrase as a sort of password to get in to the fort on the northeast shore of the Tuskwater. Unless it’s been changed recently, the current phrase is, ‘By the Bloody Bones of St. Gilmorg, who wants to know?’ And no, I have no idea who ‘St. Gilmorg’ is.”

“The Stag Lord? I’ve seen him but never meet him. He is scary and dangerous. Everyone in the Greenbelt pays tribute to him. So I pay then I get out. And if he doesn’t like you he’ll use you for practice shots and he’s a mean drunk. I hear his aim is even better when he is drunk. Me and a friend of mine were walking away one day after paying up, and then he shot my friend from 300ft. He was never the same after that arrow to the knee.” After we got all the information we could out of him, Chet executed the bandit.

Returning to camp we all switched shifts. Later I was woken up by the sound of battle. It was kobolds. The were messing with our horses and Schmidtaki was on fighting them off. There were only two of them and by the time I had gotten up, they had already been subdued. I was exhausted and did not stick around for the questioning of the little reptile. From my tent I could hear Aramis, asking the little lizard if he would make a good pair of boots. Meanwhile Schmidtaki asked where he was from and how many others there were.

Rainfall

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Raining Journal 31/01/4712

31th of Abadius, 4712AR

Today my tent was weighed down by three inches of fresh snow, the weight of it was causing the poles to bow. We broke camp quickly because of the snow, eating on the go. Mitchel mouth full was, roll in one hand and compass in the other pointed and grunted. With that we were off.

It snowed fairly hard clear into the afternoon. Mitchel snacking all the way, “Snow makes me hungry. I like to have a beer with my beer. It’s like desert.” Despite the snow we trudged on. An hour before dust, Mitchel pulled out the map and his various navigational instruments but he seemed confused. Again and again he played with the astrolabe, checked his compass, and rotated the map this way and that. Eventually and reluctantly, Mitchel admitted to us that the heading we had been on all day was taking us more or less straight back to Oleg’s. In fact we were only a few hours away, we decided to press on to make it back.

Rainfall

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Raining Journal 30/01/4712

30th of Abadius, 4712AR

Today I awoke to the sounds of shouting in the courtyard of Oleg’s Trading Post. Recognizing Chet’s, voice I sprang to my feet and rushed outside. I was expecting to have to break up a brawl but they were just standing around one of the tables looking over our map. Chet, “East, yes East! To the Woman less lands of Manshire!!!” Never was I more relieved to hear the unusual ramblings of my friends.

Joining my friends at the table, we decided to head out and fill in the Eastern edge of our charter’s map. The day’s travel was peaceful and uneventful. But by nightfall it started to snow lightly.

As we sat around the campfire Mitchel stood up proudly and held up a set of leather proudly, “There I’ve finished it!”
“What is it?”
Mitchel, “Tiger armor, in a pinch it might just work for a mountain lion!”

With that he dressed Geronimo II, who seemed somewhat out of his element in the armor. He looked up at Mitchel with sad eyes. Mitchel looked back to reply, “Ya, ya, I know its tiger armor, but it’ll protect your ass just the same.”

Rainfall

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Raining Journal 29/01/4712

29th of Abadius, 4712AR

Today our unofficial quartermaster wheeled and dealed with Oleg. We picked up our last order while Schmidtaki sorted out the details of a new order to get us war horses. His new found interest in animal husbandry stems from our most recent experience being ambushed and a make shift avalanche. In the end he placed an order for five war horses with military saddles, and Clerical Vestments for Chet (Desna). The order should be arrive 05/02/4712.

Mitchel was talking with Svetlana over another bag of moon radishes while I unpacked our last order. I was surprised to see a finely crafted maple fiddle. It was decorated with a gold leaf images of vines, leaves, and crickets. Noticing that his instrument had arrived Mitchel stopped mid sentence to gleefully take his violin.

As has now become customary we decided to talk to Jhod only after we were done trading. Its funny how little things become routine. He was excited to here that we had not only found the temple but that we had exterminated the bear as well. He asked us to bring us there. Schmidtaki was a distance away when Jhod asked Mitchel this but everyone could hear him groan loudly at the request. Schmidtaki grudgingly walked over and took over negotiations for the safe travel. Eventually we decided to take him there.

The rest of the day was spent bringing Jhod to the temple, waiting while he blessed the temple, and then taking him back to Oleg’s. The trip was made more exciting by Mitchel’s new found love of music. He played his instrument as we traveled, singing dirty limericks to the tune. Tune, if you could call it that. At the beginning of our trip it sounded like Mitchel was killing a cat. He kept blaming it on the violin, that it needed to be broken in.

At one point Chet took the violin away from him, threatening to break it in for him. But a second later he was back at it with a different violin. Chet took that one away a well, its string broke with a loud twang and vanished. There was Mitchel smiling, as he pulled out yet another violin from behind his back. This continued for a minute or two before Chet gave up and returned the original fiddle.

There was a funny moment when we first arrived at the temple. Jhod starred in awe at the temple at that moment Schmidtaki started, “Well here you are, see you later.” Jhod again had his work cut out for him getting Schmidtaki to stay while he blessed the temple and to get us to take him back. In the end I was very happy that we helped the way ward holy man.

By the time we returned to Oleg’s, Mitchel’s playing had improved significantly, almost miraculously. We entered the gates of the trading post to the guards clapping to Mitchel’s tune. He even made a few silver playing for the guards after dinner.

Rainfall

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Raining Journal 28/01/4712

28th of Abadius, 4712AR

It was awkward this morning to say the least but on a hunch from Schmidtaki we traveled south and ended up finding the lost temple that Jhod. There we found the Temple of the Elk. The thick tangle of brambles gives way into a large clearing in the woods, its border partially defined by ruined stone pillars. The western face of the clearing is dominated by a looming, upthrust ridge of rock, nearly 300 feet across and rising to a moss-topped height of 100 feet at the center.

The side of this towering boulder facing the clearing has been carved in the likeness of an immense elk, its antlers drooping down from its weathered face to frame a 50-footwide cave entrance. A flight of stone steps leads up to this cave entrance from the forest clearing—both the steps and elk face feel quite old and are thickly encrusted with layers of moss. A 50-foot-long oval pool sits in the middle of the clearing, its waters thick with algae.

From inside the cave we could hear the unmistakable roars and grunts of a bear. Taking a moment to survey the surroundings decided to lay an ambush near a fallen pillar. There Schmidtaki ended up laying bear traps but the fourth trap he laid down snapped shut noisily. Shortly after the bear showed up. Charging out the bear but must have noticed the unhidden bear traps because it avoided them all. Rounding the broken pillar the bear began attacking us.

The powerful muscles move beneath this massive bear’s brown fur, promising both speed and lethal force. As we watched the bear charge towards us Mitchel said to me, “C’mon Rainfall, you told me you arm wrestled three of these bears on that Dos Equis commercial!” As usual I have no idea what he means.

The angry bear was a terrifying sight and we were lucky to avoid most of the bears attacks. We managed to surround the bear allowing us to rain blows on it. The bear was supernaturally strong and the idea of retreat did cross my mind for a moment. Eventually, thankfully the beast let out one final roar and die on the spot.

As it died it made an almost human-sounding sigh of relief, then collapsed in on itself, transforming first into an incredibly old human man with a look of peace in his eyes, and then a moment later crumbling into a skeleton and thence to dust. At this moment, the entire shrine seemed to grow more vibrant and colorful. The water in the pool becomes crystal clear and began to shimmer brightly.

Standing their bloodied but unbowed, the sight of the now perfect crystal clear water beckoned us to drink. Drinking the cool water it refreshed and healed our wounds. We then turned our attention to the cave itself. After nearly an hour of searching we were unable to find anything of value in the cave. Before we left Mitchel and Schmidtaki filled flasks with the water from the pool. Leaving the temple we made our way back Oleg’s, arriving shortly after nightfall.

Rainfall

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Raining Journal 27/01/4712

27th of Abadius, 4712AR

Today started marvelously before quickly collapsing into a huge mess. I awoke to the smell of bacon frying in a pan. I emerged to the sight of Mitchel frying bacon in a large pan as Geronimo stared intently and licking his lips. I took a set next to them and began chatting with them. Mitchel began putting the cooked bacon in a bowl off to the side. Adding more bacon, he then ringed the pan with lumps of bread. Our normally hard and dry trail bread began to soften and take in the bacon grease. All the while the sun rose over the picturesque landscape on a fairly warm winter morning.

All of the sudden Chet’s tent erupted with shouts, “Where is it, where is it! Where is the SOAP!” We looked up from the sizzling bacon to the puzzling sight of Chet’s chicken being punted out of the side of his tent. Swinging his ax furiously, Chet shredded his way out. He turned to Schmidtaki, “You, you did this!” Schmidtaki stood there shrugging his shoulders, apparently washing one of the horses.

Clad only in his boxers, Chet raised his ax above his head and charged Scmidtaki. Deftly ducking the ax, Schmidtaki instinctively drew his blade and cut the dwarf in one fluid motion. Stepping back to avoid Chet’s second swing he again could not help but strike back. This time he landed a serious blow. Chet took a step back to uttered a short prayer ending it with an refrain that shattered the air, hurting but not stopping Schmidtaki.

At this point the shock of seeing our friends attack each other wore off, Mitchel and Geronimo joined the fray. “It must be a spell, an enchantment, we have to stop them.” I jumped up to stop Chet, striking vital points I aimed to slow him down. Schmidtaki fought his way back to the horses as Mitchel and Geronimo approched. As he saddled up Geronimo grievously clawed his back. He slumped unconscious in the saddle before falling to the ground.

After wards Mitchel and I tended to our wounded and tied up the prisoners. In this rare instance they were one and the same. As they began to wake up my stomach tensed with the memory of Mitchel’s interrogation techniques.

Mitchel began to examine Chet, “Chet are you ok. What is this all about.”
Chet "Soap, Soap, Soap, SoAp, Sooap. Dirty filthy lair, SOAP, I knew it was him and that TREE! The tree he’s working with the tree.
Schmidtaki, “I was just washing my horse, he got dirty. Then he attacked me, I don’t know why. I had to defend myself.”
Chet, “He tried to fondle the soap out of me”
Mitchel looked at me and shook his head, “Really all this over soap?”
I replied, “I am as surprised as you are. Honestly I though you would be the first to go insane.”
Having quietly slipped his bonds Schmidtaki stood next to me also shaking his head, “I know can you believe it?”

As he dusted himself off we asked Schmidtaki what happened. “I don’t know, there were some fay or something in his tent they stole his soap for some reason. So I followed them into the forest and they were diving up the soap.” (Bluff 29)
Sensing something wasn’t right I asked, “Who are ‘they’?” (Sense Motive NAT 20)
Schmidtaki, “More of those cricket people. So I snuck up on them, climbed up a tree, and them dropped in on them from above. Most of them scattered with the soap, but I ended up wrestling with four or five of them for the last piece of soap. I managed to subdue three. Holding one in each arm while pinning another down under my heal. Then began the negotiations. Through a combination of diplomacy, intimidation, and my quick wits I was able to negotiate the release of the cricket people in exchange for a piece of the soap. Apparently soap is real big with the fey. They love the stuff.”
Rainfall, “Ok and then what happened?”
“Ya so we all ended up laughing about it and the fey invited me for some tea and crumpets. We topped off the event with a little singing.”
Mitchel, “Wait so you sing?” (Sense Motive 7)
Schmidtaki, “Oh yeah I was well known for singing at the local taverns. Even taught the little buggers a thing or two.” (Bluff 17) “So I headed back after a couple of songs, but apparently one of those mischievous fey got my horse all dirty so I decided to wash it, so if you don’t mind I am going to dry off my horse before it freezes to death. You know those fey aren’t so bad after all.”
I tried to get him to add more to his fantastic story, “Interesting. So that’s what happened.”
Schmidtaki, “Yup, exactly. I actually saved the soap”
While I looked at him confused I said, “Ok…”
Schmidtaki, “Well that and they told me where the Lost Elk Temple is. Its south of here we’ll head that way today.”

Eventually we got Chet to reluctantly heal Schmidtaki a mostly symbolic gesture that I hope will help us put this mess behind us. We eventually decided to continue our travels and explore to the South as Schmidtaki suggested. It went well and was uneventful. When we camped it was a silent and paranoid night.

Rainfall

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