Lenoria's Journal

Rage and Raven

Record of Lenoria, Lightbearer of Imtiau

Kalimsport. If there is any city where my fortunes may change, it may be here.

My path has taken me farther than home than I ever thought possible. But whenever my thoughts start to linger on Tipoli, the faces of those damned Hawks obscure all else.

At times, I wonder what my great-grandmother would think of me: a self-exiled priestess of Imtiau leaving the land of her birth. Would she look over the events of the past year and see my struggles to preserve the faith of our family? To embrace the path of the Raven while under the unbending gaze of Arkal’s Hawks? I admit that I was quick to act and quicker still to speak out. But once I drew their attention, I had no moment of peace.

I must be free, not shackled by the priests of Arkal. So I look to the city around me and pray that the wings of the Goddess bless my way.

1 Awakening 508
On this sacred day of change, Imtiau has indeed set Her hand upon me.

I had chanced upon a pair of well-dressed Sianaen merchants in the common room of a local inn. While initially pleased to converse in my own tongue again, it quickly became apparent that we shared little else than language. The talk grew heated as it turned towards topics of home, both men growing even angrier as I clearly spoke my mind. One last comment proved too sharp for civility between us and I found myself forced to flee.

The men gave chase, brandishing clubs and hurling insults at my back. I briefly thought I was fortunate enough to lose the two, but then found myself at the end of a narrow alley from which there was no egress. With bitterness in my heart, I turned to face the merchants. Had I traveled so far from home only to endure the same torments?

Suddenly, a huge shape emerged from a small alcove that I had not noticed in my haste. For a moment, I despaired that even more trouble lay before me. But as the figure spoke, my luck began to finally turn. He was Northron, younger than I first thought, and easily wielded a large ax. In Tradespeak, he questioned why two men were chasing a woman into an alley. The merchants first attempted to persuade the young man to ignore the situation at hand, then, sensing that the situation was not favorable, they tried to retreat.

The Northron refused to let the merchants scuttle back to their ship. The fight that ensued was not particularly graceful, and I cracked my mace with a particularly ill-timed swing, but after a few moments only the young man and myself were left standing. He quickly searched the merchants’ clothing, finding two jingling pouches. Rising, the young man introduced himself as Rhain. I gave my name in return. Holding up the pouches, Rhain suggested we find a nearby tavern in which to rest ourselves and split the coins.

We ended up at the Two Talismans. (I, not wanting to immediately return to the inn from which I had so recently fled, and Rhain confessing that he had been banished from a nearby establishment for brawling) As Rhain and I talked, two travelers entered and sat down next to our table.

The woman was well armored and looked like she could handle herself in a fight. The young man was animatedly trying to convince his companion to explore some caverns outside of Kalimsport. He obviously thought that his conversation was a private one between the two of them, but the noise of tavern made it impossible for him to keep his voice low.

Rhain’s green eyes met mine at the talk of treasure. Impulsively, I learned forward and asked if we should try to join their small adventuring group. Rhain asked if that meant we were a team. It was a good question. Should I throw in my lot with this Northron I had just met mere hours before? Was this the change for which I prayed? I agreed that yes, we were a team. Rhain seemed pleased. Perhaps he had also been looking for a new path to follow.

While Rhain suggested beating the pair of adventurers to the caverns and taking the treasure for ourselves, it was apparent that we didn’t have enough information or knowledge of the area to make the attempt. I leaned across the space between our tables and addressed the young man, asking if we might all speak about these caverns. He looked flustered, but I managed to smooth any ill feelings when I suggested that they might use our help. Rhain and I joined tables with the two adventures, who introduced themselves as Alun and Kerra. When I announced myself as a Priestess of Imtiau, Rhain looked visibly shocked. While I wished he had been more subtle, it is no great surprise to me that my holy symbol and tattoos mean little to those outside of Sianae.

Alun and Kerra, (they were brother and sister as fate would have it), agreed for us all to work together in this adventure. We settled on an inn to stay the night, then all four of us headed into the thick of Kalimsport to enjoy the new year’s celebrations. Everywhere we passed there were musicians and jugglers and food and other amazements to see and enjoy. Rhain tried each game of chance and skill, winning several small trinkets for his efforts, although none of the small prizes seemed to much satisfy the Northron.

When he learned of an axe-throwing contest, Rhain became quite enthusiastic and paid the fee to enter. He was one of two contestants at the end, but his last axe did not strike true. His spirit seemed to leave him at the loss. Rhain entered another contest, a caber toss. Again, his skill took him to the very last round. He seemed to be in a frenzy to win the event. Rhain came and knelt before me and asked to take the blessing of Imtiau. The reverential gesture from the young Northron was unexpected, yet pleased me. Luck was not upon him however, and his last toss fell short. Rhain fell to his knees and let out an anguished howl.

His mood shifted and for the rest of the evening Rhain was moody and withdrawn. I know not why the contests affected him so deeply. Clearly, there are depths to my new friend that I have yet to learn. After enjoying more of the music and dancing, Alun proving to be fairly light on his feet, we returned to our inn to rest before the adventures of the next day. Before I laid down to sleep, I said a special prayer to Imtiau for the luck that befell me today. I will leave Kalimsport in the morning with a new purpose.

2 Awakening 508
At dawn we left the city.

Alun and Kerra were on foot, so Rhain and I both were required to hold our own steeds back as not to leave them behind. Firebrand was displeased about the slow pace, but I kept him under tight rein. Alun led us away from Kalimsport, heading to the southwest. After a few hours of travel, Alun gestured for the rest of us to stop. The ground ahead had grown rocky and somewhat treacherous for us to traverse. The scout cautiously made his way forward, searching for the small crevasse he had found days before.

It was not long before Alun returned. He had located it. This time, however, he heard movement in the darkness below. Taking what was needed from the horses, we followed Alun to the hole. I picked up a small piece of loose rock and cast Imtiau’s light upon it. I dropped the rock into the crevasse, illuminating a stone floor with a mosaic pattern. As we watched, there was a sudden movement and a strange lizard-like creature came into view. It glared up at us and hissed, showing a disturbing amount of pointed teeth. Then it was gone.

After lowering a knotted rope into the hole, Rhain was the first to descend. There was no sign of the creature so the rest of us climbed down as well. The room in which we found ourselves contained a shallow pool in its center. One wall was covered with an ominous mural of lizard creatures prostrating themselves before shadowy figures descending from the sky. No one could hazard a guess at its meaning.

For hours we made our way through corridors and chambers. Fortunately Alun proved to be quite skilled at opening locked doors. We came across several groups of the lizard men of which Rhain made short work. We found several other rooms that were similar to the first, empty except for pools of water and strange murals. As time went on, Rhain began to complain about the distinct lack of treasure. I had to agree. The creatures wore little more than tattered loincloths. It looked like the most we might win for our efforts were a few javelins.

Rounding a turn in one corridor, we suddenly came across a portcullis. Peering through, we could see one of the lizard creatures sitting upon a ramshackle throne of bones. It wore a skull headdress and was guarded by an incredibly hulking member of its species. As the other creature moved forward, the lizard king motioned as us and spoke some words in a tongue that I could not understand. Its actions clearly affected Rhain and Kerra who seemed shaken and fearful. We retreated back to a larger room where we could make a more defensive stand.

The enormous lizard man emerged from the corridor, only to soon fall under our blades. We cautiously returned to stand just outside of the portcullis. I cast Imtiau’s blessing upon Rhain, who then quickly darted into the room, casting the weapon straight at the lizard king. The javelin struck true, pinning the creature to its makeshift throne. Rhain roared in triumph. We searched out the room carefully. Perhaps here of all places we would discover a treasure hoard? Luck was still not with us and we found only a couple of keys upon the creature’s corpse. Perhaps they would prove useful later. Although we explored for several more hours, we still found nothing of interest. Eventually, our small group decided to return above ground to make camp for the night.

3 Awakening 508
This morning, there was a brief discussion about whether or not to continue on. However, the lure of potential treasure drew us back to the chambers below. We had only one unexplored area left to search: a earthen side-tunnel that led down into the darkness. As we descended, two huge multi-legged insects dropped down onto Rhain and Alun from a hidden cleft in the ceiling. The creatures had fearsome mandibles that dripped some sort of fluid. Luckily, none of our group came in direct contact with the liquid. Once slain, the insects curled up into dark chitinous balls.

As we moved on, the earthen tunnel ahead sprouted hundreds of slender stalagmites and stalactites. It made for slow going as we had to weave around the stone outcroppings. Around a corner came the sound of approaching voices, although it was impossible to tell what tongue they spoke. I cast Imtiau’s blessing upon one of my sling bullets, sent it skittering around the corner, then began to invoke Her guidance upon us. As we hid in the darkness, we saw two strange figures approach the light. They resembled dwarves in many aspects, however their skin was a dull grey and their eyes were so dark they seemed to absorb the light. Rhain threw a javelin at one of the grey dwarves, hoping to catch it by surprise, but missed.

The dwarves rushed forward to attack. Rhain proved quite adept at tripping and disarming our foes, while Alun and Kerra managed to fell them. Rhain seemed slightly off-put by not striking the killing blows himself, but examining the bodies revealed that they not only had decent weapons and armor, they also had pouches containing some gold coins. As this was the closest we had yet come to discovering treasure, I think we all felt that perhaps our fortune was finally turning.

We continued down the tunnel and soon heard more voices and the snap of a whip. Three more of the dark dwarves came into our light, guarding five creatures in chains: three goblins, a lizard man, and a strange dark-skinned elf. The battle with the dwarves was fierce, but we prevailed. As soon as the dwarves had fallen, Rhain approached the chained prisoners. Without hesitation, he killed the lizard man with one blow. He turned to the other prisoners and tried to communicate with them in Tradespeak. The dark elf replied in a language that none of us understood. Upon a closer look, we could see that the elf’s eyes were pure white. Strange looking dwarves, now an even stranger looking elf. If we continued to explore these underground tunnels, would we eventually find a forgotten nation of humans that lived deep beneath the earth?

We pondered what to do with the elf, eventually deciding to free him. Using a key found on one of the dead dwarves, Rhain unlocked his manacles. The elf cautiously backed away from us, then melted into the darkness. At Rhain’s suggestion, we decided to use the three goblins as porters. In addition to the belongings of the dead dwarves, we also found a small stash of equipment in the corner. Rhain threatened the goblins with death if they didn’t do as we asked, but also promised to free them if they behaved. I don’t know whether or not they truly understood him, but I was sure that the sight of his ax would keep them fearful of his wrath.

We traveled through the earthen tunnels, coming across several more of the grey dwarves. A pair of them guarded a barricade of sorts, next to which two pikes bore the heads of a pair of the dark-skinned elves. One tunnel branched off and continued down at a steeper angle. Far below, we could hear the sound of metal striking stone. A mine, perhaps? I felt like we could follow these paths deeper and deeper into the earth forever. There seemed to be no end to them. We decided that it was finally time to head back to the surface.

Along the way, we encountered some sort of hideous crab-like creature that clung to the tunnel ceiling and attacked us when we tried to pass. By the Goddess, I was ready to see the light of the sun again. While our goblin porters struggled under the weight of all of the gathered equipment, we slowly made our way back until we were once again in the mosaic-floored room. After we had managed to extract ourselves and our belongings, Rhain looked down onto the goblins and tossed the key to the manacles into the hole. He swore that he’d kill them if they tried to follow us. Although, since we pulled up the rope after us, I think there was truly little chance of pursuit.

We returned to Kalimsport shortly before sundown. We still had time to sell our “treasure” at the marketplace. While perhaps we didn’t find gems and magic items, we still made quite a profit from selling the armor and weapons. We decided to secure lodging at the Dragon’s Flagon once again. Much to the delight of the other patrons, Rhain bought a round of drinks for the entire common room. As we raised glasses to a successful adventure, we discussed where our paths would take us next. Rhain seemed content to stay in Kalimsport celebrating (and spending) his new fortune, until he found it necessary to earn more coin. Kerra and Alun expressed a desire to eventually head back to Crownpoint. My only wish was to go where the Goddess took me. Rhain and I decided that we would go to the marketplace in the morning to see what adventure might come our way. I didn’t know if the brother and sister pair would ask to join us or not. We would have to see.

As the night wore on and the drink continued to flow, Rhain expressed a desire for finding female companionship. Unfortunately, it didn’t appear that the Dragon’s Flagon allowed prostitutes to ply their trade inside the common room. Rhain turned to me and unexpectedly asked if my order also encompassed sexual relations. My reply to him was quite short, but he seemed to easily take it in stride. I went to my chambers soon afterwards. Having the word “whore” hurled at me too often in regards to my faith in the Goddess has made the subject a painful one.

4 Awakening 508
In the morning, Kerra and Alun announced that they would be returning home this day. Rhain seemed out-of-sorts that they had chosen to leave our small group, but I wished them safe journey. The brother and sister had proved to be good traveling companions and perchance our paths would cross again.

After a short breakfast, Rhain and I made our way to the marketplace to look for new opportunities. We found several offers of transporting cargo and other such menial tasks. However, after battling lizard-men and strange dwarves in underground tunnels, I daresay we both hoped for more exciting work. Finally, one merchant confided to me that a businessman named Talyk Skewes was always on the lookout for talent. Apparently, Skewes “held court” in The Enchanted Staff, an exotic rug shop. I felt this was an odd way to describe a rug merchant, but Rhain and I decided to investigate.

Outside The Enchanted Staff , a young man hawked rugs of every imaginable size and pattern. When we inquired about Skewes, the boy directed us inside. The interior of the shop was covered from floor to ceiling in woven rugs. I even noticed several that were of Sianaen craftsmanship. When we again asked to speak to Skewes, a clerk escorted us into a private room in the back of the establishment. Four men were within, but It was quite evident which one must be Master Skewes. He sat behind a large desk, his hands steepled before him. Although his fine clothing and soft features might have marked him as a simple merchant, I thought there was something hard about his eyes.

Introductions were made and then we got down to business. Skewes was indeed looking for “talent.” He was purposefully vague about some details of the job before us, saying that he had many rivals and would only give more information once we had committed to the adventure. Rhain questioned how a rug merchant would have so many rivals. Skewes only gave a oily smile and said that he had many fingers in many pies … and rugs were just one of them.

Rhain and I prepared for our journey. Rather than sell our horses, we decided to have the creatures stabled. I convinced the hostler to let us pay for a week of stabling, with the promise that he would refund us if we returned sooner. As we would be leaving at dawn, we also chose to move to an dock-side .

Lenoria's Journal

Shadows of the Rift pencilneckgeek typhoid_mary