Kardiak's Krypt

Ayden's prayers

Torag…
I been thinkin’ a lot lately and I must apologize to ye. I come close t’failin’ me oaths I gave as a shortbeard. I let a comrade fall afore I could help ‘er. She survived, and I’ve no doubt yer hand in th’ matter, but it’s weighin’ on me. Sure enough I fell as well in the fight, but tis my job to protect those without the sense you gave us earthen folk to wear the armor of yer bounty. We’ve not gotten far in the mines but the day wears on, of that there’s no doubt. I’m weary, but I kin hear sobs coming from ahead so I’ll not tarry any longer than I hafta. There be monsters in these mines, and sadly the worst of them all be the villagers. I’ll save the worthy, and send those who’d destroy such a place t’where they belong. If Ye happen to see me in yer halls soon, look affer lil Gilly and Hime fer me, They’re young yet and need the firm protection of yerself.

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Himeko's Log - Entry 3

Master,
After my last letter, my companions determined that the best course to pursue would be to excavate the entrance to the mine which stands at the center of the mystery of this town. I worked with Gilsa and the two Dwarves to clear the collapsed rock where we finally gained entry. Before we could go in, Tavarous came bearing sad news. Our companion, Artemis, had been waylaid in the night and killed. According to her journal, which a half(?) Orc named Greznok brought to us, she heard suspicious activity in the night and decided to follow. We can only guess at what happened. Greznok found Tavarous in the town and brought him Artemis’ things after he had buried her.

I didn’t know Artermis well, Master. We had hardly spoken, but she seemed a kindred spirit. Her stoic manner of accepting whatever befell her shall be missed. I wished we had had the time to look into the circumstances of her death more, but perhaps clearing up the mystery of the town will allow us to clear up her mystery as well. Regardless, my companions and I will do everything in our power to ensure her death has meaning.

As for Greznok, to me he looks like a small oni. He is horribly scarred and grizzled, leading me to think he has had a rough life. Fangs protrude from his lower lip. At first, I was very scared of him, but he seems gentle and kind, in spite of his scary appearance. From what Gilsa has told me, Orcs are frightening and violent, but Greznok does not seem that way at all. Perhaps he is not indicative of his Orcish background. He is more like a priest than a warrior. Also, he has a large dog that loyally follows him around. Animals are excellent judges of character, so I believe him to be a good man.

Speaking of dogs, once we gained access to the mine, we encountered sentries posted inside. It made little sense to me as to why they would be there. There was at least a ton of rock blocking the entrance and it took us a long time to clear it. Regardless, there was another “half-Orc” who was scary and the leader of the three other sentries who we fought with. They had three large dogs who had obviously been horribly mistreated. Though we had to kill two of them, I was able to tame the third. From what I’ve been told, large dogs like these are used as mounts by the small people called halflings, of which my friend Gilsa is one. I shall train this dog to be her mount as she does not have one. I know she will help heal the wounds on its soul as her own soul is gentle and kind.

As we progressed further into the mine, we found a small hole the Dwarves said had been opened by an earthquake. Gilsa was the only one small enough to go inside, and in a section that had been opened up, she found the body of a grimlock. This is apparently a sightless denizen of the underworld. I’ve not seen one yet, but the description was most unappealing. I hope we can avoid these. It seems this one carried a crude map and a warning for someone, though who it was trying to send it to was not apparent.

The map came in extremely handy. We used it to to start heading to the place where Ayden and Thorin think the cultists are residing. On our way, we encountered some large pests someone said were “stirges”. They looked to me like ka, just ka the size of cats! Master, the more I explore, the stranger the fauna here are to me.

Poor Silver, Tavarous’ large okami friend, and Gilsa got into more trouble further in. They were pulled up onto a ledge by something called a “choker”. From what I understand, it was an apt description, but again I did not see it. Torin assisted them and apparently there was no real danger because it seems the choker was relatively weak.

We now wait on a cliff just out of sight from our enemies. We are sitting in the dark trying to be silent to avoid letting them know of our presence. I’m writing this in the ambient light cast by the enemy’s camp. We can hear heavy things being dragged (by slaves I would venture), someone or a group of people crying in an area that looks to be a slave pen (grrrrrrr!), and some other noises that sound like a raucous group some little way off from us where we can’t see. As soon as we’ve rested, we plan on doing something about those who are crying. Their state and answers will determine how we treat those who put them in that situation. Wish us luck, Master!

Your student,
Himeko

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Himeko's Log - Entry 2

Master,
You would be proud of me today! I learned many things and faced many challenges. My companions and I are slowly unraveling the mystery surrounding this town, but it is challenging. We discovered a journal of one of the deceased inhabitants of this town amongst the things collected by a group of orcs we dispatched. Nasty creatures! They seem to despise everyone but their own kind. From what we can tell, they are moving into this territory because of the failing town, preying upon the poor inhabitants. Apparently the owner of the journal was one such unfortunate.

His journal went back many months and explained much of what we have seen and been puzzled about. My companions seem far more intelligent about the problems and have thus far laid good plans on how to deal with them. We hope we can resolve the situation soon, as it seems to become grimmer the more we learn. There is likely some sort of death cult amongst the humans here. I hope it is something from the outside affecting them. I’d hate to think the people of this area are that wicked on their own as they have committed many depredations. I’m concerned for them.

Ayden and Tavarous taught me about a creature similar to our okami called a lycanthrope. Apparently it isn’t born that way, but is made through the effects of a curse. From what I understand, it is a terrible thing to become a lycanthrope. Ayden assures me that the only thing that can be done for those affected is to “put them down like wild beasts” in his words.

Speaking of wild beasts, I saw a large, black cat on the outskirts of town. I tried to chase it, but it was too fast for me. I think it may be somehow involved in the mysteries, but I can’t explain why I think this. Torin had some dealings with it earlier, so it seems relatively tame or has been trained. It was still a beautiful animal. I wish I could have seen it more close-up.

Some of the townspeople here are acting very suspiciously. I think they mean us no good, but so far I haven’t caught them actually doing anything. I can only remain suspicious until proof presents itself.

Finally, we tracked down what we hope are the last of the orcs in the area. They were tough, but we dispatched them. This time I comported myself better as befits the training you gave this unworthy disciple.

I will write again when I can.

Peace be with you,
Himeko

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Friends?

September 14, 0300
So i’ve had some time to get to know some of my new companions. So far they all seem pretty decent folk. I may have found some kindered spirits to aid me in my crusade against evil. Time will tell I guess. So far, Gilsa, the halfling is just a hoot to be around. She reminds me of more carefree and happier days. Nothing seems to phase her. The strange human with the polearm is still much of a mystery since she appears not to talk, but I can tell her heart is kind. Himeko may be the one i have most in common with. As for the dwarves, both are pretty much like most of the dwarves i’ve met. Gruff, but honorable. The cleric of Torag seemed to take the “death” of the half-elf’s companion with a bit too much ease, especially since he did not know if the creature could return. I definitely understood his logic in not wasting the magic, but perhaps he was a bit callous about it. In the end it all worked itself out, although im not certain that Tavarous will be so easy to forget it. He seems smart and has an attractive personality, but he is a bit old. I wonder what brings him out adventuring.

September 14, 0445
I was just awoken by the sound of voices outside my home. I do not recognize the voices so i have nothing to go on at the moment other than they sounded suspicious. Time to suit up and see if i cant track them down.

September 15, 0522
I have finally tracked down the voices, they had moved quicker than I would have imagined. It appears they may be up to no good. Not sure what it is, but something seems very off. I shall follow them a bit longer. Lets hope they dont notice me. I’m a good shot, but i’m not sure i could take out all of them by myself.

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Trouble

Sep 6th 0100
So i’ve been putzing around this town trying to make heads or tails of it for a couple weeks now. They obviously need help, but have been remiss to send out envoys asking for it. Something about that strikes me as off, but not sure what. I’ll keep looking around and digging into whatever I can to try and unravel this little mystery.

Sep 12th 1530
A bunch of strangers arrived in town today, all within a few hours of each other and all coming from different directions. I’m not sure what to make of this. Perhaps the town did send out for help and just chose to go about it a different way. Or maybe my ideas that something else is going on is drawing people in as things like that tend to do. I’ll keep an eye on the newcomers to see if I can glean any more information out of them about why they are here.

Sep 13th 0320
So there was a fire tonight. Orcs appear to be the culprit, but as to what their motives were remains a mystery to me. I have begun to realize that I have some holes in my skill set and need to fill them. I was no good at tracking and thats something that could prove useful in my line of work, so I will look into getting better at it. I plan on going to talk to Gowyn in the morning to see if he has a plan to deal with these orcs. For now, its bedtime.

Sep 13th 0945
I’m off with the newcomers to look for the orcs. Lets hope we can find them and prevent future attacks. This also gives me the ability to find out more about the newcomers. So far they all seem to be on the side of good, but time will tell. I’m still not a great judge of character….

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Session 1
Orcs In Trees!

Our hero’s paths converge on the failing town of Relford. Come upon hard times, the result of an earthquake the year before, the town has entered a terrible drought after the river quit flowing.

As the adventurers settle into town a mysterious purple-cloaked stranger, who’s been keeping watch over the people for the last few weeks, takes note and begins investigating the newcomers intent.

Two of the travelers, dwarven clergy of Torag, met as their king normally do, with a hearty greeting and a hearty beverage. Torin, (who recently found a Halfling seemed to have taken root in his wagon at some point, and was now fully grown) proceed to share, sell and trade his Thunderkeg Ale with anyone who had a mind to drink.

The quiet monk with the vicious pole-arm purchased herself a chalk-board and managed to communicate fairly well with everyone from that point on.

The Half-Elf Tavarious finally managed to carry his luggage, by befriending the halfling Gilsa, who had claimed dominion over the keg laden platform.

The paladin Aydan proceeded to make good on his vows to ‘serve and protect’ as he and the rest of the hero’s trailed a group of orcs across the landscape to where an ambush awaited…

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Himeko's Log - Entry 1
Himeko 1

Master Benkei,
I’m writing this after I’ve settled into the small town of Relford. Apparently, the people of this area have had a spate of bad fortune as the river which once ran through the center of their town has completely dried up. The region is going through a terrible drought, and as a result, it seems as if the town itself is drying up. There are few people in the town, and the ones that are left seem to be giving up. I noticed that the merchants in the local exchange shop are preparing to leave. The others in town that run the inns or taverns, or that work as the local officials, all have a lethargic air about them. All-in-all, Master, I feel that they have given up on their town.

Everyone here speaks the language of the Captain and his wife. I suppose I will be able to learn more about their culture now, as this appears to be similar to the environment where I was raised. When I arrived in town, the local officials did not greet me, which surprised me greatly. I found a reasonable place to stay easily enough. It is a place where workers would bunk when they were away from home. The proprietor seems to be more-or-less in-charge of the town, but I think that is a defacto result rather than by any attempt to gain power by the individual. His name is Gowyn (I hope I’m spelling that correctly).

On my first day here after I settled in at my bunkhouse, I saw a suspicious person wandering about. I had noticed her on my way into town peeking out of a house, but I thought she must be a local. Instead, I see her later skulking about behind corners and acting oddly. Fortunately enough, I later found that she is a good person and an excellent fighter. She carries an odd stick that shoots flame and some sort of round balls that can kill at range. Her name is Artemis. She was wounded when we ran into a conflict, but managed the wound well, but I’ll get to that in a bit.

I met some interesting people, if one may call them that. There were two Dwarves and a Halfling traveling with them, and there’s a tall man who calls himself a half-Elf. If you were as I and unfamiliar with these races, I’ll describe them. Dwarves resemble men, but their shorter and bulkier and far harrier than any man I’ve ever seen. They both act young, but look very old. One is named Ayden and the other Torin. Ayden also seems like a priest, but he wears armor and uses a huge hammer. It was so heavy, that I could barely move it! Torin also claims to be of some religious order, but I could not tell. He spends a lot of time drinking and carousing, but he seems to be a good person nonetheless. The Halfling is even more interesting. She seems to be a very free spirit, but I would judge her a nice person as well. Physically she is even smaller than the Dwarves, but she says she is a full grown Halfling. Her name is Gilsa. Master, you would likely see her as a child of maybe ten years of age, and a small one at that, but she is older than me! The other companion I met is the half-Elf, though what a full Elf is, or what he is half of, I do not know. His name is Tavarous and he seems to be a mohotsukai. He is tall, but rather frail looking. When I first met him, he was struggling with his abundant luggage (which is probably full of magic stuff!), but he refused my offer to help. He is very handsome, but seems strange in his head. I could not figure out what he was thinking. Tavarous also has a silver wolf okami who answers his call. The okami is a very good fighter.

Oh, I almost forgot about Sumato and Danberu. They are Torin’s mules who pull his wagon, but they are sweet and intelligent. He has been letting me help feed and take care of them.

Speaking of animals, on my first day in town, there was a terrible fire at one of the largest farms in the area. The house and barn were both burned to the ground. I helped save the animals from the burning barn with Gilsa and Artemis, but we were unable to do anything about the fire. As I said, this area is under a severe drought, and there was no water to use to try to put out the fire. The locals didn’t seem to know about using sand and dirt to smother the flames, but the structures were too far gone to save, so I didn’t try to explain. It does not appear that any people died in the blaze as my companions and I failed to find any remains. Artemis and Gowyn found tracks of creatures called Orcs leaving the scene, though. We fear that the people might have been taken by these Orcs.

We followed the trail out of town through the fields and down to the river bed. Torin had brought his wagon with Sumato and Danberu, and Artemis had her horse. The couldn’t make it across the rough, dry bottom of the water course, so she tried to send them back to town. Unfortunately, none of the animals listened to her. I tried and was blessed with their understanding. Sumato and Danberu as I said are very intelligent. They knew what I asked when I whispered it to them, and they took Artemis’ horse back with them.

We continued following the tracks of the Orcs to a low set of hills south of town. Artermis and Gilsa went to scout ahead. I wanted to stay with Gilsa so I followed. They found some Orcs laying in wait to ambush passers-by and decided to ambush the ambushers. I tried to help, but Master Benkei, I did not do well. On my first fight to my eternal shame, I lost my grip on the Blue Dragon Crescent Blade and threw it. I need more practice with it. I was able to fight bare handed, but it was humiliating. I will need many long hours to meditate upon my failure. I do not believe the blade was damaged, Master. I hope you will forgive me.

We were finally able to overcome the Orcs, though they had superior numbers. I am writing this as I await my companions. I will write more as soon as I am able.

Your student,
Himeko

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Horror at Dagger Rock
Welcome to Relford
As you crest the rise, the settlement of Relford comes into view. Beyond, the shadowy pinnacle of Dagger Rock sits starkly upon the hills behind the village, pointing accusingly at the grey sky. Dark clouds rumble and a fork of lightning briefly catches your eye. Perhaps there is a promise of rain. The land needs it, this is a desolate place. Drought has stricken these once-verdant hinterlands since the Rel River stopped flowing, diverted by the earthquake last year. You can see the forked, jagged scar where once the river flowed, cutting through the earth. A number of farms sit on the outskirts of Relford, nursing dry and yellow crops. There is a mine in the hills to the south, sitting in the dark shadow of Dagger Rock. The city states along the coast prize the garnets, amethysts, and aquamarines the mine yields yearly. However, the mine shut down last year when a tunnel collapsed, killing nine miners. The mine never reopened, and folk say things have not been the same since. Some people have packed up and left, others have simply disappeared. It is said that between the dark and dead trees of the hills, inhuman tribes lurk, preying on the unwary. Surely such talk is fanciful, and just folk seeking to blame superstition for the hard times that have fallen upon Relford.
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