Kingdom of Arboria, Year 2, Month 9
The third day of the exploration of the ruins of Varynhold
The search is growing tedious. We should have left the granary alone. It turned out to be full of nothing but rotting grain, rats, and rat carcasses. Moreover, Narzeth, Raven and myself were all bitten by the rats as we drove them off, and all of us feel some horrid disease coming on. I almost burned the place down just to cleanse the town of the filth, but in the end Jaric talked me out of it, somehow. I can't recall why.
We subsequently searched a house, where we found a well-kept loom and a half-starved calico cat. I convinced her to come with us; perhaps she will be useful. If nothing else, she deserves more than a subsistence on diseased rats, which appears to be what she has been eating.
Another house yielded a hidden chamber with a studry wooden box containing an artisan dinnerware set. Looks… attractice, if fragile and mostly useless for practical eating, but Gelros assures me it is valuable. There is also a note that the set was intended for King Noleski Suratova's eldest daughter, so whoever owned this home must have either been well-connected or aspired to be.
A third house was the home of a tailor… but I am rambling. From this and several other dwellings, we recovered nothing of note.
Toward mid-afternoon we found the town blacksmith, which sits near livestock pens previously filled with horses. When we arrived, however, there was nothing alive but a swarm of carrion fowl. These we were forced to fight off as well, and, like the rats, it was unpleasant. Raven and Gelros both sustained injuries to their eyes and are temporarily blind. Raven looks miserable.
The blacksmith itself is undamaged and will make valuable salvage, but we are no closer to uncovering what really happened here. It is now nearing dusk and we've retired to our campsite for the night. Gelros has fortified Shella with some type of magic that will allow her to stay awake while she sleeps, so we will be ready. (Don't ask me how that works; some kind of trace maybe.) I'll write more tomororow. Here's to a peaceful evening.
The fourth day of the exploration of the ruins of Varynhold
Well. I hope we can finally put that soul-eater thing behind us. It arrived again, toward midnight, and went straight for Gelros despite our fire barrier. As I mentioned, we were prepared, but even so everything happened so fast that we almost lost Gelros. The… thing arrived and struck Gelros twice with it's claws; from his reaction it was clearly dealing more than just physical damage. Jaric awoke but was too far away to cast his protective spells before the creature attacked again. (Mental note: next time make sure the priest beds down next to the known target he wished to protect.)
At the end, a number of things happened almost at once. The soul eater attacked again, knocking Gelros to the ground. Jaric stood and began scrambling over. The creature reared back and seemed poised to attempt some type of coup-de-grace, but Shella (mostly) and Kris (a bit) at that exact moment rent it into shreds. In a matter of seconds, the unnatural screams had died down, the shadows had dispersed, and it was over.
We were quite shaken, as you might imagine. Gelros was staring blankly, unresponsive. Jaric examined Gelros and accounced he had a wound to his psyche which was beyond his power to heal until he prepared special magic. We did what we could to make him comfortable, and then rested fitfully until morning. Fortunately, by mid-morning, Jaric had restored Gelros to his usual commanding self. He also healed Raven of her blindness. We all still feel ill, though, having yet to shake off the effects of the rat-borne diseases.
Of the rest of the exploration, there is only a little to report. I spoke with the calico cat (don't look at me like that; can't everyone speak with cats?) and she told us her "feeders went away at red sun time" (dawn? dusk?) with the "bird song" and she knows nothing else. She does seem to be a good mouser; I'm taking her back to the farm. Also, she likes fish. We searched the local church of Erastil and found several quite powerful magical scrolls that Jaric can make use of.
The most intriguing find to date was the Inn. The Inn showed signs of struggle, in addition to the normal signs of benign abandonment: a dead spriggen was in the corner, and the front door is scratched with the single word "Nomen," which is apparently the name of that Centaur tribe to the east. Of greater interest is that we appear to have found the notes and belongings of Gelros' old professor, Maestro Ervil Pendrod, who we have been looking for. From his journal, it seems he was invited to research the jade bracelet that Gunderson discovereed. There are several sketches and notes; it appears this artifact has something to do with pre-historic centaur migrations?
Frankly, I was more interested in Pendrod's geography books. Of note, one volume was dog-eared at a passage about an island named Vordakai's Island with riches and some kind of guardian; a marginal note mentioned it might be a centaur God? Intriguing. Still, none of this has explained what became of the town's inhabitants.
I fear we will leave without a satisfactory explanation, and I hestitate to recommend that we claim the town for Arboria until we know what happened and can prevent it in the future. Ah well. For now, to rest and prepare for the journey home.
- Killed Rat Swarm (5400 XP)
- Killed Mass Murder of Crows (4800 XP)
- Killed Soul Eater (4800 XP)
- 37 gp, 52 sp, 114 cp
- The professor's books (worth 500 GP to his academy)
- A viola, with case (by a master craftsman, worth 2,000 GP)
- Cure Serious Wounds (x3), Remove Paralysis (x3), Restoration (x1), Break Enchantment (x1), Raise Dead (x1), Breath of Life (x1)
- The map counts as exploring hexes w/in 2 squares of Varynhold
- (3,11) is plains (150 XP), infested w/ spiders
- (4,11) is hills (150 XP)
- (4,12) is plains (150 XP), infested w/ bulettes
- (5,10) is mountains + river (150 XP)
- (5,11) is plains (150 XP)
- (6,11) is hills (150 XP)
- (6,10) is mountains (150 XP)
- (6,9) is hills + lake (150 XP), vast fields of mineral-enriched mud