The Empty Village

Tirdas, 14th Second Seed

Just arrived at Nightstone. Been 3 days since I left Waterdeep with a bunch of ragtag ‘adventures’ that had been milling around Waterdeep that seem to be heading the same way. Joined a caravan as protection heading that way, some extra swords on the trip doesn’t hurt and I could sure use the extra coin. My order wants this relic delivered to the church in Nightstone, just a milkrun, but expected of my current junior role in the order. Nightstone is deserted! The village is a mess, looks like its been under siege by catapult for days, except for the giant tracks and the boulders aren’t machined. Killed some wargs and goblins on the way in. Gnome noticed something big is missing from the town square. A sweep of the houses has turned up very little except for a rather uncooperative woman, ‘Kella’. From what others in the group can piece together, she is part of the mercenary group Zhentarim, she’s packing a snake up her sleeve that’s apparently their symbol. She lied through her teeth and tried to run. We managed to box her in and cut her down when she continued to be unhelpful. She’s ended up in rope while we figure out what to do with her. Hasn’t helped her co-operation, the only thing we can get out of her is she has friends from her group on their way, four to six merc’s led by a ‘Xolkain’.

Thankfully I had the presence of mind to close up the drawbridge before we set off again to clear the southern part of the village. Gnome sent her owl up to keep an eye on the road. When we spotted some goblins goofing around with pumpkins on their heads unaware of us the others led the way as they move quieter. It was a trap by goblin standards I guess, though, but by the time I got to the fight however it was a waste, though - half the ambushing goblins were asleep and the rest were dead. Brains and pumpkin everywhere - I’ll have to ask the Ranger the story behind THAT longbow shot later. We’ve managed to get across to the keep that was sans bridge with some goods we ‘borrowed’ from the general store. Guards are telling us Lady Velrosa Nandar is dead, killed by one of the boulders dropped from a floating magical castle. Floating sarding magical castle! The same castle stole a monolith from the town centre. Couldn’t smell any moonshine on his breath, so he’s either a damn simpleton or telling the truth. Elves seem cut up about the fair lady.

Interrogated the goblins, apparently, the villagers have fled north to a set of caves there. Secret entrance that requires climbing, might be worth checking out. Rogue seemed a little too happy to slit their throats - I’ll need to keep an eye on that one. Cheif Hark runs the goblin.. what do you call a bunch of goblins? A murder? Along with the murder of goblins, he has Nog and Thog, two sarding orgres. Looking forward to cutting down some of the evil bastards. Bloody Nora! This trips gotten a whole lot more interesting for a milkrun.

We’ve decided to not take the risk of letting Kella go free so we’ve found her a ‘comfortable’ cell (isto es cellar) to keep her in until we return. When we get the villagers back we can either turn her over or let her free. Bedded down for the night to rest up before heading out.

Middas, 15th Second Seed

Feel stronger this morning somehow. I think the training Renald has been giving me on the religious magics has finally taken some hold. I’m starting to get the hand of this shield - I feel like I’ve gotten dexterous enough with it to be able to deflect more than just blows to my body. Worried that an Orge could snap some of my fellow ‘adventures’ in two with an errant step, let along a full blooded swing. I will need to keep an eye out for them and myself before the day’s through. I won’t be able to do it myself, so I should be thankful that I will have them along I guess.

Found 7 horseman at the gate this morning. Lead by Xolkain, saying they were mere ‘adventurers’. Sure. That’s who Kella said would be leading them, at least that checks out. Managed to convince them that Kella would be in the cave with the villagers - the ranger seems to think he’s pining hard for Kella. Not thrilled at lying about it but it’s too late to release her and we may need them to rescue the villagers, and we can leverage that lust. We organised a pincer attack with them leading the charge through the front and we took the way around the side. We’ve stumbled across the Goblin Hark in the cave almost immediately, with some of his goblin murder eating what I think was a human not that long prior. Most of the group made short work of the rats and goblins with It whilst I guarded their flank. The damn gnome tried to hide behind me during the combat - but when the Goblin chief rushed me she decided that the safest place would be clinging to my leg shooting off fire bolts left, right, and center screaming and cursing like a banshee, whilst I ate blow after blow from Hark. Not sure how I managed to keep my balance between the two, but we managed to put him down and move onto Nog and Thog whilst the druid went to investigate a door locked, from the sounds if it there was a townsfolk that might have been alive.

We arrived late to the fight and found that the ogres in a large, dark cavern, only lit up sporadically by the horseman’s torches. It stank and I could hear the whizzing of short bows from Lathander only knows where. The ogres roared loud enough to shake stalactites from the ceiling! They had managed to take out most of the horsemen before we even got there, wielding huge trees like they were clubs. We knocked off some archer sentries and I moved into face the ogre that was the most wounded, the one facing Xolkain. I haven’t seen one of the ruddy animals up this close since the wars, and I shan’t want to again! Rogue joined me after some failed acrobatics that would amuse me - if it wasn’t in the middle of a fight that could easily end any of us. The ogre turned to face me - I deflected enough of the sarding blow on the edge of the shield for my armor to deflect the rest but only barely. I’m certain that would have ended me then and there if I took it full on.

I barely managed to recover my footing before its next blow fell to cleave the rogues head clean off its shoulders - I don’t even recall getting my shield up to block the blow but I did and managed to deflect it. I’m not even sure if I meant to do it but I managed to call up the power of Searing Smite into my blade - the Ogre looked as surprised as I did when my flaming green blade bit into its hide and set it on fire. Between that and my shield work Renald will be proud to hear that his lessons and patience are actually worth it. The ranger joined us in what turned into a free for all on the Ogre. I can’t believe the damage it took, the Rogue got some perfectly executed blows on it and it barely even flinched, despite being on fire for most of the fight. The dancing flames gave the cavern an eerie, moving wave of light and dark to the cave that gave the fight a surreal quality.

I managed to put the ogre down with a fair longsword blow to the next, damn thing smelt like cow piss and burnt hide. By the time I got my blade out of it the fight had moved to the second ogre, which had a damn good go at rending the rogue’s body in two before he did some lighting fast acrobatic and a battle cry to end the second ogre. My shield will need some panel work before this is done. I will need to ask him the religious significance of ‘Today is a good day to die’, haven’t heard that on the field before. Considering how many fatal blows I blocked for him, I’m certain he’s not sure how close that statement was to truth.

Xolkain was furious! I had hoped to get back to the village before confronting him, but we had to do it then and there. We knew who they were and why they were there, and we had his girl. He was in no condition to disagree when I gave him the ultimatum - help us take the villagers back and shows us he could do good, and we would give him the girl back and let them go unharmed. The rogue found the villagers in an adjacent cave - and was promptly set upon by a horde of bats when he loudly proclaimed they everyone was saved. I was wrong about the rogue - I don’t think I need to worry about that one.

We barely caught our breath before the next wave hit, a returning hunting party of wargs and goblins. The rogue ran off by himself to face the new threat and was only protected by the gnome’s quick thinking of making the goblins think an imaginary boulder dropped on him. Rudding things actually fell for it, and even the warg looked confused - until the rogue broke his concealment by, either heroically or stupidly, cutting down a goblin. I called on Xolkain to assist; which he begrudgingly did as I watched the pack fell on the rogue and cut him down. The gnome got to him first to help him drink his healing potion but I’m not sure how long he would have lasted without it. We managed to take the rest of them out as a group before moving on to check out the rest of the caverns. 30 seconds after disappearing down a passageway entrance the rogue reappeared screaming and flailing his arms, with the gnome wizard lamely in tow. The tunnel lit up as she got a bolt off on something, but before she got clear a sarding tar-like ooze engulfed her, despite all I did to attract its attention.

The gnomes clothes were burnt away as the rest of the group wailed at range on this thing. I was hesitant to engage in melee but considering the gnome’s situation I couldn’t stand by, a move I immediately regretted when my longsword blow merely cut it in two. Thankfully the rest of the group and Xolkain took them down without further issue.

We rescued the rest of the townsfolk from their captivity and returned to the village uneventfully. Upon returning we honoured the agreement with Xolkain to return Kella, in exchange for his assistance. I made it clear to him the town was under my protection and ensured he left immediately with what was left of his group.

After helping out around the town and returning the items that we looted from the village. I must say I’m surprised and grateful to the party that they were willing to do what was right, but I’m eager to leave to return to the order in Waterdeep on the ‘morrow. I returned the relic to the church and thus my business in Waterdeep is done. We will rest up now the village is safe and under the town’s guards control.

Turdas, 16th Second Seed

Lathander came to me in a dream last night. It is minutes before down and the sunlight is starting to creep over the horizon. He is standing on a hill edge overlooking a valley, and I’m compelled to join him, to look at the scene below he is studying. He does not acknowledge my presence. Below in the misty valley just now being light by sunlight a stamped of people are streaming down the valley. They are running, tripping, falling, scrambling over one another. What are they running from? I can’t see from here the source of their fear. The sunlight breaks ovfer the horizon, washing over the valley below, getting brighter and brighter. I shield my eyes from the light as it washes out my vision. I wake to a hard floor in the guards’ barracks.

Morak does good porridge! The others shared a bowl with me before they wandered off to check out the Notary. I couldn’t tear myself away from the Inn until mid-morning, however. Found them much later with a sarding winged cat. Not entirely sure what’s gone down here, the place is a mess and these guys seem to be rummaging through paperwork with the gnome furiously copying what she can down. From what I gathered, John.. communed.. with the cat thing. It told them the giants were headed for a town north of here, Goldenfields. Apparently, the son of its late owner is there too. I’ve heard of it, believe I’ve been in the area heading into Waterdeep in the past. It’s a large farming community which supplies a large portion of the food in the south, including Waterdeep. Apparently, the giants left in that direction a few ruddy days ago! I left them to it and followed along with the druid John to meet with what’s left of the royal family here. With the death of Lady Velrosa, it seems the power now rests with Willhem, a 4-year-old child. Just one reason why Monarchy simply doesn’t work.

The elves seem to have been brokering a deal with the village and are expecting an envoy later on in the day to discuss terms. The elves have a problem with the way the humans are living, logging, hunting etc. The rudding child even convinced us to stay by offering horses to us to speed up our return travels, but only if we stayed and helped. Cunning blasted little rat - he’ll probably go far as a leader of the village. I’d like to be leaving as soon as possible to get a warning to Goldenfields but waiting for the horses will make the trip much faster.

John and a few of us brainstormed a few ideas to see if we could hammer out a diplomatic solution that wouldn’t kill the village with being unable to hunt. We spend the afternoon training the child on some basics of how to deal with elves and then split up to try and get the town into some sort of shape to accept an envoy. They arrived late in the day and thankfully the formal dinner went well. With some negotiating on the heir’s behalf and suggesting the child has an elven advisor for his tutelage, it seems we’ve managed to help them find an accord that will allow the town to continue being able to live and make some money, whilst keeping within the elves beliefs.

Thankfully we were able to slip away fairly quickly shortly afterwards, but not before getting the promised horses. Well set out immediately for Waterdeep and ride through the night.

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Last updated on May 23, 2023 12:02 +1000
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