Prophecy

On the way North

Brother Alvito was traveling the sinuous paths of the Northern Province and thinking “incredible how there is not a single straight road in this part of the world. No wonder why they are so cut off from civilization. But I shall not judge them too severely when most of the so-called civilized people still refused the truth of the Prophet. ” The monk paused for a moment. How was he supposed to go East when all the trails were going either North or South. “The Cardinal was right to give me the Scroll after all. The Mages won’t lay hands on it if I can’t even find the way back myself I supposed.” The way back… He should not be thinking about it. He was to head North after he met his guide to bring the words of the Prophet to the barbarian tribes, and in exchange find a safe place for the Scroll.

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Regdar's letter #1

Dear brother,

Sorry for keeping you waiting so long for a response to your last letter, as you know, I do not have the love for words you have. Or your talent for that matter…

You asked for accounts of my adventures here so you may write songs and stories to tell at The Wild Boar and I did not have much to tell you about to be honest… Mostly the occasionnal fighting at Fatespinner’s Inn… Not as big a place as The Wild Boar, but it is quite busy and the ale is fantastic!

Food is good, too, as long as you don’t ask questions about where the meat is from… More on that later…

I was enjoying a meal and a beer with some locals the other night. A good bunch of guys, even Harask. If bringing him in jail every other day to sober him up after a fight was quite annoying at first, I spent so much time with the guy that I started to enjoy his company… Sure he likes a good fight and is very good at finding any number of reasons to punch a guy in the face, but he’s not a bad fellow. And one of the best smith I know!

But anyway, back to my story. So we were having a meal when that priest comes in, wearing a purple robe and a large golden wind rose around his neck. He ordered an ale and just sat there… People are generally good around here, but walking around with something that looks that expensive without wearing any weapon seemed like trouble waiting to happen for the poor guy.

Harask wanted to challenge the priest to an arm wrestling match… probably his idea of a warm welcome… Fortunately I was able to make him decide against it and went greet him by myself. And then he started to ramble on and on about the Creator and Melvin and the First One… Just some ordinary fanatic with a death wish…

A priest from the South heading North. He wants the barbarians to become believers! Imagine that! He bored me half to death with his story, and I like stories… To be fair I lost faith in believers long ago, I’ve seen what they do in the name of their “god”…

While Brother Alvito was entertaining me on the fact he was supposed to meet a guide he did not know to bring him North, a farmer storms in with a story about a large bird attacking his cattle or something to that effect. So I go and the guys follow me. The farmer was not one to be inventing stories or stirring the pot for the fun of it, so I was rather curious as to what it was all about.

Well brother, you will not believe what we found in the woods. A pheonix. A real pheonix. Much less pretty than what the stories will have you believe though… but we hunted it down thanks to Gordo’s tracking abilities, Mave’s bizarre javelin and Harask strenght. I sort of stood there amazed at the powers these guys have! Quite incredible fighters. I provided some tactical knowledge but they were amazing, it felt like old times when I was fighting with the Company! Sure, you’ll tell me it was just some oversized chicken we fought, but still…

How do I know it’s a pheonix? Well it just bursted into flames when Gordo gave the last strike! And there was the egg… I know this is hard to believe, but I swear that’s what happened.

But that’s not all…

At that moment, we were attacked by a pack of dogs that were hunting that same pheonix. Unfortunately, we had to kill the dogs in self-defense. Even less fortunate is the fact they were the Warlord’s son’s dogs… When Jarlax arrived on the scene he was not very impressed by our killing his dogs… and losing his prey (we made sure he did not realise we had killed it, too!). So he sent us get him another magical creature to feed the python in the river (remember that story I told you we were telling the people so they would pay their taxes? Well I am starting to believe it’s more than just a story…)

I realise it all sounds crazy, but I need you to trust me and believe me, we have always been honest with each other and it is not different now.

We are leaving tomorrow to go up North and find another magical creature. We are keeping the egg for now, it might prove useful in the future. Do you know anything about pheonix’s eggs?

We will offer Brother Alvito to come with us, for a fee of course. He might have some coins so we can buy supplies for our hunting trip…

I’m going to sleep now brother, hopefully I’ll have more stories for you when I get back.

Regdar

PS: About the meat… Gordo decided to skin the dogs and sell the meat to the innkeeper… Let me tell you I am not eating there in the near future! I can’t think of anything worst than eating a dog stew…

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The Woodsman's Log

Entry One

It was a day like any other in The Village.
Harry, Mave, Reg, and I were down at the Fatespinner’s Tap House having lunch,
when a dark-tanned stranger in his mid 30s walks in.
He’s got a brown Winrose symbol around his neck and a leather parchment tube over his shoulder.
Reg goes and checks him out.
He introduces himself as Alvito from the southern city of Daraka.
Alvito says he is travelling north to Barbarian Lands, and has come to the
Fate=Spinner to meet a Guide who will take him north.
Alvito says he doesn’t know who his Guide is (We don’t have any idea who it could be either),
but says his guide will recognize him.

The thing around his neck is his holy symbol. He’s a monk
He brings news of the Prophet Melvin Righteous-Arm.

Alvito checks in to the Inn, and we sits down to waits for this Guide to shows up.

Just then in runs Farmer Ted. ted says some horrible monster is scaring his cattle.
Sounds interesting, so we all goes along with Reg to see what’s up with that.

When we gets there, there’s a really big bird track and a really big bird.
I sneaks around behind it and tries to gets the drop on it.
We all have a go but right when we drops it, the crazy thing esplodes and burns off
half me beard. It leaves a weird pile of ashes in the shape of a bird outline,
and in the ashes we finds an egg-shaped rock, which is warm. Like, always warm.
So I stuffs that in my backpack, thinking maybe Vernon the druid can verify what that is,
but we’ve got a sneaking suspicion that bird may have been a Phoenix,
which would mean a) them legends is true and 2) we maybe has ourselves something really valuable.

Reg patches me up and we’s standing around wondering about what this all might mean
when we hears angry dogs a coming, and next thing you know they burst’s through the woods and set on us so we’s forced to kill them. At least they didn’t esplode when we kilt them. Harry spent most of da fight on his arse, them wolves is tricksy dat way.

So we’s standing around wiping off blood and I’s about to skin dem wolves when we notices they’d got collars and that means they’re hunting dogs and that ain’t good. And round about then along comes Jarlax on horseback with a couple of his lackeys and he is pissed. So he gets to yakkin on Reg and he’s like “Bailiff, you done killed my dogs, and lost me my prey and now’s you gotta be either my dogs or my prey because I needs something to appease the Python, the Snake in the River, cause summer is comin’ and if you don’t feeds him he rises, and nobody want that.” So he says we gotta find him an elf or a dwarf or a bugbear or something immortal and we gives us like 13 days until he’s coming back and if we ain’t got one of them by then we’s screwed.

So off he rides, and what more is there to say? Harry got some belt buckles from the dog collars outta the deal and I skinned them dogs for leather and took the meat back to see if Aleb will buy it for meat pies and then a big piece of dogmeat for Ma’s stew.

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Woodsman's Log - Episode 2

(coming soon)

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A Message to the Cardinal

Eminence,

I did as commanded and stopped at the Phoenix’s Court on my way North. Lord Magnus received me with much more honors than my humble station calls for. After crossing so many leagues of war torn and heathen lands, I was amazed by what I saw. The ancient ideal of Paladinhood is reborn at Lord Magnus’s court. True knights, inspired by the words of the Prophet, now pursue the ideals of Courage, Honour and Justice. Lord Magnus Andro and his knights however have a very earthly conception of the Reign. For the Warlord, only total victory can bring peace. His faith is as sharp as the steel of his sword and his convictions fuel a perpetual war with his neighbours. I spoke to the Lord about my pursuers, and he promised to keep an eye out for them. Lord Magnus also invites you take shelter in his lands “until Ensifer’s Throne is retaken”.

After I left the Phoenix’s Court I resumed my journey North. I crossed the domain of the warlord Jarlax, a devil worshiper. I followed your instructions and traveled to the northernmost village of the ancient province of Faenarild. I waited for the guide you said the Winds would put on my way, and might have found many. A group of local monster hunters offered to guide me further North. They are not believers, but they care for each other, a sign that the Winds are gazing down upon them. Hopefully they can help me find and open the vault, as you said my guide would, and the Scriptures can be secured.

I hope that I performed the ritual correctly and that the raven brought this message to you.

Brother Alvito

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Regdar's second letter

Dear Brother,

I trust you remember the stories father used to tell us when we were young. You would sit and listen for hours on end as he would go on about goblins and dragons and sorcerers… I liked the ones about the Paladins, the fierce fighters who were seeking justice for the unfortunates of the world. There seemed to be too much magic and nonsense in the other ones.

Well, brother, I have seen much more goblins and magic in my life as of now than brave men who fight for what’s right!

You read that right, I have seen goblins and magic… And that’s not even the strangest things I’ve seen lately…

We finally decided we should head North with Brother Alvito, he gave us two gold coins for our trouble. I had not seen gold in a long time, my friends either by the looks on their face!
So we went due North and the first night Mave’s fox got taken and they left a note saying they would give the fox back in exchange for the gold. We decided to track the ones who took the fox and found their tracks just disappearing in a small brook. It was a very strange place, the light did not seem to act as light normally does. When we looked at the water it was like looking through the fog to a different place. So we tried splashing water around to see what would happen and it opened some sort of passage to that strange place we were seeing. Not unlike the ones father’s character were always going through to get to strange new lands of wonder and magic…

The Other Side did not feel right. I felt sick and compelled to leave, like that awkward feeling you get when you arrive some place uninvited and unwelcomed. But we carried on and finally found a small group of goblins holding Mave’s fox.

Once again my friends showed amazing courage and skill in battle, and Brother Alvito did some pretty unbelievable feats… I was blinded by one of the goblins by some kind of spell and Alvito just healed my eyes and turned blind himself instead. Fortunately his vision came back soon after. In addition to that little trick, it looks like he can control the wind in some fashion… While I am still not convinced about his religion, I have to admit he is making a strong point with his actions…

But I digress… We killed all of the goblins but one so we could learn more about what was going on.
Turns out they were simply after our gold, they seem to be able to smell it, like dogs smell meat… They wanted to take it to a bugbear so we went and checked that out, since a bugbear, if it existed, would be a fine catch to give Jarlax.

Long story short, we killed the bugbear, got a lot of gold and some items that could definitely be magical. The bugbear’s weapon was some kind of mace that feels like it’s surrounded by a darkness of some sort, and we also found a coin that I wear as a necklace. Call me crazy, but I truly believe this to be a lucky charm of sort, it almost feels like I cannot fail at anything now… Strange feeling, yes, but I am keeping the thing nonetheless.

It’s time for me to head back to the Fatespinner’s Inn. Jarlax is having a reception in our honor for bringing him back a bugbear. To be honest it does not feel right, I do not like the way he speaks to us or his jests about us being his “dogs”… Harask is refusing to come altogether, and I can’t blame him one bit. To be honest, I think it’s better that way, a fight with Jarlax and his men is the last thing I need… Mave and Gordo agreed to come with me, although they do not like the idea at all.

I have half a mind to pack my stuff, tell my friends to do the same, and just leave.
Just as I thought I would not have anything more to do with the Warlord’s business aside from giving the taxes to the Sheriff, here comes Jarlax.

To say all I want is a break would be a lie though, all that adventuring got me craving for more, and these guys are just the right people to seek new adventures with…

But who am I kidding, I’ll just go to the reception and do as I am told.

Regdar

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Woodsman's Log - Episode 3

(coming soon)

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The Sentinel

The night was cold. The sentinel was standing guard on the wall of Nextown with fear as his only companion. Sure, he could see the torch of his colleague burning atop the East wall, but what good would it be if the monsters decided to attack him. The Militia was stretched thin ever since Jarlax had taken half of it North to the next Village. The Warlord’s son had returned alone…

…or almost…

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Alvito's Prayer

Kneeling on the floor of his cell, Alvito was praying:

“Valoic, Lord of the North, Bringer of Justice, I understand the reasons behind your law. It is there to separate men from beasts and punish those who commit the vilest crime. But what of my companions and myself, who unknowingly ate the flesh of our own kind? What’s the message in this? As far as we knew, we did nothing wrong.

We did nothing… That is our sin. But it is not too late to act. In a world plagued with Evil, the inaction of men of Good amount to complicity. Honour commands us to act against injustice. Bringing Justice to those it was denied to will end the curse. Good men are here to do that, and continue the quest I was on. My Sacrifice will save them, and allow them to accomplish your will."

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Regdar's third letter

Dear Brother,

If my latest adventures are expanding my world a lot, it sure feels smaller by the minute since the events of today.

If these letters make it to you in the order I sent them, the last thing you read would be about the feast Jarlax was throwing in our honor at the Fatespinner’s Inn. Well, Brother, I should have listened to Harask, pack my stuff and just leave.

When we arrived at the Inn, Jarlax and his men were already quite drunk. I refused to eat anything now that I knew what kind of meat the innkeeper was buying… When he noticed it, he brought my friend and I bowls of “the good stuff” so we could eat without raising suspicion.
So we ate and we drank, Jarlax gave us a present in the form of a dog collar. I am so glad Harask was not there, he would not have appreciated the jest… neither did I but what was I to do?
Then all went black. I woke up the next morning, naked, in the middle of the woods with a bunch of the guards that came with Jarlax. Alvito, Mave and Gordo woke up in a farm a little bit closer to the village. I do not know what happened that night exactly, and it’s probably better that way. We walked back to the Village, got dressed and went back to the Inn to find out that all of our stuff was still there, just lying on the floor…

In one of the room we found Aleb hanging by the neck and his daughter… Brother, what they did to his daughter is unspeakable. Both were dead, Aleb probably by his own hand, not able to cope with what happened to his daughter.

Jarlax had left with the bugbear, cleaving two of his men in half in his escape. We learned later that we had been cursed by Valoic, the Wind of the North, because it turned out Aleb had served us one of the guard as a punishment for what they did to his daughter and cannibalism apparently makes you turn into an animal at night… Or a kind of half-animal, half-human creature… Let’s just say Harask was not too keen on hanging out with us after dark.

Alvito said we have to “right” the injustice to reverse the curse, so we set out to follow Jarlax and his men to bring justice to them for what they did to Aleb’s daughter. During the next couple of nights we were attacked by powerful and weird creatures, asking us to join them or die. We defeated them twice, Mave turned into a fox and got killed in the second fight and, for some reason, was brought back to life, the curse seemingly gone.

That morning we got apprehended by a regiment of Next Town guards. The bailiff brought us in jail for the night, just to be sure we would not turn and try to kill them all. I can’t say I blame him. Gordo was able to hide and avoid spending the night in jail while Harask welcomed the warm bed and slept through it all.

I was in a cell with the sheriff of Nextown, who they knew was turning into a wolf at night. Well we both turned that night, but not into wolves, more into a half-wolf form. While talking to him that night, I realized he had a lot to do with what happened to Aleb’s daughter, and was eager to do it again to someone else. Alvito, overhearing our conversation, suggested it might be a good time to try and bring justice upon someone who had done wrong.
So I did.

My first arrow was for Aleb’s daughter, wich is probably why it hit so hard and true. I thought I had killed him but he was a more formidable foe than I expected. I gave a good fight, but I would not be alive if it were not for Alvito who was able to disappear from his cell and reappear next to mine and heal me or Mave that was able to strike the final blow by throwing his javelin through two sets of bars!

Once the sheriff died, we could feel the curse being lifted. It transformed my bracers, Mave’s javelin, Alvito’s windrose and Gordo’s armor, but it seems like we are no longer cursed.
After the battle, the guards restrained Alvito and brought him in the town square to hang him. They blame the Believers for the whole “people turning into wild animals” thing. After they left, Gordo was able to make his way in and get all of us out of there. We made it to the town square thinking we would try to save Alvito, but when they got the rope around his neck, Gordo pointed out how composed and serene he was. Since we saw him disappear and reappear as he wished earlier that day, we figured he might just be able to get out of there by himself and we decided to wait and see what would happen.

Sure enough, he turned into an Owl and just left! We followed him out of the city and he came to us in owl form. When we said we would go North, he just flew due North himself and we haven’t seen him after that.

On our way we came upon a boat on the river, merchants from the East. They make a fortune by selling rare items and magical weapons to competing warlords. They have some very interesting things for sale and we are now trying to decide what we should buy with our limited resources.
We are safe, for now.

I said adventuring with those guys seemed like an interesting idea, well now it’s the only choice I have. I doubt Jarlax will forgive my escape anytime soon and he probably sent people after us when he noticed we were gone. I can’t say I am not happy to finally be free of the warlord, I should have left the ranks a long time ago.

Let’s just hope we will be ready for them when they catch up with us…

Regdar

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