Dear Matron Athene,
You asked for a review of the events at the desolate keep on the Day of Mourning. I vouch for the accuracy of the facts contained herein, but I must admit that I cannot refrain from adding commentary. I only hope that any emotional outbursts are taken as a sign of the ominous portents of that day, and not as discolouring the value of my report.
As I arrived at the location indicated on the map, I first noticed that I did not approach it alone. Some came by the horse, others walking along the road, and at least one sat in a tree, watching us all. The Silver Flame, glory to its eternal wisdom, saw fit to guide the paths of several heroic strangers to my side. Despite our disparate goals and different paths since that day, I smile at recollecting their heroism. If only all men had hearts like theirs. . .
At first, I spoke with several of the other travellers, to ascertain their purpose in stopping by the tower. But before we could uncover much, a scream came from the tower. We raced up to the entrance of the ruins and peered inside. A number of eggs decorated the inside. Two others, Arlena Rhogir, came inside and inspected the eggs with me. Unsure of their nature, they were unfamiliar to me. I intended to the leave the eggs alone, since they were not the source of the screaming. But as Arlena turned the bend, she let out a shout, that she had discovered the source of the noises. This was Alric, who lay manacled to the floor above the strange mark.
Heroically dashing to rescue the young man, Arlena stepped over the mark, which had an unusual effect on her. Apparently it left her feeling dazed, with odd whispers heard only by her. This exposed to vicious attacks from a type of vicious monster I have recently identified as ‘dolgrim’.
Note on the dolgrim: These beasts are not well-described in our texts, but they are quite recognizable, for their bodies bear a unique disfigurement. They have the limbs and features of two creatures upon a single trunk. This deformation grants them unusual speed, but their reflexes do not appear similarly doubled. Hideous as they are, I can only imagine their bodies bear the mark of the viciousness of their souls and whatever unnatural copulation birthed them.
The dolgrim charged forth and assaulted our assembled party, their attack stirring the eggs into hatching, whereupon I learned that they were, in fact, kruthik eggs. Though it was quite unpleasant, they were very hungry upon hatching, and needed to be dealt with. Though individually no challenge, they swarmed over me and our goliath fellow-traveller Rok , harrassing us and preventing us from reaching the northern chamber where the dolgrim lay.
Making my way around the back of the tower, I saw an older man-elf, the Brelish Lord Major Bren ‘irGadden”:http://www.obsidianportal.com/character/52144 . He too was manacled by the dolgrim, and gagged. I removed the gag but, being unable to identify him (and hearing the sounds of combat in the other room), I was concerned more immediate safety than his comfort. I regret the selfishness of this, and would do well to reflect on the lessons of the martyr Ifthil.
Our battle continued, with the Orien Marshal Jhalen the known skill of that house, disposing of the several dolgrim. Quiet but possessed of a certain wit, I can see why the Lighting Rail has a reputation as a safe and clean method of travel throughout the civilized world. Also, a word on the mechanic, the dragonkin Rhogir.[nb1] Despite being on a vitally important mission to save (his? her? I am unsure of how to sex a lizardperson) crew, Rhogir’s valiant strides proved inspirational, thundering into battle swinging club and even throwing tools. This bravery was quite bracing as our hearts grew weary under the assault of the twisted twin-beasts.
Upon disposing of the beasts in the tower, we set to recovering the hostages. I examined Alric, and found him to be physically fine, but drained from exposure to the prophetic mark and incapable of moving himself. Several of the others spoke with the Lord Major about the kidnapping at the hands of the dolgrim. Apparently, they were ambushed while waiting to meet with the Honorable Mr Holiday. I set to studying the mark. I’ve included an impression from the recording dragonshard, courtesy of illustrator Leonhard from the library:
!<http: />(Recorded Image of the Prophetic Glyph)!
I could not identify the glyph myself, but while examining it, a particular phrase, perhaps from the prophecy, came to me.
Six at the brink of destruction stand as one against tempest’s roar
The full impact of this would not settle on me for some time. Anon-
During this short rest, we heard the sounds of the horses fleeing. Upon exiting, we saw a shambling horde of disquieted dead. Confirming the suspicions of the Prelate, the vile witch M- [nb2] leading them identified herself as an agent of the Emerald Claw. She began to call out vile threats, but the heroes assembled refused to grant her even the thrill of showing fear, and immediately we set upon her and her unfortunate servitors.
I must commend here on the ardent faith of my comrade-in-arms Arlena Brinn. Though not of our church (professing faith in one of the faiths of the so-called Sovereign Host), there is something of the Argent Heat in her breast, judging from the enmity with which she met her foes. Jointly she and I smote them in great number, as the others held them off, protecting our newly rescued charges, although I stunned to admit that her speed in moving across the battlefield both figuratively and literally, kept our souls safe.
The gravedigger, Rok, showed enormous courage and gravity of purpose in halting the escape of the Emerald Claw witch, M-. The church would do well to reach out to the Goliath community, if they inculcate even a shred of her strength and fortitude in their children. It simply gives me chills to recall how she moved. But even her enormous reach was not enough to protect all of our party, and blows from the witch’s sarjeants. We almost lost Rhogir to the claws of the zombies, but thankfully the work of the poet-politician saved him from being lost to their cursed hands. In truth our righteousness overpowered this second assault rather quickly, with the witch collapsing under Rok’s thorny grip and her minions falling soon after.
The flame of our victory, however, was soon extinguished. Before we could even gather our senses, we saw chaos at the horizon. The lightning-on-fire-in-smoke, the hypnotic shimmering of magic on magic, the unnatural tower of dust reaching from the earth to the sky. . .Clouds obscured all detail, but the air was heavy. I can only imagine the Flame dimmed at such anguish.
It is clear, now, that the mark of prophecy was referring to us, gathered there that day. We stood at the edge of a mighty and furious tempest, and despite all of our faith in justice, we could do naught but watch and pray for the dead.
We had not watched this horrible storm for long when we were met by agents of the Brelish military. I watched them closely, as their calm but stern demeanor and glances northward suggested they knew more about the chaos in Cyre. They knew the Lord Major, and Jhalen let them approach, and so we let our guard down. Much to my dismay, they placed Mr Holiday under arrest for “treason” and marched him off. I protested, but between the Lord Major’s promises and Jack’s assurances, this appeared to be a clearly technical matter easily resolved once returned. Politicians are a funny lot. We speak often of the danger, the corrupting potential, of secular power. While I suspect he might protest, I saw in the majestic words of one Jack Holiday a sense of the inner nobility that guides some into that most unpleasant of occupations. I am pleased to note that I have heard the Lord Major made good on his word, and attested to the innocence of Mr Holiday, clearing him of the heinous charges falsely leveled against him, identifying a corrupt aide as the source of the treachery.
Nor did Holiday suffer the gravest injustice amongst the Six that day. Poor, stalwart, suffering Rhogir’s ship had crashed on the wrong side of the Breland-Cyre border, and Brelish military prevented him from even reaching the crashsite to pay them respects.
Left with little other choice, I returned to the nearest outpost of the Church and began to take notes, ensuring that for all posterity, evil will quake before the righteous, and the righteous will bow before the pure, amen.
Devoted Servant of the Flame
- and none other -
Laetitia Po- of the Temple of Durga, 994
nb. Name translated from a tongue that I admit confuses me—does the church have any linguists fluent in their unusual speech?
nb2. An attached note reads “Mallora, Emerald Claw, Necromancer identified by previous agents [see corresponding Chapter in Volume CLXXVI]” – ASK ABOUT STAFF?]