A Tangled Skein

Unexpected Companions

Aukan's Travels

The armies of Cyre have been camped along the Cyre River and we’ve been preparing for battle against those who would use undead against our nation. This morning, I was instructed to take two men and scout out activity we’d seen east of our camp. An army of 200 enemy was spotted on the move, but some other unknown activity was seen around a ruined tower. I chose two of my most trusted comrades, a wizard called Quarion (whom, in the custom of my clan, I call FireMaker) and a cleric known as Sledge (whom we call SledgeHammer). We got underway to learn more of this tower and the movements of our enemy.

We arrived at the tower and found it relatively quiet on the outside. We spread out and began to circle to the south side of the tower looking for any sign of movement. As we approached a large heap of rubble, FireMaker discovered Kruthik tracks. The enemy had been here! We immediately took up a defensive posture, preparing for attack at any moment. I began searching the rubble for unwelcome creatures and we heard the all-to-familiar clicks. Several Kruthiks sprang from underneath the rubble and the fight was underway. The battle was like most when dealing with Kruthiks. They aren’t much of a foe and usually not worth the effort. I tried to crush a few like the bugs they are, but didn’t have much time (and they’re fast). FireMaker and SledgeHammer blew most of them away like flys on their sleeves. I had one cornered, ready to be squished when out jumped a halfling who, for his size managed to show great skill in battle. He sliced through the last of the Kruthiks and I thought well of him. It amused me greatly to see such a small creature fight so well.

He introduced himself as Garrett and then went on for a while about himself and how lucky we were that he was there. My opinion of him shrank with every word he uttered. As he spoke several thoughts entered my mind like “I wonder how far I could throw him?” and “If SledgeHammer yells ‘pull’ I could throw him up and FireMaker could use him as target practice.” Thankfully, more enemies soon showed up and distracted him from…himself.

We noticed movement in the doorway of the tower and all of us began moving in. More Kruthiks. Again, they were no match and soon all were destroyed in one blow. We then heard faint screaming from inside. A woman’s scream. We started to enter the doorway and were attacked by the strangest of creatures. Not even in the mountains have I seen such hideous things. They had two mouths (which I’m sure Garrett was jealous of) and their heads were almost indistinguishable from their bodies. I charged in to block them inside the door, but couldn’t make it in time. As I stood beside the door one of them came out and I had a swing at him, but I missed. Another one soon joined him and they proved to be much more of a task than the bugs. Our team…and the rogue…worked well together, but many of us were wounded and without the help of our cleric, might have seen the end that day. After enduring the clumsiness of the rogue who stabbed me in the foot, we were finally able to destroy the beasts (and I made quite a mess of one them, splitting him in half) and moved into the tower. FireMaker lit the room with his magic and we could see a dwarf unconscious on a strange platform with mysterious markings. A woman changeling was held in chains against the far wall. She seemed quite worried about the safety of the dwarf. While we worked to free the prisoners, our wizard friend was able to make out the writings on the platform to be what sounded like a prophecy. Something about 3 and 5 and some mist. I leave it to him as I have no gift for understanding such things.

While he was studying the symbols, Garrett tried to reach the dwarf, but I couldn’t tell if he wanted to lift him or his money. The rogue was visibly shaken by the effect of some magic around the platform, but continued his reaching. I decided to intervene and grabbed the dwarf and pulled him off the platform, safe and away from the ever searching hands of the rogue. Garrett actually became increasingly eager to get close to the dwarf. He seems to think my friends and I are unaware of his intentions. His mouth was going twice as fast now and much of my goodwill towards him in battle quickly waned with his incessant scheming. After freeing the dwarf, I broke the chains holding the woman. She quickly ran to protect the dwarf, not trusting our intentions. We were able to set her at ease, despite the rudeness and greed of the rogue who (mistakenly) felt he was important enough to gain leverage by refusing to assist without immediate payment. Ignoring his whining, I offered to carry the dwarf and we all agreed to escort them to the nearest railway. She offered to pay us well, which kept the rogue tied to us for now.

As we left the tower, we were again attacked, but this time by undead soldiers lead by a witch and two sergeants. I couldn’t wait to jump into this fight, but was still burdened by the dwarf. SledgeHammer and FireMaker showed their strength and attacked quickly. I placed the dwarf safely on the ground and engaged in the fight. The woman changeling was powerful and before I left her side, I saw her simply look at an undead soldier and he exploded. This female would do well in the mountains! She stepped back to guard the dwarf while we all fought. FireMaker lived up to his name and torched many foes with his brand of magic. SledgeHammer smashed a few to powder and I rather enjoyed throwing my weight around. Garrett ran around behind the enemy and attacked from the rear, again proving adept in combat. With his attitude I assume he’s had to learn to defend himself many times. Regardless, we dealt with this enemy and I returned to check on the dwarf, still lying unconscious. The others began taking arms from the dead and Garrett ran up to the woman complaining and insulting her for not getting more involved in the battle. His mouth may prove a real liability to us in the future. If it continues to put us at risk I may have to help him control it.

At that moment we noticed a mist of sorts rolling over the land. The armies fighting to the north were silenced and an evil feeling was in the air. The mist rolled over the hilltops across the river, but stopped on its borders. What is this? With the woman’s strong encouragement and promise to increase our rewards, we decided to move away from the area as quickly as possible. But what of our fellow soldiers? What of our nation? What is this mist? I must find my commanders and report what has happened. We couldn’t move on without giving them aid or at least reporting what we’ve discovered. The woman was very uneasy and was not happy with my decision to investigate…but, if she wants our protection, she’ll wait another hour or two. I decided to send FireMaker to scout out the mist and learn what has come of our battalion. I held little hope of what he might find…and his report was devastating. All dead; friend, foe and even land. Nothing seemed to survive. I give my word that we will find out what has happened here and who is responsible. We will make them pay for this atrocity.

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Nicodemus

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