23rd Uktar the Star Walkers Return

I awoke to find myself standing at the bottom of a hillside. Looking up, I could see the form of Lathander at the summit of the hill, dressed in full battle armour, his cape billowing behind him. Light streamed down from behind him, and I could do nothing but avert my gaze to his glory.

Lathanders gaze turned toward me, recognising my presence. His voice seemed to reverberate within the air itself as he spoke to me.

“You have touched the barrier between life and death. You have done this with my power, power that I have let you touch through your faith and resolve”

Laying my sword at my feet as a show of respect, he continued to tell me that he was pleased with my service, and granted me one question. Without looking up at his magnificence, I asked the question that I had only recently started to think could be possible. How could I redeem myself in the eyes of those that had known me before, regain my standing in Mirabar?

Lathander intoned, “When the night falls, some are consumed by it, and that dawn will not come again. Some that have been dwelling in the darkness will not see the dawn. Walk in my light and it will light your way”

As I started to rouse from this dream - or was it a vision - I saw Teisha and the children through the mist, happy and healthy.

I got up to find that it was breakfast time, and we had a new addition onboard, a clockwork mule. Lilli stood next to it triumphantly, explaining she found it in pieces in a box we recovered from the Giants lair. She also informed me of a message she received via magicks from Naxene. Naxene was scrying for Strog but had still had no signs of him, and she was sure that he had some sort of scrying protection.

Walnut, the treant that stayed behind in Grudd Haug, also reported that the camp was doing acceptably under its new goblin overlord, and Felgolos had been stopping in to continue putting fear into the others.

24th Uklar - 27th Uktar, the Star Walkers Return

The rest of the trip was reasonably uneventful. Other ships that came close veered away the moment they saw the mighty longship we had in tow. We had to work to keep the longship on course as it plowed through the seas behind us, but we eventually made it to port at Fireshear on the 27th of Uktar.

Arriving at the Fireshear docks was a experience in itself. The dwarfs at the docks got rather worked up about having a mighty long-ship turn up at their port. It took me going ashore to convince them to let us come ashore and get berthing for the ship, and assurances that we weren’t there to cause issues. Harshnag insisted on jumping ashore as mighty as could be, demanding access to the inns of the town to search for brave Dwarves to man his ship, noting that only Dwarves had the reputation to be brave and strong enough to join a Giant on his boat and man the oars. This got us into the city rather quickly. It really is true that the way to a Dwarves heart is through their pride.

After dragging Cyke and Harshnag out of the nearest Inn, we made our way to the nearest temple. On the trip, we discussed what to do with the frozen dwarf corpse we had found and made the decision to pay the hefty cost to attempt to have her resurrected. We couldn’t guess how long she had been dead, but we could only hope that a priest in the city was up to the task.

Parting with a lot of loot, we settled back to watch the priest work over the dead body, performing the rituals that broke down the barriers between the planes and called upon the soul to return. I could feel the energy of the spell tingle and fizzle on my skin, different to what I experiences when I reached blindly through the chasm between life and death to pull Lilli’s fleeting soul back from the ether. I knew that my hand was inexperienced and I had only been successful in the spell because Lathander had guided it.

Here, I could see a real practitioner work their trade, expertly weaving a connection from the corpse to the soul with ease, calling her from the years of wandering from wherever she had departed. The magic was familiar but yet so very different, not the same as what I could touch while connected to Lathanders power, yet oddly familiar in it’s difference.

Bailey Dain, coughed and shivered. Her eyes darted around wildly, and she moved like a old woman, frail and disconnected from her body. It took some time for her to relax and get comfortable in our plane again, back in her body.

As soon as she told us her name I was shocked. I of course knew of ‘Ragged’ Dain, the famous soldier of the axe some twenty five years ago. Indeed she was his daughter, having passed when the ship she was on was attacked by Giants. She hid in a box to avoid their wrath, only to find herself trapped. She averted her eyes at that point, her silence impressing on us her final days were something we’d best not ask about.

As we sat in the temple, the priest cleaning up after the ritual, she reminisced of her Father. Indeed, she insisted his best day was the day he left, siding with Bruenor Battlehammer all those years ago during his reign.

We informed her that she wasn’t the only one back from the dead, and she was thrilled to hear of Battlehammers return to Gauntlgrym. She was adamant on making the journey, so we said we could take her with us if we made our way there soon.

We retired to the Singing Manticore inn, with Luke slipping out quietly to check around the town. We had noted from Lilli’s journal that there was mention of a clockwork mule in it, a package that was lost in transit to one Elsie Hammaver. He returned, having found the lady in question, so with a clockwork mule and not much else we set out to deliver the package that had been lost so many years, presumably since the Giants intercepted the boat.

In the local trading house we found Elsie after parlay with her disinterested clerk, but as soon as she saw the clockwork mule all was forgotten. She was haughty and prone to emotion, but she was indeed grateful we returned this mule for her.

Her assistant coughed and suggested perhaps we should be rewarded, and only they did she realise we were really even there. We left with a clockwork spider monkey, with the intention of training it to be a fully fledged crew member. Lilli named it Gizmo as soon as she set her eyes on it.

We returned to the tavern where the liquor flowed freely. Considering we were all still alive and another Giant’s den was no more, there was plenty to celebrate. Harshnag loud and boisterous stories of our battles attracted many looks and it wasn’t long before he had the beginnings of a crew. We piled back into the inn, drunk as a dwarf during the Ghuregbuzramerag.

28th Uktar, the Star Walkers Return

Despite my best wishes to get to Nine Oaks with haste to search for Teisha and my children, the rest of the sarding group has decided to go via Gauntlgrym. The closer we get to my childhood home the harder it is to stay calm. I can feel Ironfang’s warmth at my belt as I dewll on this. Its almost like the weapon is alive, feeling warmer to the touch. And light! When I fight my foes with anger its almost as if it weights nothing, like the weapon sings on the impact with flesh and bone. But it is merely a weapon, a tool. I mustn’t worry of such things.

We skirted around Luscan about 20 miles away, plenty of berth for the township we thought. But alas, they sent out griffon riders. I was below deck when they arrived, but I heard later they spoke to Cyke who was manning the crows nest at the time. I’m not sure what was said, but the departed without incident after speaking to him.

It was only a hour after this that I found Lilli speaking with the others, looking guiltily at me when I approached. They had received a message from Naxene and were debating if they should tell me or not.

The little wizard gulped and avoided my gaze when I demanded to know what the message was. She caved, and revealed Naxene had been finally able to scry on Strog. Burying a wooden box at the foot of a oak in a stand of trees, nine in total. Apparently, it was as if he knew he was being watched.

I remember sitting with Teisha under that tree on one of our infrequent trips back to my little village after we wed. I was not certain they were still there as the Harpers advice on their whereabouts was not guaranteed, but Strog had been there, mere feet from my home.

My blood froze. He had tracked down my family. He had either found them or found their trail. He was certainly ahead of me, and if he had got to them first. Ironfang shook in my belt, I’m certain of it this time. Was it as hungry for Strog’s blood as I was?

Lilli had already gotten the ship to head directly to Nine Oaks. The ancient dawrven city Gauntlgrym and its legendary king could wait.

Cyke wanted to know more about what had happened between us, and I shared what I could with him. The barbarian warrior might have been undisciplined in combat, but his bravery could not be mistaken. Those that who would stand with us against evil in this world were to be trusted.

I caught up with Lilli shortly after and insisted that she get Naxene to continue to scry on Strog. She was being blocked again, clearly meaning Strog wanted us to see him bury the box. Am I walking into a trap? And if my family’s safety is at stake, does it matter even if I do?

Despite my misgivings on sharing the details of my dishonour, I rallied up the group and asked for their help. They would all stand with me. I would never ask them to sacrifice for my family, and hopefully it would not come to that. But they would back me tomorrow, I knew it.

29th Uktar, the Star Walkers Return

We arrived at Nine Oaks at sunup the next morning. There was less houses than I recall, clearings and stumps being the only evidence they once stood, except the town hall. It was a burnt out husk of its former self. Nine Oaks was always a small town of fifty or so people

Before we landed I reached out magically, using Lathanders will to see if I could locate an item in Strog’s possession. I found nothing, as did the others methods of searching.

The sight of the town hit me in the stomach like a giant’s punch. How many years had It been since I’d been home? The clearing the town was in was no different, the trees no older, the light and weather the same. If it hadn’t been for the torn down houses and burnt out town hall it would be like no time had passed since the last time I mounted and rode toward Mirabar from here. The last time I did was Teisha riding with me, her smile lighting up the world.

Strog had been here and defiled all those memories. The memory of the day she brought our children into the world, the day we wed, the day I last saw her smile were fouled, unlikable. My grip firmed on Ironfang and I now knew without doubt it contained some living essence. I could feel it wash over me, calling for Strog’s blood, no actually the blood of my foes. Any of them. All of them.

It was the little wizard that saw the internal struggle that was going on that grounded me, urged me to resit the rage. There was still good to be done, and no evidence my family had come to harm. Yet.

The group decided it would be best for me to stay on the boat whilst they went around town looking for Strog or my family. They door knocked, not getting far in the tight knit community but not getting an answer at our family home. John spoke to one of the ancient trees in the grove, finding and unearthing the box Strog buried.

Returning back to the ship, I gripped the box and tore the lid of it, finding a note from Strog.

Joyous Yule, Morath. If it is, as I suspect, you or your friends scrying for me, you will find this note. If you can be bothered enough about the safety and security of your family. I hope your reunion is everything you deserve it to be. Knowing you, it will be ruined and I will barely have to lift a finger. Think about your family and how close I got to them, next time you consider looking for me. Best wishes, Strog

Underneath the paper was a doll, marked by a foul stain. It hit me like a intense odour, and I recognised it as a plague. We burnt it immediately.

Being somewhat sure that Strog was not in the vicinity, we set off to my family home. I was met at the door by my brother Fredu. I was hesitant, waiting for him to say something, words of disgust, recognition, anything. I waited with baited breath for him to speak, and when he finally did, he wanted to know who I was.

Shocked, I looked down at myself a little. I was fully armoured in plate mail, elven and light but strong. My trusted shield hung off my arm, and the artefact Ironfang hung from my belt. The intervening years had not done wonders for the lines of my face, and my beard was as mighty as any Dwarves.

Of course he wouldn’t recognise me. It took me a few tries to explain to him I was indeed his brother, returned. He could not believe me, and looked me up and down, and then to the ragtag group assembled behind me.

Teisha, storming out of the kitchen, was quicker to recognise my voice. She nearly split me in two with her broom she had been sweeping the kitchen with, much less interested to entertain what I had to say. She was shocked to have seen me after all the time that had passed, and I had to convince her to let me talk in between her blows that rattled off my armour, but dug at my heart.

She begrudgingly agreed to talk, but not in front of the children. My eyes must have lit up, because she was swift to tell me I wasn’t to be near them but they were in the town. Praise Lathander! My family were safe and well, outside the clutches of the evil that had befallen Mirabar.

Teisha let me and Lilli in but not the others. She must have decided the little wizard was no threat, not knowing how wrong she was if she had reason to need to fight. I took off my weapons and left them with Fredu whilst he sat and chat with the rest of the group.

I sat opposite my wife, looking at her like it was for the first time again. She was as strong as I remembered, but the intervening years had softened the lines of her face somewhat. She still locked me with her piercing gaze, hair flowing down the sides of her face. She had always been thin but she seemed thinner, more wiry, alert.

She cut me off before I had even said anything, not sure if she would believe what I or Lilli would have to say. I looked away from her, leaving Lilli to suggest we try a Zone of Truth. She wasn’t convinced at first, but after the spell went up and I asked her to lie to me, she found herself open mouthed and unable to speak. Her eyes softened a little bit and I went to laugh at her expression, but she curtly ensured I knew where I stood in this conversation.

Where had I been all this time? How could I answer that easily. I launched into a tale of the time since my exile. The march out of town, the civilians I’d sworn to protect pelting me with with spoiled foodstuff and their own spit, stripped so bare little protected my modesty. Looking up at the in penetrable walls of Mirabar from the outside, the guards sticking their cocked arrows into my back to move me on, away from the town. They’d openly discussed killing me down the road and dumping my corpse for a time, but they didn’t follow through. At that point I think I’d have let them.

I told her of finding myself at a inn, stealing food and beer to survive, finding old clothes to wear. Having nothing to my name and in the company of the criminals that I’d protected against, I did not dare reveal who I had been. I made up names and stories to go depending on the people I around, and sold my sword to make ends meet.

She heard about the year of taking bad job after worse, sleeping in the barns with the animals or in the woods outside of town, trying to avoid the worst of jobs, the ones that would question my morals further than I already had been forced to. About my meeting with Brother Renald whilst he was on mission at Helms Hold. I had been passing through when I had met the Brother, who spotted me as I walked past him. He caught up with me, insisting that I come and speak with him, that I walked in the light of Lathander.

I ignored him of course, having no interest in religion or all-mighty powers. But he came and found me morning noon and night, until I listened to him. He regaled me with tales of the Morning Lord, insisting that those that would walk in the light would be offered rebirth. After a time, he offered me food and shelter at the Spires of Morning in Waterdeep If I would listen his teachings.

Anything was better than rolling in dishonour for any longer. Beer and combat had not cleansed the pain I felt in my spirit, so could trying religion be any worse? I could see Teisha’s face softening, eyes becoming misty at my honest recollection of my time spent lost, unwilling and unable to return to Mirabar. I entertained notions of returning to save my family in a blaze of glory, but we all knew I would be cut down before getting inside the gates. Returning by myself was nought but assisted suicide, and I lacked any resources to get in any other way.

She wanted to know, in a quiet voice, if whilst at the bottom of a tankard had I whored. The question cut to my very heart, that I would betray her like that. I cried as i told her that I hadn’t, that I wouldn’t, nay I couldn’t. She cried too, obviously relieved at my answer.

I regaled her tales of the time there spend in learning, my hunger for learning first being sparked and then growing. The countless hours and frustration of learning of something so intangible. The first awakenings of my spiritual instincts, the growing certainty that I was on the right path.

I told her of my mission to deadstone so long ago, before finding this group and the purpose we had. Brother Renald’s insistence that this was the path I should be on, the reason Lathander guided him to rescue me now a year beforehand.

I told her of our fights and victories, the empty town at Deadstone, the siege of Goldenfields, our encounters with Dragons, the Undead, the Betrayal at Deadstone, and our recent Frosty Welcome. Our mission to end the threat of the Giants. Indeed even here, she had heard whispers of the growing threat.

She couldn’t believe Lilli had killed a giant, that any of us had. The giant slayers of Nine Oaks.

My story done, she explained the intervening time. They had been kept under house arrest at Mirabar, under lock and key, guarded day and night. They were below even the beggars in the streets, without freedom. The marchion himself and Hislen even burst into the house, certain that I would be there, having returned to rescue my family.

They only got out when my three brothers returned to Mirabar to rescue her and the kids. Sneaking in and dressing as guards, they got them out with Teisha dressing like a guard also, The were spotted in the escape and Walder, lagging behind them was shot in the back by a guardsmen and killed. They had a plot in the family section of the Nine Oaks graveyard for him, but were never able to recover his body.

I lay my head on the table and cried, cried for my stupidly brave brother Walder, the fact that my brothers had to take up the challenge of rescuing them in my stead. I should be buried in the cemetery, not Walder.

She had waited for me, waited for the day I would return home. Why had I not come sooner? I had not thought I was worthy. I had thought she had hated me for what I did, for what consequences it had. For leading to their imprisonment, the death of my brother.

I had gone out that day in Mirabar at the orders of the Marchion to drive out plague victims, to save the rest of the city. And had returned, bloodied and having killed many of those civilians, having them delirious, sick and too far gone to understand their actions fall on me and my men with a mindless bloodlust. I had killed so many people that only months ago were my local baker, carpenter, grocer, friend. How could she ever love me again? I could not love myself from that day forward.

She had known something was up. The way Hislen stuck to the Marchion, the way his rein seemed to deteriorate and his word become confused and cloudy. Hislens rise to fortune and fame buy suspiciously convenient votes from the councillor’s, one that he was on.

She had understood, of course, having not lost faith in me on that day like the rest of the city had once the Marchion denounced my grisly murder of the plague victims. She knew something was stirring within the elite of Mirabar, something I had unwittingly fallen part of. She was tough and smart, the woman I wed. Why had I not taken the chance earlier?

She had waited for me. We cried together for a while, before she took my hand and said it was high time I saw the kids.

I felt my heart skip a beat when I walked into the neighbouring house and saw them. They were both grown up so much, Joanne now nine and Erik six. Joanne, recognised me, cautiously watching me for a bit before exclaiming ‘Dad!’ and running over to hug me. Erik, having not seen me since he was four, only waddled over out of curiosity after some coaxing, but fell into our embrace.

Lilli was deep in argument with a bemused Teisha, trying to prove that she was a tough wizard. Teisha must have said something about being able to handle her earlier, but I wasn’t really paying attention to the wizard at the time. With the crackling of a spell Lilli levitated off the ground and held Teisha her hand, flying off with my wife over the town in a clear show of power. I had cried harder that I ever remember doing so when I was reunited with the kids, but noted that Joanne was sick. Illiad was there, incredulous on my return, but I could see he was sick as well. It was then I noticed Joanne held a doll in her hand, identical to the one Strog had buried in the box covered in swamp plague.

When Teisha returned the kids were excited to take turns to fly, so we let Lilli taken them up in the air, one at a time. I quietly explained to Teisha what I’d found with the doll, explaining the plague sickness that must have taken hold. I asked for her blessing to treat them, and she watched in surprise and I used Lathanders will to cure Illiad, Joanne and herself of the plague with a touch. I cured Joanne with a blessing when she returned, and thankfully found Erik to be well.

Avoiding destroying a doll that Joanne seemed quite attached to Lilli brewed a pot of tea, and ‘accidental’ dropped the doll in the boiling water, sterilising it. We soothed Joanne and got her to forgive Lilli’s clumsiness, but she would get to keep the doll for now at least.

Whilst we all talked and I filled Illiad in on what I had been up to I saw Joanne desperately asking for more magic Trying to get her attention, I tried to call her over for another hug. But as she turned to me I saw Lilli had given her our endless decanter of water, the magic item that would with the right word fire water out of it like a cannon. Lilli told her what to say, and the decanter exploded with water, knocking Joanne over and nearly knocking me over. I stood, sopping wet, water dribbling all throughout my armour whilst everyone else looked on in laughter. It took me a moment to find the funny side, but it wasn’t long before we were all laughing hard, Joanne refusing to hug me because ‘Daddy’s too wet’

I messaged Arelosa during the day, asking for harper assistance for the town. I could not defend the people here and my family if Strog decided to make his return, and I could only think to ask them for help. The Inn, whilst in ruins, could be a useful base of operations for the Harpers, and having a harper asset in town would make me sleep better at night.

Meanwhile, the kids were riding Cornelius and having a ball, whilst Teisha and my brothers mingled and talked to the group. I did notice that Sialia wasn’t seeing eye to eye with Fredu, ill have to ask her what that’s about later on.

We heard that the village was suffering with its harvest. We could see ourselves that the crops were doing poorly, possibly due to the overworking of the soil some harvest ago. John took to the fields for some hours, returning to insist that the harvest that was due only tomorrow would be amazing, but that’s all the quiet man would say.

During the afternoon whilst we were resting and filling my brothers on what we had all been doing John confided in me that the trees in the grove had spoken to her of a druid being in the area many centuries ago. Whilst this didn’t surprise me, his name did, one Turner Khalid. None of us knew us to have a drug in our family tree, not in living memory at least. Yet a trip out to the older section of the town graveyard did indeed the existence of a Turner Khalid, living some six hundred years ago.

Its nighttime, and we’d better get some rest before harvest. I’m interested to see what John has cooked up for us.

30th Uktar, the Star Walkers Return

We were awoken by the sounds of excited activity, dogs running around excitedly, everything. We got outside to see John had not been kidding with his promise on the harvest. Overnight, every crop in sight had grown to fully mature and then some. We were greeted with thick, healthy plants which looked every bit like they had been cultivated in the richest soil with the best of care. Produce was ripe and abundant. Indeed, as the village looked on the people walking through the fields, the problem of getting it all brought in before nightfall seemed to be the largest issue.

To solve this problem, Lilli began to chant rituals and summon clockwork horses, seemingly able to make five or six of the constructs a hour from the ether. The entire village pitched in to bring in the harvest, using the horses Lilli summoned, their farm animals, and their bare hands. Sialia was notably absent, having taken the opportunity to go hunting. She promised she would return with something rewarding for all after the hard days work ahead.

I felt that Teisha and the kids had had enough time to settle into the idea that we were here that I called forward Morning to greet them. They looked on in wonder for some time, Teisha stammering and asking what it was. Morning may have had the form of a lion, but its celestial nature was apparent in its mane and coat with little investigation. Teisha gave Morning a hug, thanking the beast for protecting me on my travels.

It took us all the best part of the day to bring in the abundant harvest, the last clockwork horse winking out of existence as we all slumped into the town common area, stomachs grumbling. Sialia has returned with a mighty stag, a cheer going up amongst the hungry residents. Ill finish this entry up tonight before we turn in.

Feast of the Moon, the Star Walkers Return

I never finished last nights entry, as we were interrupted by Corwin coming running, having had a hit on adamantite via using the Rod of the Vonindod to scan the area. But he hadn’t detected any since arrival, meaning if we got a hit now something must have moved adamantite into the range of the spell. We hurriedly geared up to scout, and I insisted that Teisha get herself and the kids on the airship and be ready to evacuate the township if needed.

On foot we dashed out, and it wasn’t too long before we could see a dragon in the distance, and heard the noises only a giant would make. Lilli’s tressum confirmed the worst. Fire giants. A dragon. Goblins dragging a piece of metal, presumably the adamantite that we had got a hit on during our travels to Nine Oaks. And all coming directly toward the town.

What a sarding fight! We found the dragon and fire giants carrying adamantite, presumably the adamantite we detected on our trip to Nine Oaks. They were coming straight for the town before we arrived ready to stop them. The dragon was ferocious and hit us hard with its breath, but we managed to down the beast and its allies. It was a younger dragon, to our relief.

The goblins waited to see who would get the upper hand before fleeing before us as we claimed the day. The airship arrived not long after combat finished with the crew and Teisha of all those that could be aboard, having insisted to come along. We loaded the adamantite onboard for now and returned to the town for a much earned rest.

Arriving back at Nine Oaks coming on sunrise, we got ready for the dawn service. Due to being the closest thing the town had to a Priest, I was asked to perform the ceremony. Despite my weak protests to the fact I was not trained or ready for such a task, I found myself unable to refuse the honour. We would have a dawn service to praise the gods for the harvest, the last one before winter.

The townsfolk had already arrived in the cemetery as we got there, and I made my way to the front of the assembled crowd. I was unprepared on my speech and the goddess of Grain, Chauntea, was best to thank for the harvest, a deity i was only somewhat familiar with from fringe references in the works I had been studying.

Nonetheless, I gave a inspiring speech giving grace to Chauntea for the harvest, and still taking the time to encourage the town to remember the dead. The town had lost a few folk in the last year, including a old farm animal named Ol Betsy that Joanne pointed out mid service needed to be remembered for her sacrifice. We all had a good laugh at that, and i was quick to remedy my speed to include the illustrious animal. I noted Walders death and my personal sorrow at having been away, but did not call attention to the circumstances surrounding his death.

I closed the ceremony with a passage from Marget Cotte collected works on Lathander - ‘And when the night is darkest, in the places that have never known light; I will go with thee and I will burn bright’ I could feel the power of Lathander in me, speaking these words and conducting the ceremony during his holy time of dawn, and I’m ever more certain this is the right path to be on.

After the ceremony was finished and everyone milled out toward town to break fast, I spent some time at Walder’s grave, along with my parents. Ames and Abeth’s graves were well tended, and I saw Teisha give me a small smile when she noted my gratitude at the respect she had continued to show them even in death.

Turner, the supposed druid in our family tree was had a grave stone that was simply a tree stump with his name carved in it. I wonder what his life was like, and if we could ever find out more about him? Our family history did not go back far enough to help us. The grave was not marked with a family name, only the name Turner.

We were just leaving as two strangers turned up into town, who we invited to share the morning breakfast and harvest with us. We would later find them to be Meadow and Osborn, members of the Grinning Pony. We had heard of them, and as they were said to travel well and side with good they were welcomed into the town for the feast.

Fredu got into the food and drink quickly, emptying his plate before most even had been given their plate. We all drank and ate, sharing stories of those we had lost and reminiscing of them long into the day and evening. There was no clear break in the festivities between breakfast, lunch and dinner, and by the end of the day we had all spoken, sung, drank and ate with everyone that was present and exhausted our conversation and stories.

An archery competition was called, as well as the predictable terrible off key singing from those more merry than others later in the day. Lilli turned herself into an ape to show off and ran around the town terrorising everyone, whilst Teisha sang a song that captured everyone’s attention, upstaging the slurred off key songs that came before. I had near forgotten how beautiful the sung, her voice and presence bringing a tear to my eye which I quickly wiped away before it was seen.

Just before nightfall my harper contact arrived on a Ethereal horse, but we chose to save most of the conversation for the following day,

Sialia was out cold before the end of the night and as we stumbled back into the family house we found her passed out in a pile, with the bear Cornelius, Morning, the kids and Sialia all nestled together in front of the fire.

1st Nightal, The Star Walkers Return

The day was uneventful. We mainly recuperated from the fight and from the ale the night before, and got talking to the Harper that was sent.

Wesley, who’s name I embarrassingly forgot to ask earlier, was our contact from Waterdeep. He had travelled to Mirabar to come down south to Nine Oaks to respond to my call. Explaining the situation with Strog and my wishes to provide not only protection for my family but the town itself took some time.

Thinking things through, Wesley cast a spell on the house Teisha and my brothers lived in to provide protection quickly, and then the discussion turned toward long term.

There was a possibility the Harpers could rebuild the Inn and use it as a base of operations, which would mean more traffic to the town and a permanent presence. However, no titles of land deeds could be found, making it impossible for the town to grand land to the Harpers. Wesley said that the titles were with Waterdeep and they would look into it. Waterdeep used to protect and patrol the area but the activity had slowly died off over the years, now leaving the town vulnerable.

I spent the rest of the day playing with the children, taking Erik on a short hunt in the forest and chasing Joanne around the town.

I had not thought the day would come where I could be happy again.

Teisha and I spoke more of the events that had happened, and corroborated stories on Hislen. She spoke of him with as much venom and hatred as did I, and under the confines of her house arrest the few times she had seen him it was obvious that he had far to much influence over the Marchion. Indeed, he was not as careful with hiding it in the short time they visited her, obviously not thinking she was a person of note.

I would prove him wrong.

2nd Nightal, The Star Walkers Return

As much as I could forever stay here and soak up the people and atmosphere, it was time to get on. I dint believe the Giants would relax whilst we passed the time here.

I bid my painful goodbyes to the kids, my brothers and Teisha. A life of adventure and travel was no place for children, and I could not put Teisha in further jeopardy than I had already had. On the other hand, I could not leave the group that I had fought and travelled with nor leave the path that Lathander had set me on. Despite the fact that leaving after a few short days from locating my family safe and well drove a cold, icy knife into my heart, we had to press on.

We were packed up and on the airship before midday and after the painful farewells I stood and watched the town recede into the distance. Knowing that I would return as soon as I could was the only thing that kept me calm for the time being.