To High Lorekeeper Telthaunt,
When we returned to Oleg’s, a few newcomers had arrived. The first we met was Keston Garess, a soldier from Erlkazar who had come with a few other soldiers. These were the men that Oleg and Svetlana had been waiting for when we arrived. The other man was a Jhod Kavken. He was a former priest of Torm who had received a vision that led him to believe that he could be redeemed in Torm’s eyes. However, he didn’t know how it could happen, so he asked Orla if she could look for any signs of Torm in the Vale.
During this time, Jamven had befriended (I believe he used the term “animal companion”) a falcon that flew over the trading post for a great deal longer than normal. We spent a few weeks at the trading post while he was trying to train his falcon. The soldier Garess spoke to Orla at this point and asked her if his troops could spar against us (being she, Virgil and myself) since they were getting tired of sparring against each other. She agreed that we would when we returned from our travels throughout the Vale.
We headed into the vale, going into the Winterwood again. Heading south of where Jamven found all of those traps, we discovered the body of a trapper, his body underneath what seemed to be a trap of his own making. Later we found out at Oleg’s that it was a man by the name of Breeg Orlivanch, who was disliked by nearly everyone he had the misfortune to grace with his presence. A few days later we would discover who was responsible for his death…
Deciding to stay in the forest, we headed further south. On that day, I was assaulted by a “rainstorm” of acorns. Jamven climbed a tree and saw large bird’s nest filled with a few more acorns in it, but nothing to indicate how they fell out of the nest. Later in the evening, Virgil was attacked by a tree limb that had been turned invisible. After massaging the pain from his head from being thwapped by the limb, he realized there were fey in the area. Not long after, we met Tyg-Titter-Tut, a grig, and Perlivash, as faerie dragon.
Perlivash was easily friendlier than Tyg. In particular, he came to have what seemed to me was a bit of a crush on Orla, who, for all of one’s typical belief of paladin’s being too dense to realize such things, was quick to play it up, getting Perlivash on our side. Tyg was much more reticent to like us, but Perlivash’s enthusiasm won her over.
Perlivash told us he was the one to kill Breeg Orlivanch, who was a bad man they both said. Then they told us of the “mean biggunses” further south. They told us enough, in their own special fey way, that the bandits in the area had a camp. They told how many there were and when we asked if they would help us, they both readily agreed.
It took a few days as we explored the lands south of Perlivash’s and Tyg’s lair, but we finally found the bandit’s camp. We hoped to ambush them, but they got the jump on us. And boy we were outnumbered. I was struck deaf by a thunderstone. Jamven and Orla waded into the camp to take the battle to the bandits. Orla took the great brunt of the bandit attacks, and nearly fell for her efforts. At the last moment I rushed to her side, trying to get the bandits to attack me while she had a chance to fall back and heal herself. Jamven again proved to be quite deadly with his bow. Virgil was effective as well. But even with all that, we were still outnumbered and in danger of losing the battle. Finally, Perlivash and Tyg appeared, making one of the bandits believe he was fighting some monster only he could see, and the other danced to a song only he could hear.
That ultimately turned the tide for us. However, we realized much later that we had allowed someone to escape, someone we didn’t ever see and only one of us heard as they left the camp. We left one of the bandits alive to deliver the Stag Lord’s alcohol stash. When questioning the bandit we left alive, he told us that the Stag Lord had a massive dependency on alcohol, and he would become more belligerent if he didn’t get his alcohol. Virgil warned him of ultimate death if he did anything other than return to the Stag Lord’s camp with the alcohol. The bandit finally told us that the camp was far to the west of the camp in the forest. After that we returned to Oleg’s so Orla could recover and Jamven could try and teach his falcon more tricks.
After a few more weeks at Oleg’s, we headed back down to finish exploring around the bandit camp and then headed west in the direction of where we were told the Stag Lord lived. Back out in the plains, we found a patch of moon radishes, which Svetlana wanted some of so she could make Oleg’s favorite soup. However, we had to fend off four very fat, happy kobolds that had been eating the moon radishes and had decided that the patch was their own.
Continuing west, we then found a statue of Torm which was still intact though overgrown with prairie grasses and clutching vines, though the lodge or whatever building had been near the statue was long gone. Virgil helped Orla clean the statue off. Then, Orla prayed in front of the statue and we were all given a boon from Torm. All of our weapons were given a particularly keen edge. For reasons I cannot recall, we then returned to Oleg’s again before we came back down here and continued west.
West of the statue of Torm, we found the den of the axebeak that Oleg has said he wanted a trophy of. In this battle, Virgil was particularly stout. He struck such a vicious final blow that he saved Jamven from near certain death while also pushing the body of the axebeak nearly 20 feet away from Jamven. I wished I could be that good in combat. Searching the area, we were rewarded with a great number of silver pieces, a few gems, a high quality spiked chain, and a map of the area helping us to explore the rest of the northern Vale. Maybe it was now that we returned to Oleg’s after killing the axebeak and before the found the treasure and not after discovering the statue, I can’t remember now all these years later… Regardless, we again went back to Oleg’s after we compiled all of the treasure that the axebeak had (and got the head of the axebeak for Oleg’s trophy).
And so it was that we returned to Oleg’s as a terrible thunderstorm began. We all knew it would be close to overtaking us as we arrived. With a quarter mile to go, we could barely hear Svetlana and Oleg yelling over the winds of the storm, begging us to hurry against the storm we could see right behind us. Roderick, Virgil’s mule, normally so slow of foot, became the quickest of all of us. Somehow, Jamven managed to grab onto one of the saddlebags on Roderick and let him drag him into the trading post ahead of us all. Virgil and I did our best to hurry Orla as much as we could, as we were terribly afraid of a lightning strike to her in her armor.
We did get through the doors of the trading post just as the storm overtook us. The three of us fell to the ground when we got inside we were so exhausted. The winds were terrible. I don’t believe I have ever seen anything like them. The rain pelted us. I had never known rain to be painful, but that rain was. The lightning was terrifying. We could see it lighting up the dark clouds above us as well as striking the hills in the distance. The thunder was constant, a sign, as my father told me as a child, of impending hail. Virgil got up first, rushing to get Roderick and guide him as best he could into the stables. Orla got up next, looking first to Virgil, then to me in silent thanks. I saw her reach out for me and then a bolt of lightning come down from the heavens. Pure adrenaline propelled me from lying down to getting up onto a knee and diving forward with my arms outstretched, pushing her out of the way and taking the lightning strike meant for her. That was the last thing I knew…