Kingdom of Arboria, Year 2, Month 9
The second day of the exploration of the ruins of Varynhold
In the end, it was a near thing. The gnomebarians had spread oil on the rooftop and were about it light it aflame when Shella and I dispatched the last two. As they collapsed, the oil lit. Shella began fighting it with her magical water creation, and Raven appeared out of nowhere with a bucket. I… I'd like to say I helped, but mostly I fumbled down a rope and nearly lit myself on fire. In the end it was Narzeth, who had the foresight to fill his haversack with water, who doused the fire and saved the day.
The combat was not without a toll. Once the battle finished, Shella looked as if she was pretty well spent. Kris has poisoned spike wounds in his feet, although he seems to be holding up ok. Raven, of course, is more dour than ever, and Narzeth is in a sour mood along with her. Still, the mood has cheered considerably as we've, ah, salvaged the useful items from this garrison. We've found considerable spoils from the fight, including several magical weapons. Perhaps more valuable is a torn but still decipherable map of the holdings of Varynhold that will make exploration to the south significantly easier.
Unfortunately, most of the durable goods have either been burned (in the case of the furniture), eaten (in the case of the homing pigeons), or broken (in the case of, well, everything else). Despite the filth ande destruction, we did find a storeroom filled with useable supplies.
In any case, it is now late and we are about to retire to the relative safety of the stockade tower. Kris and I are wary of whatever it is that has been watching us these past few nights.
The third day of the exploration of the ruins of Varynhold
Horrors! It is, by my estimate, five of the morning, and the sky is finally lightening to the east. I write by candlelight to keep myself awake. The adversary we're standing watch against makes yesterday's assault on the gnomebarians look like a pleasure hike. Daylight will be welcome respite.
Shortly after my watch ended and Kris's began, we were surprised by a phantom, or a shadow… something not natural. Gelros calls it a soul eater (cheery name, yes?) and claims it is not of this plane of existence. I can believe it. The creature seeps through walls as if they were merely sheets of water or mist. It attacked us in our bunkroom and dealt Gelros some horrid internal wound with it's ethereal claws. Gelros awoke screaming, and that is what woke the rest of us.
Conventional weaponry was of little use unless enchanted; my falchion did nothing. Fortunately, Jaric was able to place a sort of ward upon most of the party; his ward prevented the creature from attacking further, while Narzeth and Raven drove it off with their arcane magic.
Temporarily only. The creature was back again within a few minutes, and again sought out Gelros. This time we were ready with our best weapons, and we drove it off again. It proved impossible to track; it simply disappeared into the night. None of us have slept since then, although the creature hasn't made a third appearance.
The sky is lightening, and I am so tired. I spoke with the others, and we plan to sleep until afternoon to recover some strength and give Gelros a chance to heal. Tonight we'll be ready.
Later that same day
The day has been uneventful. We woke in the late afternoon and searched several more buildings, including what appears to have been a gemcutter's house (ransacked and torn down to the frame) and a wizard's hamlet. We found a small box that Narzeth claims is a "folding boat" (sounds fantastical; I'll believe it when I see it) and the mangled journal of one Wiless Gunderson, ranger of Varynhold, with some interesting tidbits of information:
- There is a tribe of centaurs to the east who have been troublesome
- Apparently Gunderson found a "bracelet by the river" but the rest of the page was missing
- One torn out page contained only a single symbol, which Gelros identified as a rune to ward off bad luck
This night I prepared a campfire wall. It is a trick I learned the mechanics of long ago from my adoptive Elven family, but I had never been able to execute it properly until tonight. It requires careful preparation of the circle with thorn ash and linking with a campfire in the center, and I still don't really know why it works. Nevertheless, we are now protected within a sphere of crackling flame. If the phantom tries to reach us tonight it will find us a harder target.