Thursday, 21 February 2013

Session 2 (Saerdir's words)

[Excerpt from Saerdir's personal log, written in his tidy, economical handwriting]

It's been two days since we fled Glass bearing diplomatic papers to Necropolis. It's been a challenging journey, spent in challenging company. Where to begin...

After resting for the night in Baldwick's only inn, we set off to bandit raiders of the imaginatively named Cave of Fire. I say "we"; we lost Prince Erik to a midnight fertility festival and subsequent revelry, and Ikki's restless bloodlust had him leaving ahead of us. Faced with two dull-witted guards, we were able to talk our way into the cave and into a meeting with the leader of the bandits. He called himself The Red Dragon, although in truth a human-dragon hybrid. We offered him his life. He displayed little interest in it.

I can't give a proper report of the events of the fight; despite my best efforts the bandits swarmed me and one of them landed a telling blow with his axe. For the second time, I owe my continued health (such as it is) to the druid Tallyn. I know I have become stronger since our flight from Glass, but in that moment, lying prone in that sweltering cavern, with the hybrid gloating above me, I felt as weak as I have ever been. Of course, the next moment saw me kill the braggart with a single spellstrike, so my ego may yet recover. Keissa's "kitten" killed the last of The Red Dragon's guards, after which the remainder of the bandits accepted defeat with an oddly unsurprised resignation.

We found Ikki in the room with the captive villagers from Baldwick. I took him for dead at first, and I think that he came as close to death as a mortal can. I don't know which is more disturbing; listening to him prattle madly about earning the favour of The Ravenous, or the notion that he does actually have the favour of one of the Six. Let us hope he is just lucky. In any case, he and I have been restored to full health by the healers of Baldwick. Given that, it would be ungracious for me to criticize the hospitality of the town; nonetheless, the mayor of Baldwick accepted the bandits into his village and promptly forgot his promise about offering us a reward based on the number of them we brought to him alive. We left shortly afterwards.

As I write this, we are currently camped in a forest clearing one day's ride out from Baldwick, half way between Glass and Gateway. Prince Erik is attempting to sleep off a hangover, and we have been given specific instructions not to wake him under any circumstances. Thael and I have completed our trances and are relieving Keissa and Suchi of their watch. Ikki is lurking unseen somewhere, as he enjoys doing. I am musing over the text that Hexidor's contact left me, along with the letter that gave me the name of my sword, Avernus. I am filled with trepidation, unsure

[Saerdir's writing stops here. The page is bloodstained. It resumes further down the page, in an untidy scrawl.]

Son of a bitch shot me while I was writing! What the hell!?

[The remainder of the text is written in neater script.]

There is more at work than just the necromancers that attacked Glass. Another faction, bearing hellish iconography and commanding assassins and fiendish wolves attacked our camp. We were able to interrogate one of the hired would-be killers, but gained little information from the man; his tongue had been removed, and a vampire overseeing the attack attempted to silence him further with an arrow before Ikki saw her off. Thael may have learned more from speaking to one of the hell-hounds, calmed by Tallyn, but the fiend seemed nearly as uncommunicative as the mute. Ikki claims they were sent to attack "the bearers"; I assume that he gathered intelligence from one of the fallen assassins, since I prefer that explanation to his claims of divine inspiration. Is this new faction aligned with the one that attacked Glass, seeking to prevent us from delivering our diplomatic missive? Or is there another agenda at work here? I fear this journey will tolerate no more weakness from us.

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