The Journey didn't start well. Shortly after venturing into the wounded lands my party was overcome by a group of ogres. The Ogres caught us unawares and I was the only one that survived. Afterwards I realized that I was lost, hungry, without a mount and in dire need of a bath. And so I traveled, aimlessly through the wastes, with nothing but the sight of the morning star and the Truths to guide and keep me from hopelessness. This continued until one day I saw a strange sight.
It was a man. A man flung through the air, with the greatest of ease, a daring young man, who was flung by a tree. I went to investigate and cautiously arrived at the area that the man (now corpse) had come from. I came upon a clearing and in the midst of the clearing was a great tower.
I quickly hid myself (thinking that I may have stumbled upon on of the Duke’s stronghold). I sighted only one guard on watch at the top of the tower. After almost a day I realized that the guard was either being punished for some infraction or was trapped being forced to guard the tower with no relief for an excruciatingly long period of time. He also looked hungry.
With the guidance of Ambrose I sent a peace offering of some food to the guard. To this day I am not sure he ate it. But eventually after another day, the residents of the tower came out. In a remarkably un-militaristic manner they came out, left the door to the tower open walked across the clearing and greeted me. It was then that I met the adventurers that I would travel with until I returned to Riverside.
On that day I met Tanax of the former house of Prolosit, Leviticus, the shaggy Shepard of Nature, Church the Brave (of the Red tunic), Archimedes the Uncertain (known as such not for his hesitancy in battle, but for the ability to keep his enemies, and often his allies, in a complete state of confusion) and Dross—The farmer that tired of his field and sought new yields. We quickly brought each other up to date on all of the misfortunes that had fallen upon us but somehow couldn’t manage to finish the job. They were a very welcoming bunch, eager to partner with a fellow Ken who coincidentally could heal their many many wounds.
They told me that they had come across this tower and heroically defeated all manner of fell creatures before settling down for a few days to try and figure out how to open the front door. They spoke of a pact that they made with a great tree spirit (whose description recalled passages of the tree sprits allied with the demon during the demon campaigns). They argue awhile about weather to keep a pact that they made. Not being part of the pact I voiced no opinions but I did gently remind them that for the Yrken their word is their bond. Little did I realize then that there bond was to talk to an Eldren demon and find out why it was not honoring a pact that it made with the tree spirit.
We set out to find this demon.
Now before I continue I must say a few words. Although my training on the isle has shown me how to proceed through the darkest moments without fear, I must say I was concerned about coming face to face for the first time with kin of those who Ambrit slew by the hundreds. I would have counseled against this very act if it weren’t for something very important that these true Yrken found. It seems that the tower that they had liberated was none other than the tower-base of the great Yrken mage Maelvagel. We knew that it was his tower because we found the remnants of his journal. This Journal told us many things including information that made it seem likely that our group could hold its own against a single demon.
We were partly right. We could hold our own, but Church’s Red tunic could not and, alas, he lost his life in our meeting with the Eldren. But the party showed their true strength. Dross the farmer, with his new knowledge of Ambrose, approached the Eldren as an equal (and barely left as a victor). Leviticus showed the demon that he was, indeed, stiff competition. Tanax assumed the role of a true noble and took not a path of direct action, but rather one of withdrawal, assessment and re-engagement. And Archimedes deftly studied with the tree spirit to obtain more knowledge that could be useful in our encounter.
This demon was great and fearful. I was in awe at the power that this, seemingly mad, demon had. But the hand of Ambrose guided me and the two bolts of lightning that were my gift upon leaving the isle found their mark and mortally wounded the Eldren. It was then that Prolosit showed the wisdom of his actions by coming in and delivering the final blow. As the Demon died I looked upon its handiwork. In the rolling plains, one could see a series of sea vessels, the like of which have only been described in the Truths. One resembled a pig and one was a series of smaller vessels linked together to form a serpent-like creature. There were many others and they all seemed strangely beautiful and grotesque. I took some time to reflect on the Truths as I surveyed our handiwork.
Ambrose smiled on all of use that day as together we defeated a demon, the greatest enemy of the Yrken. It was then that we realized that Ambrose wasn’t the only one smiling on us. In the clearing near the tree line we met an old man form the south.
This man came up to us and congratulated us on our destruction of the Eldren Demon. He seemed to be a happy old southerner strangely enough wandering the woods of the wounded land of the north. He said that he came from a village named Durham. We were naturally surprised that there were settlements in this area. He told us he was on a mission to hunt for feral cattle, when he stumbled upon us. He then shared stories of how he came to be in the woods.
It seems that he and a bunch of adventurers came up into the wounded lands, but, alas, all of his friends were killed in various battles with Eldren demons. He then showed us 3 ears of the accursed demons that he had claimed as trophies. We asked if he needed help in his cattle mission, we told him we would gladly accompany him, but first we had to inform the great tree spirit that we had dispatched the Eldren.
We returned to area where Entwhistle, the great tree spirit was and the party explained that, like all Yrken do, they had repaid the debt of their pact. We then journeyed to the southern expatriate’s wonderful village of Durham.
We journeyed for a few days and arrived at Durham. Now Durham was a very strange village. All of the inhabitants seemed to be infirmed in some way. As is the duty of all good priests of the faith, I offered my gifts to help the villagers – soon enough I would realize that it was really the party that needed help.
We arrived in the evening, in the middle of a downpour. The guards at the gate were a friendly lot and they welcomed us warmly. Our southern friend led us to the center of the village to the central blockhouse, where all of the inhabitants were engaged in a communal meal. It was there that I met Jeff, their leader.
Jeff was a well nature man also suffering from bodily trauma. When I asked about the town and the nature of all of the inhabitants he explained that theirs was a forgotten bunch. The inhabitants of the village had all suffered for one reason or from the hands of many different factions. Some were the victims of the Eldren, some were victims of the Duke, and some were victims of Jeff—but more on that later.
The town welcomed us into the blockhouse as they made us the guests of honor. They gave us the finest mead and warm bread and after dinner gave us a place to sleep. Oh, and they also gave us a sleeping poison mixed into the provisions and libations, just to be sure that we would sleep sound.
When we woke up we were quite surprised to find that the villagers in a neighborly act, had neatly put away all of our belongings and had gently chained us crosswise and blindfolded us—oh, and gagged us. It seems that they wanted our undivided attention.
They had it.
It was then that they started their ritual. It seems that we had stumbled upon a village filled with followers of the cult of Tharizdun. Little did we realize that this seemingly happy housing project of the helpless would turn into a horde of handi-cappable hell spawns hell-bent on hobbling us. We weren’t too happy about it either. It was then that I remembered the passages from the Truths that dealt with Ambras’s encounter with the vile cultists. The light of the morning star filled my soul. I was not about to let these cultists take me or my noble party.
I focused my thoughts inward and reflected on the strength of Ambras throughout his trials. I the reflected on the similarity of the situation I was in with a passage from the truths. I found the strength from within to break my bonds and start on a holy quest to wreak havoc. Heartened by my example, the members of the party rose to their rightful role of true Yrken.
It was at that point that I realize the potential of our group. We started to act as and the five started on a 2-day campaign to destroy the cultists. And Ambrose smiled upon us and the light of the morning star gave strength to the five. And we started to lay waste to their number.
First we attacked their leaders, Jeff and Old Max. Neither stood a chance against our combine might. Lord Prolosit himself killed Jeff with his bare hands.
It was then that we realized that there was some truly foul magic afoot. We learned that Jeff had charmed our friend, man from the south. With a cry the man declared himself as Yoshiro, Blade master of the King’s guard and looked at Tanax and asked a simple and polite question—Are you with him? (Referring to Jeff). That was probably the last time that Yosh uttered a polite question. With Jeff now a corpse, his magic no longer held Yosh in its sinister grip. In the flash of an eye, Lord Prolosit’s actions had released the foul magic that twisted the disgustingly amiable, despicably friendly and revoltingly easy going blade master, into a wonderfully cocky, reassuringly surly and insightfully curt old curmudgeon. With the spell now broken we no longer had to deal with any of Yosh’s annoyingly nice qualities.
And then the blade master proved his prowess. He cut down the fierce, crippled warriors like a farmer cuts down wheat. It was then that the rout began. The war wizard began to unleash an unholy fury in the midst of the blockhouse. Archimedes managed to damage 2 party members before he got to the villagers. With Ambrose bestowing his gifts on us we prevailed and drove the villagers out of the blockhouse. We recruited Yosh to build a barricade for us while we deftly planned many escaped options. We also had Tanax look for where they stashed our gear. We found more than we bargained for.
In a secret room we found a young man, wounded almost to death. After a brief questioning he revealed that his name was Mir and he was the apprentice to the revered Havlachek of the order of Ambrose. He also mentioned something cryptic that led us to believe that there were others in the area that may come to our assistance.
We had a war council and decide that we would try to find a way out and if we could not, we would send a signal flare.
Then the evil truly started to flow like wine down a drunkard’s throat. The remaining elder of the town, the witch Sylvie (the one who had drugged our food), set up a trap that made a mockery of all righteous Ken. They tied a group of women and children to a wagon and then told us that they would burn them alive if we did not surrender. The soon to be victims screamed and begged for help. What were to do? We could not leave them there.
And so we left the safety of the blockhouse and took to the streets. On our way there they lit the wagon. Soon the buildings were catching fire, and we were defeating them soundly. When we released the prisoners from the wagon, we discovered the depths of their treachery. The victims were all in league with the captors, each producing a blade with the intentions of slitting our throats. They even had the children indoctrinated, with their aim on killing us.
That’s when we could no longer in good conscience parlay with them. So we started to kill—but none did such a job as Yosh. For hours it seemed that ten men would attack him at once and he would carefully kill them as fast as they came. Never have I seen a man like this. A man who could kill an army singly handedly.
By this time half of the village was on fire. And that is when we met Manfred – The ambrosian Paladin and his band of men. We were near spent when they arrive and took care of the few remaining wretched souls.
But there was more evil. As you know evil begets evil. It seems that the remaining elder, Sylvie, was an Eldren in disguise. Realizing that we had decimated the village, she escaped, using her eldritch powers to rise into the air and vanish out of sight.
Those 2 days seemed like years, but finally with Manfred’s band leading us away from the village of Durham, we managed to get our first real rest of our entire adventure.
The days following were uneventful. We journeyed back to riverside with but few encounters. The trip was somber, though, because in our escape from the village we had lost track of Archimedes the uncertain. But I am certain that I will se him again.
During the Journey we learned more about Yosh and his former service for the King. It seems that he was given an order to kill a large group of non-combatants – and this after all other troops had fled the area. It was an order of cowardice. And Yosh refused to carry it out, to the point of attacking and defeating a column of soldiers that were sent to kill the remaining “enemy” refugees.
Lord Ector. Yoshiro is a man of intelligence and honor. He has proven his heart as well as his ability to me. I think that he would be an asset to you and your endeavors. I know that he is a wanted man who seeks amnesty. I do not know how much is in your power as far as the other provinces, but I beseech you on his behalf, to grant him amnesty in your province and anywhere your influence holds sway. I also would highly recommend that you would personally consider offering him a position. I cannot recommend him highly enough.
Finally I want to say a few words about Manfred. Manfred in everyway epitomizes the nature of a true Yrken. He put his position in jeopardy by venturing into the wounded lands to protect someone whose life he held more dear than his own. Unfortunately the cultist killed Havalchek when they realized that his power alone could spell their doom. I speak on behalf of Manfred and his troop. They acted efficiently professionally and in alls ways were exemplary in all of their actions. I know that disobeying orders cannot go unpunished, but I want to entreaty you to take into consideration the fact that if it weren’t for Manfred and his band, fewer of us would have made it back to riverside.
This ends my report. May the light of the morning star shine upon you.