The Journal of Manwë

Campaign: Banalt

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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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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