Journal Posts

Drathus' Journal
In search for my cousin Drathus, I stumble upon a group another cleric-mage. His religion is quiet strange. Why worship a god of adventuring when studying the wonders of Mystra is an adventure itself? I kept asking to review his spell book but he refused. Anyways while traveling with him I find myself in an inn where we happen to meet a fighter, a strange gnome(why he is in a loincloth is beyond me), another cleric, and a druid. Come to find out my cousin meet an unfortunate end along with a few of his friends.

While we were getting ready to leave, a boy comes busting in demanding someone to help him and his town we decided to go and help him. My traveling companion not understand the need of the child tries to convince the child to stay at the inn but fails horribly. We finally got under way.

During the trip, some genius decides to try to cut down a sapling while the druid is with us.....REALLY HOW STUPID CAN YOU BE? Never ever EVER cut any tree when a druid is present of course the sanity of the gnome is in question. While our companions are arguing over the sapling, I find some recently fallen wood and gave it to my companion which gave it to Mr. Loincloth. Me personally I think it is a waste of time to give him a stick when I think he doesn't understand the difference between the stick the maker gave him and the stick my friend decides to give him.

We finally get to the village. All but the inn was burnt to the ground.After ,pounding and screaming back and forth they finally let us in. It is a goood thing my master threw those fireballs at me or else they would have slammed the door in my face. After hearing there story, it got dark and hordes of undead started rushing in the doors after they blasted open the doors. After several turning and killing, we managed to push them back we thought only to have a strange rider decided to conjure darkness and fog. After several hours and few of us caught in the fog, we found out it was useless to fight them. We lost two townswomen to the undead and one died while we were moving her. The survivors decide to go the way we went and start anew.

We went to the tomb only to see it vandalized by unholy symbols. As we went inside it was a little difficult to get to the lower tombs at first. We found a poor fellow hanging above a trap door upside down. He appeared to have been tortured by being lowered into the pit where there were three zombies despite our attempt to kill them. We travel for several days inside having to leave the tomb only because we had several fallen comrades. During this time, we have encountered some interesting items and creatures. Two carrion crawlers who I read about but never seen and bunch of undead. Our fighter who only seems interested in himself decided to open the door with glyphs around it and gets shocked half to death along with my ignorant friend. Only to be facing 2 hungry pet wolves. GREAT.

We killed the wolves only and out we go again to heal our friends. Really. But our little gnomish friend I begin to understand more and more. HE IS REALLY CRAZY. But anyways, we get back into the tomb only to find someone has cleaned up after us. We continued to explore the tomb and when finally got back to the rune doorway the fighter had the same dumb idea but this time we used the rope and the gnomes STICK
along wit a few coffins.

Once inside we found ourselves before the same mysterious rider with more wonderful undead. We manage to turn his minions before he conjured his blasted fog again. Like a fool i went into the fog to join the fight only to run into an object and then into the zombies.
Once we killed all the undead, we realized the rider was gone. He ran during the fight the coward. We rested for a few days and went back into the tomb. My companion decide to turn the coffin like it was going to do some good. It actually did work.

We got a few good item from the coffin only to have the townsfolk to take the book and holy symbols from us. Good thing we didn't tell him about the other stuff we found. While resting found out, the the scroll case out of the tomb has a cleric scroll and the ring is still questionable. Of course my companion lacks the knowledge of magical arts. His lost. I gained 2 new spells myself. We questioned the priest about the other stuff but he is not sure on. We decided to travel to Hawksburg in order to find more information. But our gnomish friend has decide to create a harp in which we hope he stops playing.

While traveling, we came upon a caravan. One wagon was burnt 3 merchants hurt but no escort. After healing 3 of them, we discovered that a group of bandits have raided and pillage the group. The leader's (which we assumed that we were talking to) daughter was kidnapped. Of course, our fighter friend decided it was best to destroy the harp. Unfortunately, the harp sounded better when he hit it. SO, we decided to go rescues this girl. My companion try to use logic and think a horse can't be ridden in the woods was proven wrong.

Along the way, we ran into a pack of wolves. While fighting, our gnomish friend decides to cast an illusion spell to scare the wolves and sent us all but a few running. My poor companion ran until be pasted out. We camped for the night. We continued the next day and ran into two guys with weapons drawn. My companion decided to negotiate with the two guys. While he was talking to them, Our fighter decided to fire an arrow. Of course me being in the back not knowing was going on, I thought it was a bit much. Of course our gnomish friend decides to scare us again. When the fight was over, I decided to attack the fighter. After cast detect evil and protection from evil, I now believe that both the fighter and my companion (the blasphemer) are evil. (this by far is not over.)

After an arrow was shot at us, we decided to take cover. After chasing it awhile, I decided to shoot an arrow. No more arrows were fired. While running, I decided to go back passing the rest of the party. When we regrouped, we continued our way. We encountered a pair of boars. We killed them only to leave the meat to the wolves(what a waste). We went further up the road only to have the rogue find something in the rock. After he got it out, we went to the nearby corral. While the gnome decided to go check out the cattle, we discovered we were being watched.

Here we go again.
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A Change Is Gonna Come
The following morning, the three woke from a fitful slumber and entered the common room for breakfast, trying to decide what path to take from here with their faithful companions having been slain the previous night. In the common room of the Broken Mug, they met a trio of adventurers who had missed the call for the caravan escort from Thistledown by a couple of days (the very same escort where the original party had met) and which were now looking for other means of work. There was Blodae the half elf, who was appaarently a master of both the divine and the arcane, Dyran the elf, a hardy swordsman, and another half elf claiming to be a jack-of-all-trades - also named Drathus, interestingly enough.

As they talked amongst themselves, the quiet murmur of conversation in the room was broken by the sharp shrill voice of a young boy. This young man came running into the tavern, shouting and crying, running table to table begging for help from someone - anyone. Most of the tavern goers looked at the child with annoyance, and the innkeep moved to throw the boy out, as he was causing quite the disturbance (and she disliked both disturbances and - lest you forgot- small people). But the group of six waved her away, and with interest piqued, called the boy over to listen to his tale.

The young boy - Trevor Weylin was his name - recounted his tale in between sobs. He was caked in mud and obviously fatigued. He told the party he had run all night from his nearby hometown of Eliador, eight hours away, to seek help. His home was under siege by the walking dead!
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And then there was combat. Drathus was locked in battle with the large fire beetle, while Chance and Ragni clashed with the ants. The rest of the party attempted to lend support as they could, but the creatures proved to be entirely too powerful. The battle was turning for the worst. Gimble, in a last ditch effort to save them, cast a massive illusion of tremendous flame on the campfire itself, in an effort to frighten the insects away. The campfire seemed to expand to enormous proportions, becoming a 50 foot wide mass of flame! But the creatures were not daunted in the least, while it seemed to affect his party members for the worst. During the scrum, it had also become clear to Manwe that more than likely, the ants and beetle had been initially planning to square off with each other in a territorial battle until they had been interrupted by the party. He fell silent, realizing sadly that the balance of the due course of nature had been interrupted by the party's quick jump to attack. Torn by the laws of nature and the well-being of his friends, he was now unsure of what course of action was the right one to take. His confusion was quickly cleared however, as he saw his friends being cut down by the large insects, screaming in imagined pain and fear of the wall of fire they believed to be so real. Chance, Drathus, and Ragni all fell in combat one after another as the creatures overpowered their foes. And so, rather than be the next to perish, Gimble, Manwe and Neener fled the camp, leaving all of their belongings behind. They ran as fast as they could to the south, back toward Penarduin.

Approximately a half mile from the camp, the surviving adventurers crossed paths with a pair of hungry wolves. As the wolves circled the adventurers, Manwe cast an animal friendship spell and attempted to speak with them. The plan worked. He found out that the wolves were very hungry, and being the adventurers had left all of their belongings behind, Manwe advised the wolves that there was food to be had in the direction they had run from. The wolves believed him, and set off toward the campsite, leaving the three to run the rest of the way to the town of Penarduin unhindered.

Upon reaching the town, the party decided to try to get a room in the inn for the remainder of the evening, in order to rest up, lament the loss of their friends, and decide on their next course of action. It was here that they realized - they had almost no money! All of their treasure was still behind in the campsite. After explaining their situation to the innkeeper, she seemed to have a complete change of heart from the last time they had met. It seems the 2 merchants they had rescued had said good things about them, and the innkeeper now looked upon them as heroes. She provided food and boarding at no charge for the night, and the party took their rest.

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Ants Marching...
After our heroes managed to clear the goblin bandit raiders from the abandoned farmhouse, they managed to rescue a pair of merchants - as well as secure a very large sum of coins, which was assumed to have been looted from the various caravans reported missing. Our intrepid heroes then decided that the best course of action would be to lead these refugees back to Penarduin before progressing much further, since it was the closest city on a major trade route. And so the party retraced their steps to the bridge where they had initially met the bandits, and travelled the short distance north to Penarduin.

Upon reaching Penarduin, our heroes advised the pair of merchants that they could perhaps find shelter and food at the Broken Mug Inn, where they had previously visited (and previously been insulted - by a large woman innkeep with a serious dislike for the vertically challenged). They handed each of the merchants a small - very, very small - sum of coins to help afford the merchants lodging arrangements, and the party decided its best course of action would be to continue to voyage north, along the Trade Road, to the city of Hawksburg, to inform the authorities that the trade routes had been cleared and the bandits dealt with. It was here then that Arimanio and Mark Robertsson decided to part ways with the group, deciding that the life of adventure just might not be all that it was cracked up to be. And so our party of predominately short statured adventurers continued along the road to set up camp, rather than brave the wrath (and price gouging) of the Broken Mug and it's prejudiced owner.

A few short hours of travel passed, and night began to fall. Our remaining 6 adventurers decided that the best course of action to set up camp several yards west of the road for the night, rather than travel by light of the moon. Camp was set, a watch order was posted, and the party set into a night of rest, recuperation, and prayer.

During the 3rd watch of the night, Chance was disturbed from his routine survey of the camp area by a sharp clicking sound heard nearby from the south. Being concerned with the unfamiliar sound, he decided to investigate the strange noise. Traveling a short distance into the darkness, he followed the sounds to their source. Using his infravision, he was able to make out a pair of vague heat registers in the distance. Chance, unsure of just what the objects were (they were large enough to be animals, but not anything he had ever seen before in his life) decided to try to drive, whatever they were, away from the camp with noise. He took his pair of axes and clashed them together fairly loudly, in hopes that it would frighten whatever it was. And the plan initially seemed to work. The odd heat registers split apart from each other and moved to opposite areas of the forest, and the clicking sound stopped. Satisfied with his success, Chance made his way back to the camp, and informed the rest of the party of his findings. The party then attempted to try to fall back to sleep.

About this time, Drathus heard a separate clicking sound rising from the west of the camp, rising him from his slumber. Drathus decided to investigate the sounds to the west, but didn't have to go far to see the cause. Standing in front of him was a huge black beetle, around 2 feet tall, with two large dimly glowing glands on its head. Drathus immediately attacked the beetle, and on contact with the creature the 2 glands exploded with light, illuminating the area. At this same time, the sounds from the south were heard again, but this time they were much, much closer. Chance turned around to see two of the largest ants he had ever seen, their black carapaces shining in the moonlight.

Shouting in alarm, Chance and Drathus attempted to raise the rest of the party from their rest to deal with the creatures that were now just outside the radius of their campfire.
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To burn or not to burn, that is the question...
The night passed with little incident, save for a few goblins and hobgoblins that though it would be wise to attempt to take possession of our possessions. It was with little time that we soon taught them a lesson in good manners about not to wake up a party of slumbering adventures by taking possession of their lives. I noticed during the battle with these fellows that, at some point while I had slept, one of the wee ones that I had inevitability insulted at the inn had taken a small bit of revenge on me by switching my shoes to the opposite foot. While it was uncomfortable it was of no true concern as my shoes were of the soft verity and fortunately did not hamper the flow of battle to much. Had they been of a harder leather I fear I would have been stumbling all over the place while we were beseeched by these ruffians.

After the fight it came my turn to watch over the camp but the rest of the night passed without incident and I was greeted by the warm rays of the morning sun. After a preparing ourselves and eating a bit of breakfast from our rations we began to make our way up the path that Chance had found us the day before. After all with all these attacks on both the caravans as well as sleeping adventures I guess something had to be done eventually, and since we were in the area might as well be us. Especially as Chance had gold in his eyes and Ragni had Goblin rage still burning in his, I knew there was little chance of us finding something more productive to do, like planting flowers (I kid, but not really).

As we neared the end of the trail we came into view of a rundown old barn. We crept slowly closer and closer to try to get a better look at this old barn. It was an absolute nightmare. There was filth and destruction everywhere. The pigs had taken up residence here and had made it their own personal cesspool. In fact there was a pair of hobgoblins out now throwing another couple of buckets of goblin muck out, befouling the land even more. I very doubt that anything healthy could grow in what these foul creatures were producing. Their blatant disregard for the land helped fuel my current hatred against them for what they were doing.

Within moments of spotting these creatures Ragni decided that he would charge them (unsurprisingly). They split apart and we followed them down the different sides of the house, attempting to dispatch of them as we went. However this was not without some humorous moments, for one Ragni, a short little dwarf mind you, managed to heave his Morning Star all the way up to the roof of the barn with a mighty swing. Had we not been busy following these cretins to the front of the barn I might have been able to enjoy the actions of this Dwarf better, perhaps letting him know that if he ever grew weary of battle he might could become a city street performer (we all love to laugh at Dwarfs after all).

Eventually as we all neared the front of the barn we realized that we had raised the alarm of the ones still inside, and they were reading an attack, with archers at the windows and a happen glance of what appeared to be a rather large hobgoblin barking orders at the others. It was then that Gimble thought to try to live up to his name sake and attempt to burn some goblins by igniting the whole house in flame. Foolishly I agreed with the idea as the blemish of this house upon the land being eradicated made me forget that this house could indeed be the kindling for a whole forest fire, something I dare to believe I will never have to see.

However, wither it be fortunate or not, the house did not catch fire as Gimble tossed his oil flask. While avoiding the archers and attempting to throw a slippery bottle of flaming oil all Gimble managed to accomplish in setting on fire was a small patch of bare ground, as well as himself. As the house indeed had not caught fire we all began to make our own separate ways in. I myself broke out an unoccupied window and snuck into the kitchen, Chance thought to throw himself into a wall and then extinguish the oil fire with his face and the rest either kept their distance or broke down the front door and charged in.

After sneaking into the kitchen and seeing even more mistreatment and damage I began to lose my cool with these unsightly creatures, was there nothing that couldn’t be befouled by them? I finally had enough and I kicked down the kitchen door and rushed in to attack these dirty, disgusting goblins. For my lost temper I received a swift knock to the head. Luckily this brought be quickly back to my senses and I quickly retreated back out the door and began to hurdle my sling stones at them. Let those with more brawns then brains run straight into battle.

Eventually, though lots of bloodshed we dispatched of every one of these vile vermin, including the biggest hobgoblin ever, the obvious leader of this little brigade. Never again would these creatures and their brethren befoul the land, and the area around this barn could begin its recovery. After some searching around in the back of the house and the stable outside we found ourselves a pair of captives, enough gold to fill even the deepest of pockets, and (with my cleaver searching) a few valuable gems.

After all was said and done we decided to do a few things to help us relax after the hard fought battle. For example Arimanio decided to hurt himself jumping off the building, Chance dug around in some of the goblin dung, and Ragni smashed a hole in the floor. Once we were done with those antics (really beginning to wonder why I do hang out with some of these goons anyway, but no really they are nice guys) we decided to take a good break and collect our thoughts for our next action.
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And now I play a game of cards truly my world view has been expanded.
It would seem that my faith in Chance was… misplaced. It wasn’t but just a few moments after disappearing from sight that I began to hear shouting. It didn’t sound like there was any peril for the moment, but it also didn’t appear that we would be going anywhere any time soon. As it was the little gnome Gimble happened to have a pack of gambling cards on him, so we settled down to play a few friendly rounds.

After a few more moments things began to sound a bit more heated coming from the bridge, but there were still no sounds of danger. All the others began expressing various signs of concern or curiosity or whatever other motivations might be found, most others began making their ways closer to the scene at the bridge. Failing to see any reason to leave the cart, or the cards, unattended Gimble and I continued our game.

Our game quickly became interrupted as the inevitable sounds of battle began overpowering the sounds of the fall breezes and the babbling of the nearby river. All this noise was beginning to get annoying especially at the sounds of exclamation as if one of our party had fallen already. I made my apologies to Gimble for interrupting our game, and made my way over to the bridge to see if I could hurry along this fight any, or if I would have to find some new acquaintances soon.

Indeed I came into view of the area to see the last of my party jumping down to under the bridge to make battle with whatever needed to be killed this time. Seeing no need to join directly into the action I made my presence known as best I could and readied my sling. Eventually several goblins came into view and I helped dispatch of them until our party were the only ones still standing. After a bit of looting, it came to the task of getting these wagons across the bridge, a task that would take several hours of slow going across this old, dilapidated bridge.

Many of us took this time to peruse our own personal endeavors. The Clerics in our party began to make their prayers as to refresh their powers of healing, while Chance took it upon himself to scout the area. I myself set about to search some nearby wooded area to look for any useful herbs or, most importantly, a sprig of mistletoe to call my own. The mistletoe in my possession was but a branch given to me by Brenainn before I had left, which was most generous of him, but I desired my own.

After several hours of search I had yet to find any mistletoe, but I did find myself in a spot of trouble as I heard a far off sound. After listening closely I determined that it was orcs that I was hearing, and they weren’t terribly far away. I remained still and quite as to not give myself away as I was alone at the moment and could not tell how large their number was. Eventually they passed without detecting me, but I felt that it was time to return to the relative safety of the rest of my group, with whom I was sure must have heard all the ruckus those Orcs made.

Apparently no one else save the blasted Dwarf heard the Orcs. Perhaps I was wrong in my assumption of his hearing, maybe the noise from those blasted mushrooms had done some good and shaken loose the cave grit that had been in his ears. At this time the wagons had finished crossing the bridge and night was rapidly approaching. However as town was close we began to make our way there, even though Chance had found some tracks leading deeper into the western wooded area. If we couldn’t make time to dispose of the unnatural mushrooms we couldn’t make time to follow some silly trial.

The last little leg of the trip went without incident and soon we found ourselves in the local tavern with our reward gold. I was looking forward to a little bit of the local brew and a chance to comfortably relax in a safe lodging area. However as the innkeeper was looking at the shorter stature ones in our party with a look none too inviting. Indeed as I look around there is not a patron who is of non human decent, nor had I noticed any in town either. I quickly surmised that she was not very fond of the wee ones, which I found a bit small minded of her. To look down on other races like that was just in bad taste. After all not all of the smaller ones were dwarfs after all, only one of them had terrible misfortune. But I felt that it was my duty to try to sweet talk this foul innkeeper into letting us stay in for the night, despite her view of our little ones. Shouldn’t be too hard…

A little time later we were to set up our camping area for the night alongside the road. My mangled attempts to cater to the innkeepers disliking of the short ones had done nothing but gain me an exorbitant inn rate and the ire of said short ones. Perhaps they understood that I did not mean anything I said about gnomes and Halflings but it was just an attempt to win us a safe room for the night. While I most certainly did not mind the outdoors I knew it was far safer to take ones rest inside in unfamiliar lands. Thus I agreed along with my group that we should take watch shifts during the night, I took the last shift so as that way I could be greeted by the wonders of the morning sun. So as it was I turned in for the night wondering what we might be facing in the morning.
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Hey Love, I've made some... hmm... "friends" seem too strong a word...
Hey Natalia love,

How is the Guild treating ya? Ya know, I still don't understand why you got accepted as a cleaner(OOC: thieve's cant, think The Professional) and I didn't. All those years up on rooftops as lookouts for our brethren, and then you done up and clean three rooms and I get the boot, eh? Awww, shallow water under the bridge, sweetie, it don't bother me no more. I'm gonna needle some though - wouldn't be Chance if I didn't, eh? I was better at the door cleaning and spottin' then you ever was, anyways. You keep your razor broom and catch all the dustmites - I'll stick with me white glove to make sure nothing's left behind.

But I guess I won't eh? It's hard leaving it behind, hun. Just the other day, I ran into this batty witch of an innskeeper--reminds me of you on your bad days. I swear if I coulda pulled out my door drill then, I woulda unscrewed her head 'cause it obviously weren't ticking right. Here I come strolling in the door, pouch FULL o' gold (I'm the treasurer of the group, lass, I didn't steal it. Really! I didn't steal it, I swear! I shared it fair and square amongst everybody! Nobody had the common decency to die so we could get more but that's their rudeness, not mine. Maybe I shoulda let Ragni charge out without me a couple more... no, no, that just ain't right by me, Natalia, no matter how much my greed prods me. Anyways...) just waiting to start chucking it her way--the gold that is, and she sneers! Sneers! The gall of the woman! What right-thinking woman sees a man ready to spend good, hard-earned gold at her establishment and does everything possible to shove 'em out the door! The nerve of the woman--no business sense I tell ya, no business sense. Anyways, I weren't just finding bedspace for myself, oh no, we had to have enough for all eight o' us (can you believe it? Me, running around with 7 other loud, clompin' buffoons? Heh, I can hardly believe it myself. Eh, I'll tell ya later about them), so I hand off the gold (can you believe it! Me, handing gold out so someone else can spend it! I tell ya woman I'm a changed man) to Mark to get us rooms and step back outside. Mark's a good'un--got pointy ears without the long-lived sense so I was wary at first, but he's proved himself on the same page and Code as me too many times. He talks to the right guy in the sky, never thought I'd meet a halfie so smart. I go outside and take care of Mark's horse, but by the time I get back inside the whore is STILL arguing with everyone. Now that no-good backstabbing Drathus, he be spouting off smelly shite just so he can have his own personal comfort, screw everybody else, da bastard (remind me in your letter to apologize to him, luv. He done treat me right and healed me up, but I'm still pissed at the words I heard coming out of his mouth while we stood around that inn). I'm glad I gave Mark the money though - he stood up and wouldn't take no gruff from everybody else, nor her, and we wasn't handing her no gold. So I let off on how the world smelled from my point of view, and hers weren't pretty, I tell you that.
We ended up moving outside of town that night, and got ambushed for it by a bunch of hobgoblins. I tell you sweetie, never in my life have I wanted to go tramping back into town, taking her till and leaving a hobgoblin head as payment in the tillbox and the stew. Woulda served her right, but wouldn't serve ME right, ya know? We followed the hobgoblins home - they had set up a pretty good protection toll racket, I do say so myself, at a bridge between Thistledown and Whoredom(I don't remember the stupid bitch's name, the inn, or the town, alright? Quit laughing at my memory), but they made the mistake of eating too many of the right-paying crossing merchants. Gotta worry about money, or the stomach - can't solve both at the same time. Oh, that's why me and crew gathered in the first place. Some merchant offered to pay us good money to escort him 3 hours. Sounded like a sweet deal, until 8 people showed up, the greedy bastards. AND he never once said it was gonna take 8 frikking hours to cross a bridge! Bah, I'm getting meself worked up again. Anywho, we tracked the hobgobblies back to a broken house they had taken over and hit paydirt! Made out with a little bit more than what you make after a simple cleaning job, and that's after we split it up 8 ways! How you like your little munchkie now, huh? Ha!
So anyways, my new friends. Eh... that hurts just to write and call 'em that. My new... meatbags. Too harsh. Luv, what should I be calling these buffoons? Anyways, they're half a barrel short of a good pony keg, if you get my drift. What's the point of calling me a scout and letting me go first if the first thing you do after I get back is go charging forward and IGNORE everything I just said? I may just start scouting behind them - then it'd make sense that I'm the scout and I'm behind them. Morons.

Mark - Well, he's got a right thinking head on his shoulders. He follows Tymora (OOC: please correct me if I'm wron so I can fix) and has fixed me up a good number o' times after I had to go charging in to save someone's butt from the fire. Got to the point where Mark was charging in with Ragni just to help out. AND, like I said earlier, he had me back at the bitch's place. I like him. He knows when to pull out and nock some feathered fingers of death, and when to grab the big hunkin' screaming mirror of killing out from his sheaths. I'm thinking he's the only one who knows the difference between the two. A damn fine cleric with a blade. (Adding this later - alright, I'll admit, Drathus knows the difference too. I still put a better brain on this man's shoulder's than the other idiot halffie any day though).

Ragni - Ragni. Ragni Ragni Ragni. Oh so poor Ragni. The fool is gonna die one day very soon. And I get the feeling he's going to drag some of us with him. He chose the name "BattleCharger" for himself. Thought he was calling himself a horse, but he was just outlining his battle plan for everyone right off the bat. Wish I'd known or realized that. I have yet to see him EVER hesitate to draw blade and go tearing forward--wait, wait. Yes, I take that back. He didn't go charging forward ONCE--the one time charging forward was warranted and I had to yell at him to charge. 'Course, I didn't need to yell twice. Two buffoons had gone running ahead of me after I told the group to move up and wait at the edge of a bridge with arrows drawn since we had seen the gobblies duck underneath. I would flush them out and everyone else could pepper them. Turns out "MOVE UP AND WAIT" means "you're flushed out! Run forward so you can get hit with their arrows! Run forward into their fire!" Arimanio and Drathus got pegged; Arimanio managed to make it back but Drathus dropped like a stone. I yelled at Arimanio to go back and take care of Drathus since he was closer, and pulled my axes to keep them gobblies under the bridge occupied. For once, Ragni didn't go running forward until I pointed at him and yelled, "Come on!" 'Course, then he practically outpaced me to the bridge. So there we was, me and Ragni and Mark (good ole Markie, charging in with sword too. I told you he's a goodie. I don't even think of him as a dirty halffie no more) trying to keep 3 gobblies and 4 hobgobblies busy. We kept dropping, but Mark and Chickie kept us fit, and we knocked dem gobblies down. I can't tell you how blessed we are to have Mark and Chickie (and yes, even Drathus) around. I wouldn't be writing this here letter if we didn't. Anyways, every other time we encountered ANYTHING there Ragni is, getting in their faces and swinging his morningstar. And it wouldn't be so bad, sweetcheeks, if anybody else could form a line with him. But Drathus and Manwe always have bow and sling pulled, and no matter how much I want to throw Gimble up front he is pretty good with those darts three steps back. So who gets stuck making sure Ragni's not swarmed and letting by hobgobblies to attack Gimble? That's right, me and Mark again. YOU KNOW HOW MUCH I HATE FIGHTING UP FRONT AND I BLAME THIS SHORTIE RIGHT HERE. ...Other than that, Ragni's not so bad.

Arimanio - This guy spouts a LOT of mumbo jumbo, and he's got a lot to learn about the world, sweetie. He's so naive I just want to pet him and tell him it's okay. He calls himself a monk and a guard, and then shows up with no armor and weapons. Excuse me, he shows up with a stick. A stick! I mean, seriously? Seriously? You're gonna face me down with a stick. Ha! I be the first to say he's got fast hands, but I've got a faster blade with your name on it when it comes down to it. (It really does have your name on it, Natalia. I miss you and I can feel you with me everytime I grip it). On the brighter side, he learns from his mistakes. He moves ahead without cover, and he gets hit with an arrow. Guess what? He don't move forward anymore without ducking down and looking for cover, that he doesn't. I'm just hoping he can make it through all of the mistakes life throws at him. From what I can tell based on his movements while setting up camp, we may have kinship in mannerisms, if not at least in mindship. I wonder if he's ever cleaned a door and chest before? He probably pulled out whatever's inside and left it on the owner's bed. Moron.

Drathus - He swings a sword. Fires a bow. He "claims" to cast spells and he keeps holding up his "magic" book, but all I ever see him do is heal us with prayer. Okay, so he's healed me too. And he's willing to heal anybody. But the boy can't make up his mind what he wants to do, and he's just as bad about what weapon to use! Son! Pick a weapon and stick with it! If you want to go charging forward ahead or seperate from everyone else, a bow don't cut it when four of 'em are charging back at you! Stupid idiot mouth shit halffie. I don't wanna get started on him now.

Gimble - Gimble's our gnome and the only one shorter than me. He throws a mean dart, but it helps when you're throwing two or three more times than anyone else. He says he's an illusionist, but the only illusion I've seen is him and his cards taking gold off the monk that Arimanio doesn't have. He calls himself a "Goblin Burner" - well, I've definitely seen he's a lot faster and willing to burn anything without thinking about it. I'm sorry, I don't like my gold and silver to be a giant, melted pile of slag. And everyone says they have a problem with ME and MY mouth - have they heard the curses this boy spits? I mean, don't get me wrong, they're good curses. I wrote a couple down so I could use 'em another day, but he's definitely willing to stick his willie in places I don't think a willie should ever go. That's how crazy he is.

Manwe - I have never met a Druid before. He seems an alright sort. His stones have saved me from a jam or two after I had to rush forward (stupid shortie dwarf). He talks some weird shite like Arimanio, but definitely more world-weary. Actually, very world weary. I ain't never seen no pointed one be so ready to give up on everyone in the world. I hope I can restore some of his faith o' people so he can have more friends than just the ones in the trees. It's good to have someone who can actually talk back to you.

Shut up woman! I weren't talking about you! Back to the kitchen and make me a stew 'afore I raise my other hand! :D

Yeah, yeah, as if I could reach. I do know what is at my eye level and grasp though, heh heh. Oh, if only you were closer.

Chickie - Ya know, I plumb forgot her name. I been calling her Chickie, and I think Rose once 'cause she smells like one (trust me hon, she's the sweetest smelling of the bunch). Chickie is what I call a Cleric Extraordinare. Unlike most smoothskin humans, she knows her rightful place. She stays in the back, keeps us on our feet, and is always ready with a clean bandage and a soothing word, but I ain't never heard her talk back once to Ragni or Mark or I when we yell for her. She's a good young sot, she is. Maybe she's just biding her time and getting a handle on our mettle before she tries to meddle. Hmm... would you meddle with us, Natalia? Are you devious enough to wait long enough so we relax our guard? Yes, yes, I think you are, and I'd better keep a closer eye on Chickie now that I think about it. That's right sweetie, you've made me suspicious of anybody without a freehanging third arm now.

Chance - I met this great, lovable, funny halfling too! He sneaks around until you lose sight of him and then, BAM! Surpise! He pops up behinds you with a jumping bear hug! He's the greatest, and always has a joke on his tongue. Okay, so it's a mite sarcastic the tongue is, but you'd think he's funny, right sweetie? What? You said you've met this fine, upstanding short member of society? Oh no no no, sweetie, no you haven't. I don't think we're talking about the same Chance. He doesn't go crawling through windows or rifling through drawers, this one doesn't. He follows the CODE -
1) Know your place and your skills. Don't say you can do something when you can't - you never want to take the place of someone better and more likely to get killed.
2) Save others so they will save you.
3) Don't cheat your mates - you don't know who has what friends.
4) If you still fall behind after being helped, then you get left behind. No one wants a whiner or a bleater, so be silent and keep up.

Sorta starting to wish our old Guild did this, maybe we wouldn't be so scattered now after being adopted by the cleaners. Oh wait, Chance wasn't adopted, just you. You'll just have to be my friend I can call on in case anyone tries to cheat me, eh? Hmmhrmm... I mean, this great stupendous halfling fellow Chance's friend. You want to be Chance's friend, right? :)

Seriously Natalia, I miss ya. I'll make enough and come back and buy that indenture off of ya, I swear. Then you'll be my slave servant and wouldn't that be an interesting night? Heh heh. Keep safe, be good, be quiet, and don't let the dogs (OOC: more Thieves Cant - Dogs = Guard, police) bite. And always remember - after cleaning the shutters, look DOWN to make sure you know what you're stepping into! Wouldn't want another incident with a vase, would we? :)

With love,

Chauncey Shortstrider (Halfling extraordinaire! Ha!)

P.S. Have you ever tried using those grappling hooks you got made as a weapon? I tried sinking it into the back of a kneecap so we could string somebody up, but it didn't work. Wondering if you've ever had similar thoughts or success.
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What room has no walls and is freaking loud? Shriekers
When I arrived at the caravan in Thistledown I was rather surprised to see just how varied the adventurers who came to heed the call were. While I was the only full-blooded elf there were two half elf’s present; Mark Robertsson a Cleric who was also skilled in the ways of fighting and DRathus who showed the marking of one well versed in skills of all types including that of healing, fighting and the magical arts. Also present were two humans with backings similar, yet very different, from my own. Arimanio who hailed from an order of monks, and the female cleric whose name I have yet to catch as I am unsure I have ever hear her say a word. All four of these fellow companions I feel most comfortable with as each one comes from a holy or similar backing of some kind.

However the remainder of the group I am a little less familiar with as each one is uniquely different from the other. There is a Halfling named Chance who’s name I surmised is the chance that he might quiet down at some point. His profession is that of a thief; however he appears to be a very noble and I feel that it is not necessary to guard my valuables around him if I am to be in his party, but only if I am to be in his party. Secondly there is a Gnome who goes by the name Gimble "goblin burner" Turen who appears to be slightly on the unstable side, doing whatever he wishes whenever he wishes. He reminds me a little of my half brother, but not as unpleasant. Oh there is also a Dwarf. (One must wonder what it is like to be a dwarf, to wake up every day to the disappointment that you are still indeed a dwarf. It must be dreadful.)

Eventually the caravan began its track to the nearby town of Penarduin and our group worked up a protection order of the four wagons. At first there was little excitement along our journey but as we were getting nearer to the river I began to notice a noise most particular. I made mention of it and several others began hearing it as well. At the same time Chance, who was scouting ahead came to inform us that there were some small figures at the bridge, but being that he also heard the sound and that the small creatures were not yet aware of our presence he decided that he would go and scout for the unnatural sound’s source. Listing closely I was able to let him know the direction and distance the source should lay.

Several moments passed and eventually Chance came back into view keeping his distance between himself and a couple of what appeared to be ugly hobgoblins. Shortly thereafter a fight broke out between us and these brutes. Wanting to shed as little blood as possible I tried to warn these two to back off, or else we would be forced to dispatch of them. My all my warnings were ignored and the fight continued until one of the pair lost his life and the other began to beg for mercy. As neither harm had come to my person, nor did this creature seem intent on doing any harm to other then to road side travelers, I felt no need to end his life myself. However most of my party was in disagreement with that, especially the Dwarf Ragni BattleCharger who in turn decided to foolishly give chase to the much faster Hobgoblin. It was rather comical to watch the little angry man try to catch the now running in fear hobgoblin. Like those stubby little legs could carry him nearly that fast.

After the battle I joined with several others to go and exam what Chance had found in his search for the eerie sound. As we were walking he told us about the giant sized mushrooms and the loud sound they made the closer you got. When we approached and saw them I was taken back, these things were not natural to this environment. I was fearful what effect this could have on the local ecosystem, throwing off the carefully balanced rhythm of the area. However the dwarf spoke up at this point that he knew of these mushrooms from his time underground. He told as how they are called Shriekers and are normally found underground, and how they are used as an alarm system to some inhabitants. Frankly I no longer trust the ears of this dwarf as I never would have forgotten the sound that these vile mushrooms make even and would have recognized them even from the distance of the caravan.

I still wished to remove these atrocities from the area, before they could a significant impact, but the others disagreed as we were still over watch of the caravan and we would have no idea what messing with the mushrooms would mean for us. Begrudgingly I agreed as even though simple contracts are trumped by the immediate need to preserve nature, I was fearful that I would be unable to deal with this problem alone. So we returned back to the caravans and, and at the prompting of Chance moved closer to the bridge, forgoing stealth as we had been heard during our fight with the hobgoblins. Once we were closer to the bridge, but still out of view of the small creatures there Chance moved forward to speak with them. Perhaps this was a mistake as I am unsure as to how well his skills of a negotiator are, but I’m sure he will do nothing to directly antagonize them…
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Prologue: Time to Make Like a Tree and Leave
Just over a full moon cycle ago my druid leader, Brenainn, suggested to me that it was time for me to expand my world view, to branch out and grow in knowledge and experience. Having lived most my entire life within the confines of our forest I was very unfamiliar with everything that Banalt had to offer in these terms. Brenainn also confided in me that he felt in me a strong presence that I might one day become his equal, if not superior, but only if I went out to explore and learn more of our natural world.

So with a heavy heart I began making plans with my friend the Halfling Hayden Yew, who was to accompany me on my journey. Our plan was to go to the nearby city of Orisa where we would meet with one of the major trading caravans. We hoped to maybe perform services to the caravan to allow us passage, but we did have a few gold to spare to help provide us with the safety and travel we required.

Apparently the gods chose not to smile upon us with good fortune as the day of travel first broke light. Hayden had come down with a mysterious sickness and was undergoing study and treatment from some of the other druids. As time was short to try to get to the city and still hope to be picked up by a caravan I had to make a decision. Stay with the forest and not expand my world view and knowledge it or forge into the unknown alone. The decision was made and now I travel alone.

Upon arriving at the city it was very easy to find transport on a larger caravan that was heading south, down through Amber Heath to the coastal towns therein. Their cook had been killed by a goblin that had snuck in during the night to procure himself a feast along route to Orisa. Thus the caravan was in need of a replacement. Being that I was willing to work for nothing save the transport and food along the way I was picked over several others, although there were some complaints from some of the merchants that we would be feasting on nothing but vegetables the whole trip (which was untrue, I planned to fix up some fruit dishes as well).

While the trip in itself was not very eventful as this was a larger caravan and there were extra hired guards due to the late cooks untimely passing there was ample protection from all ambushes along route. However I still witnessed many things I had never before encountered, both on travel and in our town and city stops. Included in my new experiences was that of dealing with Dwarfs. While I most certainly had known of them and seen them before, never had I never actually dealt with them before. They were quite rude and abrupt little fellows, seeming more keen to rush angrily into anything then ever give pause to think about their actions. I most certainly hope that if I ever have to deal with any of these small angry men on a regular basis, it might be with a slightly more level headed one, though I have little hope such dwarfs exist.

After having crossed about halfway between Orisa and the far southern sea’s I believed that it was time for me to leave this caravan and begin truly finding my own way. As we stopped in a small town called Thistledown I made my leave from the caravan and was allowed to take some of the food as the wagon master had viewed me of good service. He also rewarded me with the sword and bow of the late cook. So thus I ended up with over a fortnight of raw food goods in addition to what I already owned and weapons that I had no idea how to properly use myself. I had planned to trade these items for ones more useful in town, but then I heard word that another caravan would soon be leaving that was in need of adventures to help them take safe passage to another nearby town. Seeing this as an opportunity to learn and see more I decided to make way to this caravan. And what an adventure awaited me when I arrived at this caravan...
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A Fungus Among Us, and a Bridge Over Troubled Water...
Before the caravan would get back on it's course, there was still the whole issue of the large, whining mushrooms off to the east side of the road which both Chance (on his initial scouting) and Arimanio (after giving chase to the injured hobgoblin) had seen, but had been unable to identify. The remainder of the party - sans the preoccupied gnome and the cleric, which had been left behind to watch over the caravan; and the halfling, who would continue watching the activity at the bridge from a distance - ventured to the area where these unusual fungi had been noted. As the party neared and the growths came into view, the whining sound seemed to get louder and louder a dizzying din. Ragni Battlecharger then breathed in a sharp breath and barked a curt warning to the party. By sound alone - given the current environment - it had not been immediately obvious to him what these things were; and since they were not often witnessed above ground, the possibility honestly had eluded him. But once the large purplish colored fungi came into view, he managed to put two and two together, and recognized immediately what they were dealing with. Shriekers. Ragni knew these were often grown to be used as an alert system of sorts by the denizens of the underground. He gave a warning to the party - to draw any closer would alert any creatures within leagues to their location. Manwë exhibited concern. What were these things doing here, in the grasslands on the surface? Shriekers were a subterranean growth. They were very out of place here. However, erring on the side of caution out of Ragni's warning, the party left them be and headed back to the caravan.

The decision was made to move the caravan forward, and to draw the carts up just outside of what would be approximated as archer range, just in case something bad were to happen. Chance would then move forward and see exactly what the figures on the bridge were, and what their intentions might be. Stopping the carts about 150 yards from the bridge, Chance moved forward. He stopped short about 50 feet fromt the bridge and was able to finally see exactly what the figures were - three green-skinned creatures, appearing fairly similar to the hobgoblins they had encountered earlier on the road but a good deal smaller. Though armed, they exhibited no signs of immediate hostility; and stood there, looking at the halfling and sneering.

"You pay cross bridge. 20 golds each.", one of them finally said, in a primitive, broken Common speech. Initially, Chance thought he might be able to trick them with his words. He tried to negotiate - an exchange of verbal trickery - but these creatures were apparently smarter than that. They were intent on - at best, in Chance's estimation - extorting a large sum of coin for passage across the bridge. When the negotiations failed, Chance did what he thought was the next best thing - he started picking up rocks and throwing them at the creatures, hoping to either enrage them, or to drive them away.

As the first flurry of stones were thrown, one of the three creatures immediately retreated beneath the bridge. The remainder of the party witnessed and heard the taunting and shouting by the halfling from their distant position. Arimanio then quickly moved forward to investigate and ensure the safety of his companion. For the goblins, the halfling was amusing - they saw him as small, and that naturally inferred a sense of weakness in their minds. Bigger equates to stronger for a goblin, of course. And initially, they found the frustrations of the halfling (and the rock throwing) quite humorous. However, upon the much larger human's approach, their cowardly nature got the best of them. Goblins don't like to fight an even fight, much less an evenly matched fight with a larger opponent. And so, the remaining pair of goblins then also retreated beneath the bridge.
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Revenge of the BattleCharger Pt. 1
Day 1: I have heard tales of goblinoids attacking a caravan, so I decided to investigate. I have arrived in Thistledown where a merchant is hiring protection for the journey north. I have signed on to the group and we leave on the morrow. The group, quite the rag tag party, is mostly composed elves (blast!), half elves and humans. Luckily there is a gnome amongst the group, who based on his name, hates goblins almost as much as I do! A halfling will be with us as well. I was glad to see him among the group, but he seems quite loud and I wonder if he might be a hindrance...

Hopefully I will be able to take at least a small amount of revenge for what was done to my clan...

Day 2: We set out with Chance (the loud halfling, apparently he is supposed to be sneaky...) scouting ahead. I rode in the first wagon with one of the half elves (at least it wasn't a full blooded one!). As we approached the bridge Chance came back and reported activity on the bridge. After we stopped the wagons, I heard a noise I hadn't heard since I was back home in the mountains: Shriekers! While Chance was investigating, he found some hobgoblins and lured them back to us to slaughter! Next thing I know Chance is taunting the things on the bridge which happened to be goblins. They retreated under the bridge and one of the half-elves, Drathus, went to see what they were up to. The treacherous fiends had gone for reinforcement, who blasted Drathus with crossbow bolts and dropped him. Chance and I rushed them and gave cover to the monk and cleric, who were able to stabilize and heal Drathus. The foul creatures soon fell to our might! How I hate those blasted creatures! Once the battle was over, the caravan began to cross the bridge (what a poor excuse for masonry!). While waiting for the carts to cross, I took watch and Chance went scouting. Just before the last cart crossed the bridge, I heard a large group of orcs in the distance, but no one else heard them... Well, the druid said he heard them, but who trusts an elf anyway... While Chance was scouting he discovered some tracks. We plan on returning in the morning, after we finish escorting the wagons. When we arrived at the town, we found the innkeeper to be most foul. It was all I could do not to slaughter the tavern!! But that was probably my bloodlust from the battles earlier still flowing through my blood... We ended up making camp just outside the village instead of giving gold (she wanted 15 gold for a room! Extortion!) to that old wench.

Day 3: Last night did not go well. While I was on watch with the human cleric (she seems ok, for a human) we were ambushed by hobgoblins! Stupid cretins! We were able to take them down, but not without a fight... many of the party were injured. Luckily we have many healers among us.

At first light we broke camp and headed to the bridge to follow the tracks Chance found the day before. They led to a dilapidated old farm house that was being used by hobgoblins to store the loot from the previous caravans. The place was swarming with goblins and hobgoblins! What a find! A marvelous battle ensued! The goblin burner was true to his name! (well, he tried anyway...) The building didn't quite light, which was for the best, since I much preferred to meet them in close quarter battle, there was quite a bit of treasure inside and they had captives. We slew the largest hobgoblin I have ever seen! He stood 7 feet tall! I feel the burden of revenge for the clan lessening on my soul... I am glad I chose to go with this party. Not only are we destroying the evil blight that is my clans sworn enemy, we were able to clear a trade route and rescue some prisoners. Now, we just need to get these men back to civilization...
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The Road Less Travelled....
And so the caravan set out upon it's journey. Our escort of eight adventurers set up a strategic riding order to provide optimal protection for the traveling convoy. The escort group would contain a wide variety of skilled individuals: the alert and stealthy halfling, Chance, would scout ahead of the caravan, with Ragni Battlecharger, the dour dwarven warrior and Mark Robertsson, half-elven warrior priest not far behind on the first wagon. The passengers of second wagon would be ( "Healbot" - insert name here), the pious and good human cleric of Lathander, and Arimanio, a devout Brother of the Temple of Kelemvor. Following in the 3rd wagon of the convoy were Gimble "goblin burner" Turen, a tricky gnome master of illusion, paired with Manwë, the elven nature priest of Silvanus, and protecting the rear in fourth and final wagon was the Jack of All Trades, Drathus - a half-elven priestly warrior-mage. The group felt confident with their charge to provide safe passage for the caravan, and travelled several hours without any real incident.

As the caravan neared the bridge to cross the Kerr River (the bottleneck in the road had been the site where most of the hijacking had taken place in recent months), the scouting halfling reported back to the travelers. He could see, a short ways in the distance, several small humanoid figures congregating at front of the bridge. It was apparent that they had not seen him yet, so the element of surprise was still with the party. About this same time, a high pitched shrieking could be heard off in the distance, east of the road. It was an ominous, dissonant sound that was completely foreign to the ears of the party. Chance halted the wagon train, made an attempt to hide in the tall brush, and set off to investigate the source of the horrible noise.

Several feet into the grasslands off of the main road, the halfling was able to discover the source of the shrieking sound: it seemed to emanate from two very large mushrooms. They were a purplish color, stood approximately three feet tall, and seemed very out of place in the sweeping hearth lands. He had never seen anything like them. Just them, out of the corner of his eye, he noticed something a movement that was decidedly more threatening. A pair of five foot tall, yellow skinned goblinoid creatures were moving in his direction. It was clear that this was a hunting or scouting party of some sort, and it was also apparent that they hadn't noticed him yet, so the halfling made a move to run back to the wagons and inform the others. However, when Chance moved to retreat, he gave away his position; and these hobgoblins followed.

Chance had a significant jump on the pair, and arrived in sufficient time to give the travelers a bit of warning before the pair of hobgoblins reached the caravan. As such, the party was somewhat prepared for the creatures. Moments later, the two creatures crashed through the brush, and were met with warrior's steel and the sting of arrows, sling bullets, and darts. After a small bit of combat, the party had succeeded in dispatching one of the creatures. The second had turned to flee. Arimanio made an attempt to give chase, but the hobgoblin managed to escape with it's life. The party was victorious. However, victory had it's price - as noted by Chance. The halfling had gone sneaking forward during the combat to keep an eye on the goings on at the bridge - and it was apparent that the clatter of combat had given away the traveler's position. Whatever this group of creatures was at the bridge - they were now were aware that the caravan was there. And they would be ready and prepared for more combat, if necessary - and would certainly be prepared for their arrival regardless of the circumstances....
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And So it Begins....
The northern trade route from Thistledown had become perilous with reports of banditry and blackmail, with sightings of the odd goblinoid scourge recalled through history books and by the elderly. The caravan traveling from Hangman's Rest through Thistledown to Hawksburg had put out a simple request to the people of the surrounding hamlets and thorps: "Safety in numbers" was the request, with hopes that an escort of visually armed cohorts would thwart any attempt of banditry on the caravan and its precious cargo.

With promises of payment of fifty gold pieces to the escort group upon safe arrival to Penarduin, through the region known to contain the dangers - the grasslands surrounding the bridge over the Kerr Stream - the wagonmaster sent out the call. A fifty gold piece bounty would be a true king's ransom to the average farm town resident of the Amber Heath; a lifetime of wealth. And Penarduin was a mere half day's ride on horseback - a time frame to be perhaps doubled with a heavy load of trade goods as long as all went well. However, the fears of the goblin raids in the not so distant past still hang heavy on the minds of many of the older citizens of Banalt. Many still tell the tales of the evil and destruction witnessed less than sixty years prior. Most of the local farmers and merchants are not of the particularly brave, nor adventurous, sort; nor are most skilled in the arts of combat nor magic, would the situation arise. And so the wagonmaster, and his precious cargo, was forced to wait. And salesmen, do indeed, hate to wait.

A few short days later, several people from the surrounding areas did heed the wagonmaster's call. Some in search of fame, or wealth; others in search of the thrill of adventure and of the unknown. Still others came in search of religious converts; while some came solely with dreams of furthering of their own power. An escort party was hurriedly formed by the wagonmaster - he had to get out of Thistledown and back on the road as soon as possible! The group formed, he felt, at least appeared that it would be enough to provide sufficient safety to reach Penarduin; and to him, appearance was all that counted at this point. They seemed to be fairly well armed, apparently well versed in the arts of combat, and seemed to be imposing enough in appearance to hopefully thwart any aggravation the trader may come across during the travel, despite the diminutive stature of several of them. And their sheer number was definitely an imposing site. How he ever managed to get such a great number of people to put their lives on the line to protect him for such a paltry sum was beyond him - his skills in negotiation even amazed himself, at times.

At any rate, there was business to attend to - important business. And he was well behind schedule. Hawksburg wouldn't wait forever, and his pockets certainly weren't going to get any heavier in this backwoods hovel of a town he was currently stuck in.

And so the tale begins...
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