Travel Log – preamble
My recent disagreements with Reeta have become intolerable and I fear we are at an impasse. While technically my boss her ability to discipline me is greatly mitigated by my family connection. She is not an Ironglas and my family is nothing if not Nepotistic, even to their black sheep. I have decided to save her the trouble and take a sabbatical from Ironglas Alchemicals. It amuses me to ponder if the family will be more pleased I’ve disappeared or more angered. Some robust mix of the two I suspect. Reeta may be left with the blame I’m afraid, but I’ve little compassion for that myopic bean counter. “Can’t spare a bundle of Hosentel leaves” indeed. Can you spare your chief alchemist? Hah!
Travel Log 1
Cultivating my contact within the Overland Trading Company has appears to have paid off handsomely. Not only was I able to negotiate travel out of the city the obsidian offered me a job! I am to be the cook, and apparently wizard, to a small group of investigators traveling to the Yachetch Liferock. Apparently there has been little to no contact with the settlement since shortly after the great monolith accident a couple months past. Perhaps the families from there are still mourning the lost?
This morning I met the investigators, a colorful bunch. A pair of elves, brother and sister or lovers I cannot guess, but that is typical with their kind. A bubbly windling and a somber troll. I was disappointed to find not a dwarf among them but decided this would prove an excellent opportunity to learn some about the cuisines of their various cultures. I’m particularly curious about troll comfort foods. I’ve read they are able to turn the tough Begger’s Root into a hearty soup. Breakfast at their inn was the usual tolerable fare. It’s as if not a soul in Tansiarla has heard of Rosenmar, nevermind Thymeleaf.
Travel Log 2
We spent the day investigating the monolith tragedy two months earlier. Leveraging our OTC medallions we garnered an audience with mage formerly in charge of the project but gained little useful information. Wracked with guilt over the accident both he and his home were disheveled. I admit it embarrasses me when outsiders witness a dwarf in such a state, I was in a hurry to depart the sad man. From there it was a short walk to the site of the fallen monoliths. Small brown mushrooms grew in abundance. They looked similar enough to zim buttons so I gathered a nice sack. I’m wary to use them without getting an expert opinion. Zem mushrooms, commonly known by their more colorful name ‘throat closers’ look similar to zims in their unripened state. Zylaa, our fae elementalist, was able to scout the site from the air and used her magic to wake the local grass spirits. She learned that three possible saboteurs were present the night before the magical explosion. All three came from the city but only two returned, one left the site by way of the woods to the east. Later at the docks we spoke briefly with the chief of the bridge building project and then spent the rest of the afternoon and a good portion of our OTC gold to arrange passage across the Serpent.
Travel Log 3
Making landfall after dusk we set up camp. We traveled with half dozen obsidians through the forest to their liferock while the troll contingent outpaced us moving on ahead. This tribe of trolls is loosely allied with the obsidians and makes their camp a half days journey to the south of the liferock, our destination. The forest was dank and humid. All the trip we caught glimpses of a local species of monkey while at dusk their hoots and calls grew near deafening. Alas we were unable to catch one for the dinner pot. My own spiced meats ran out quickly and by the end of the week I was forced to subsist on the dry biscuit and hard tack the OTC had ridiculously called trail rations. My opinion of their generosity has taken a great fall, perhaps an irredeemable one.
Travel Log 4
I found obsidian elder in charge to be an odd creature. Stressing his distrust of us and urge to secrecy he rapidly fell into disclosing everything he had initially hidden. By his report the obsidians had recently unearthed an undiscovered Kaer to the north. It was filled with some type of hunger horrors, perhaps hundreds of them. I am unfamiliar with them but the elven swordsman seemed quite knowledgeable on the subject and knew their kind. These abominations harried the obsidian settlement every couple nights and had been depleting their numbers. On the matter of labor sent to Tansiarla’s docks he admitted they had sent only three but was surprised we had heard nothing from them in intervening month. With little debate we decided to search for the missing obsidians first and put off checking into the breached Kaer until after. Frankly, I was quite relieved. I have no delusions of the outcome of our petty handful facing off against hordes of monstrosities. Perhaps once the business of the missing obsidians is settled I can report back to the city while the others valiantly march to their heroic doom.
Travel Log 5
For people made of rock the obsidians had a decently stocked larder and to their credit opened it freely to us. It took much of the morning but I was able to cook up the best meal we’ve had all week, and very likely the best meal this settlement has tasted in some time. With our bellies full we plunged back into the forest. A brief but intense thundershower in the morning left the forest road misty and damper than the previous week. I had lamented the rocky path on the route to the liferock but now added to that was patches of spongy ground where the dirt was trying its damnedist to transform to bog. A couple nights in we came upon a huge swath cut through our path. Upon some examination my companions, whom I’ve begun to see as more worldly than I, recognized these as signs of a large slimy snail-like creature native to this climate. We moved on and made camp a few miles further east.
Travel Log 6
Well, the night we just had was adventurous! I’m glad to be alive and in considerably more awe of the fighting prowess of my companions, well most of them at least. Surprisingly the big troll went down quick and hard. I fault him not though as I would not have lasted a second longer against the sword that struck him and the brute wielding it. In my excitement I start in the middle. Forgive me dear reader, I am not used to such… excitement? Is that what I feel?
I was dreaming of the sweetrolls of Silvers street, but in my dream they were somehow baked underwater by skrang pirates. Oh, nevermind.. Shaken awake from my deep slumber I was told in a harsh whisper “trouble”. I was intrigued to see how my martial companions would dispatch the danger so grabbed my staff and stretched. Thankful for the very uncomfortable leather armor I’d been told I must sleep in. Nearby I heard En, the elven male in parlay with a trio of possibly the ugliest orks I’ve laid eyes upon. The rest of our group quietly but surely moved to back him up. It didn’t take to guess at the orks’ game. They intended to extort us for the rest of our coin, either to hire them as guards or bribe them to leave us be. In my head I had already spent that coin over several times on various meats and vegetables for the meals of weeks to come. I had no intention of seeing wasted on these ruffians.
Things were becoming more tense by the second and I reached out to add some bolstering magic onto the En’s armor. In the next instant everything exploded in spurting blood. The biggest ork swung and sank his huge sword wide and deep across our troll friend cutting him to the heart. I staggered back mumbling ineffectively my protective charms. One of the brutes charged towards me and as my spell failed on my lips I fell to a desperate plea. I offered the ork 5 pieces of gold to aim his attack at his leader. He paused and I was amazed. I’ve never been a smooth talker. I switched my speech to orkish, something I’d picked up in the brothels of Bartertown, unfortunately not the only thing. I asked his name. An odd expression ran across his face draining it of the remainder of hostility. Somehow during this desperate banter with my new acquaintance I managed to keep my focus enough on the brute to throw a few arcane darts at him. From above I saw Zylaa doing similar. En was holding his own against the beast proving a capable swordsman. I felt one of them, I felt dirty and tough, and.. dangerous! Then the third brute, now to my left split open from neck to lower arm with a blow so fast and deft I could not see it strike. The poor sod dropped to the dirt and in his place stood the sword dancer Owen. Their leader was now alone and feel quickly despite his bulk.
Over the next couple hours Zylaa cut and stiched up the troll, spoon feeding him enchanted gruel. I would have bet a fine dinner at Tressels that no one could survive the blow he had taken, and I would have lost. The troll breathed, and more returned to consciousness seemingly unbothered by his grievous wound. Perhaps it is true what they say, Death itself has lost some of his grip trapped below his namesake sea. From Vrong, the surviving ork we learned that the obsidians had been taken by a giant snail like creature. We had our direction now. After a well-earned lunch we will set on the monster’s trail.