Travel Log 1
I arrived in the alley, curious to meet this S’rilio Montebanche. Dorn and Olwen were there as well. En had taken off to deal with some horror business. I don’t know where the hell Boaz was. A small, rather scrawny brown-haired human male was also present. He claimed to be a Questor of Garland but Olwen, skilled in social subterfuge, saw through the disguise. Tacit was actually a
thief … er … adventurer.
S’rilio was a portly middle-aged T’Skrang merchant. Past experience has shown me you’re always in for an interesting time when you deal with the T’Skrang but I won’t repeat the story of my ride in a hot air balloon with a rather dashing young T’Skrang male. S’rilio offered a generous sum of 150 silver a day for each of us to guard a boat full of toys. The toys were to be delivered to various ports along the Serpent River. My ears perked up when he mentioned the company supplying the toys was called “Little Dreams.” Word on the street is that Little Dreams is quietly connected to the nephew of the King of Throal and used as a front to smuggle arms to the resistance. I suspect there is more to these “toys” than there appears to be. Well, so be it. Thera is a threat to all Barsavians and if we can make money in the process, so much the better.
After a brief converstion with Grindo, the captain of the Grasshopper, we left the tavern only to be assaulted by a bunch of dwarves. They sneered racial slurs at us as they attacked. They outnumbered us (typical bullies) and when I saw my companions all take wicked hits I started to worry. Fortunately it was at that moment that Boaz finally caught up with us. I watched with satisfaction as two of the dwarves were seared with a blast of magical flame. Olwen’s blade skewered the leader and he slumped over, coughing blood. The others turned tail and ran.
I loudly complained to the town watch that a windling, troll, elf and human minding our own business had been viciously attacked by the racist dwarven majority in this town, but an interrogation of our attackers turned up a different truth. They had been paid by a dwarf named Armand to eliminate us. A dwarf with a milky eye, his beard worn in braids. I recognized the description. Armand is rumored to be an associate of the Theran Kingdom.
We retired to a different hotel and I pulled on the threads of elemental fire to infuse my companions food with healing magic. The Grasshopper sails tomorrow morning. I wonder what adventures await us on the Serpent River?
Travel Log 2
I soared high above the water, my wings riding on the breezes of the Serpent River. The feeling of flight is a freedom like no other. The wind caressing your body, the sky opening into infinite possibilities, worries falling away like leaves. My fellow windlings know the joy of which I speak. Sometimes I wish I could stay up here forever.
Reality came crashing back in the form of a swift-moving vessel on an intercept course with the Grasshopper. I recognized the banner – House K’tenshin – infamous Serpent River pirates and allies of the Theran Empire. I returned to the Grasshopper.
A short debate ensued as to whether we should pay the bakshevas (river tolls), or fight the pirates off. We opted for combat. I wove threads of air armor around the party the K’tenshin ship pulled up with ours.
A blast from their cannon blew a hole in our hull and killed two of our crew instantaneously. All hell broke loose. Dorn, in a move worthy of a sky raider, took a running leap and jumped from the deck of the Grasshopper to the K’tenshin vessel. He quickly downed their helmsman and one swing of his axe shattered their steering wheel.
Olwen swooped by, swinging from a mast rope. I was reminded of our circus days as she landed on the deck of the K’tenshin ship, her blade flashing in the afternoon sun.
The K’tenshin captain attempted to replicate Olwen’s move but he had not counted on the rest of us. His cocky smile turned into a grimace of pain as he was struck by Boaz’s mind missile, Tacit’s poisoned dagger and my earth darts. He swung back to his ship, limping and bleeding heavily. Olwen smiled like a woman seducing a man and then pierced him with her sword. The captain gasped and collapsed onto the deck.
I heard calls of “The captain is down!” as the K’tenshin T’Skrang began to retreat. Our crew had taken heavy losses and I immediately began tending to the injured. Even with my magical healing spells it was going to be a long day.
Travel Log 3
The most extraordinary thing happened today. As our boat sailed down the river, a great shadow fell over the ship. I looked up and saw a giant reptilian beast with leathery wings soaring across the sky.
I recalled stories of Vasdenjas, the great dragon that patrolled the Serpent River and one of the few dragons who did not automatically hate the namegiver races, though he had an intense dislike for Therans. As the creature passed low over our ship I shouted “Vasdenjas?”
The dragon’s head turned and I saw a glimmer of recognition. I can’t explain why I did what I did next. It was completely crazy. I went flying after him shouting “Vasdenjas! I want to talk with you!”
Incredibly, the creature slowed and came to rest on a cliff. How can I describe what I saw? Dun-colored scales tougher and stronger than any metal, a gigantic maw filled with razor sharp teeth that could snap our ship in two. As the dragon’s eye regarded me I could see that next to it I was as small as a gnat flying around a human.
I don’t remember a lot of our conversation. It felt like a surreal blur. But I was excessively respectful and polite. I told Vasdenjas that I heard he disliked the Therans and I also hated them. He said it was good to agree. He asked my name and I told him. That was a big point of pride – a great dragon knows Zylaa Glimmerwind!
As I returned to the ship and watched Vasdenjas’ form disappear into the horizon, it felt like my world had changed forever. This was a moment I would always remember. I found my heart beating faster with the hope I might see him again. Was I in love with a great dragon? Astendar help me.
Travel Log 4
We just unloaded the “toys” in K’Shane, the last drop-off point along the river before our final stop in V’strimon. A little investigation has revealed that the toys are in fact what we suspected earlier – a cover for smuggled arms to the Barsaivian resistance.
So it was with some alarm that I noticed the fires in K’Shane suddenly looked much larger and out of control than when we had left the city just ten minutes before. I flew toward the village, taking a circuitous route so I might not be seen.
K’Shane was in chaos. The first thing that hit me was the sickeningly sweet smell of burning flesh. The T’Skrang were running in terror and bodies littered the village. A pair of windlings flitted from hut to hut, setting them on fire. An Obsidiman was weaving a spell which I recognized as elementalism. A large troll stood in the middle of the village, cutting down helpless T’Skrang with his axe. Lastly, an orc sat in a nearby canoe, chuckling at the carnage.
I scrutinized their clothing, jewelry and mannerisms. This quintet was a Theran death squad. No doubt sent to wipe out the villagers who dared smuggle weapons to the resistance.
I turned and flew back toward the Grasshopper to alert the others as the fires of K’Shane cast writhing lights across the night waters. We were on a collision course with the Theran Empire and the first impact was about to happen.