To High Lorekeeper Telthaunt,
I apologize for how long it has taken me to continue our story, but affairs of the state have sidetracked me. And by affairs of state, I do not mean what you may be thinking. At this stage of my life, it takes more than a pretty face to distract me from my duties.
Everyone saw me struck by the lightning meant for Orla. She and Virgil grabbed me and rushed me back to our quarters. Orla desperately tried to administer healing to me, but I pushed her out of the way, as all of the hair on my body was standing on end and I felt like I was going to explode. I ran back out of our quarters just as the storm was ending. I screamed in pain as I dropped to my knees, the rain pelting my body again. At the edge of my vision, as far as my pain would allow me to see, I saw Oleg and Svetlana looking at me, and Jamven, Orla and Virgil joined them in watching from inside our quarters. As my voice cracked from the constant screaming, I raised my arms to the heavens and released all of the pain in my body in a great blast of electricity, the bolt splitting the clouds above.
When the pain in my body and mind receded, I heard a voice that, over the years, I’ve only heard speak personally to me just a few times. It was the voice of the Lorebinder himself! He imparted to me the true knowledge of my heritage, something my father negated to tell me (which I decades later discovered he had his reasons for hiding from me). Great Oghma said that some time after my ancestors captured Calim and Memnon together (thus causing the creation of the desert of Calimshan), even with the knowledge of the dangers of the djinni, they summoned djinni to fight eye tyrants who threatened our ancestral homelands. And even more, they even mated with the djinni, introducing their bloodline into ours! I am not so far removed from the air and fire genasi of Calimshan. And, when I still think about it, not so far removed from the fey’ri that rose up out of the High Forest not long before I began adventuring.
My companions looked shocked at me (the pun is not intended) at what happened to me. But I explained to them as best I could what Oghma had told me. Virgil asked what it meant for my travels with them, and I told them that it gave me even more resolve to explore the Vale of the Reaver and the Thornwood and Winterwood, because now I knew so much more about my heritage and it had left me with more questions than answers. They seemed to be satisfied with that, even though Orla had a stern lecture for me about my desire to punch my father and have words with my mother about what I had found out. She even made me vow not to punch my father the next time I saw him. I found her attitude odd, but then she told me she was one of the Martyr’s Progeny, one of the children of those worshippers of Torm who sacrificed themselves to him when he fought Bane during the Time of Troubles. Suddenly her attitude made much more sense, and I apologized to her for my words. After that, we found our way back out into the Vale…
We began back in the forest, southeast of the bandit camp. Then we headed straight west. There, we found a dead unicorn near a swampy, marshy area. Its alicorn had been cut off from its head. We tried very hard to discover what had happened to it, but it took a very long time for us to find what caused its death. Near the dead unicorn, Jamven discovered a hunter tracking some prey, but spooked the animal. The hunter, Nallev, was very perturbed with Jamven, and the rest of us for that matter, not that I could say I blamed him. Then, one night, we ran from a will o’wisp that was trying to lure us into its lair! I’ve been scared of those creatures my entire life. And if I saw one now, I still would be! I don’t regret running away from it one bit.
We left the Winterwood behind us and headed northwest, back into the plains. That area was an absolute haven for boars, as we killed numerous boars during our time exploring that area. We then headed southwest, just west of the forest, then headed back northwest, where we found an old sycamore tree…
There, we found a mite lair. The tiny little creatures were more difficult to kill than you would think. Many of them escaped into the primary “room” of their lair to alert their leader. Their leader rode on the back of the most monstrous, hideous tick you can possibly think of. Orla and I disposed of the tick while Jamven and Virgil took care of the mites. When we were done with the battle, we found a few treasures and a map, as well as a list which only Orla could read (I must remind myself to ask where a paladin of Torm discovered how to read Undercommon). Orla read the list, which was an accounting of the treasure the mites possessed and how much a local tribe of kobolds possessed. With the map and treasure list in our possession, we continued on into the lair. Oh, and I almost forgot. We found a statue of a demon among the treasure in their lair. Virgil found that it was nonmagical, but we kept it nevertheless.
Well, I should say we would have continued on, but we heard someone begging for help just beyond the end of the corridor that we could see. We moved on and saw a dwarf held in webbing above a giant chasm covered in thick roots. Virgil tied a rope to Jamven and Jamven climbed out onto the roots, trying to reach the dwarf. He fell through, however. He would have most likely fell to the bottom of the chasm (and into the clacking jaws of what we were about to face), had it not been for Virgil’s foresight in tying a rope to Jamven.
Then we saw a frightening sight. A centipede that made the large tick seem tiny rose up through the root system to try and attack Jamven. Desperation led us on in the battle (and led the dwarf to climb down the roots to the bottom of the chasm), but we did manage to vanquish the centipede. Happy with ourselves, we made our way across the chasm and met with the dwarf. He said his name was Kevvan Emeraldagger, and had been exploring the area when the mites captured him. He didn’t know where any of his equipment was, but was anxious to find it. And as had become custom in that mite lair, we heard more high pitched squealing for help.
We, now including Kevvan amongst our number, moved again deeper into the lair and saw a kobold being tortured by a six mites. Two other kobolds were dead, hanging from roots on the walls of the cavern. It was obvious that they died of torture wounds. In short order the mites were dead. After we released him from his bindings, the kobold, Mikmek, thanked us profusely for saving him. Well, when I mean us, I really mean Virgil, whom Mikmek seemed to decide was our leader. Needless to say, but I do so anyway, Orla didn’t like this at all. Mikmek told us he had come to the mite lair to retrieve the statue, which had been stolen by the mites, but he and his companions had gotten captured instead. He practically begged us to take him and the statue back to the kobold’s lair and to his chief, Sootscale. Virgil, speaking for all of us, agreed.
After resting, we headed west of the sycamore tree. Early on the next day, Virgil discovered the decomposing body of a man in the plains. His garb declared him a wizard (or at least spellcaster) of some sort, and most importantly, so did the spellbook that Virgil found. It was titled, “The Codicil of Cold.” It was a book with a great deal of knowledge involving ice and cold spells. Though I feel there must have been something else that had drawn Virgil to cold spells prior to finding this book, it certainly was this book that set him on the path he walked the rest of his days. Bandits, whose numbers were quickly diminishing in the Vale, attacked us, but we were by now experienced enough that it was an easy battle.
Continuing further west, we fought the toughest creature we had faced up to that point: a troll. In just a few short seconds, it managed to nearly kill Kevvan. It also nearly killed Orla as well. But surprisingly, Mikmek was useful in the battle! He didn’t run. He even threw the dagger he had at the troll and hit it, and tossed a great deal of supportive thoughts our way and against the troll. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say Mikmek had the makings of a bard… We were but a few seconds away from retreating from it as quickly as possible when I managed to get a lucky shot in and kill the beast. We all knew we were very lucky to survive the battle, so we headed up to Oleg’s to rest and recover.
There, Jamven tried to teach his bird a new trick, to no avail. Mainly we just all simply recovered from the road, the exhaustion, and the wounds we had incurred. Before long, a week had passed and we decided to continue on.
Heading back out, we found the kobold caverns in an old played out silver mine. As soon as we entered, we discovered a kobold named Nakpik guarding over a captured mite. It was rather obvious that the mite had been treated quite poorly. Nakpik asked Mikmek if he had retrieved the statue, which Mikmek gleefully replied he had. Then, however, an argument broke out as to whom to take the statue to. Mikmek restated his desire to take it to Chief Sootscale, while Nakpik wanted to take it to their shaman, Tartuk. The argument grew, nearly to blows, before Virgil (who was still holding the statue), decided to take it to the chief. Mikmek led us to the chief while Nakpik first tried to stop it, then ran to the shaman to alert him.
Chief Sootscale seemed ready to try and cut us down, then he saw how outnumbered he was. He, as politely as he could, asked if (or Mikmek if you prefer) we had found the statue. Virgil showed it to him and the chief got really excited. He started jumping up and down, muttering something about a curse. Virgil handed him the statue. The chief seemed torn as to what he should do. Then, to our surprise, he lifted the statue above his head and smashed it on the cavern floor, screaming that the curse was over. He looked at us and stated without hesitation that he intended to go kill the shaman, and we were either with him or against him. Virgil chose that we were with the chief…
It was apparent immediately that there wasn’t going to be a chance to parlay with Tartuk. Any chance we may have had was negated when Chief Sootscale immediately attacked Tartuk. Tartuk created a great deal of fear in Sootscale, who wanted to run away. We all surrounded Tartuk and quickly killed him, with Jamven’s companion killing the familiar of Tartuk.
We found a lot of treasure, most of which we left to the kobolds for their troubles with the mites and Tartuk. Tartuk, we discovered, was a gnome who had been killed while trying to surrender is village over to some ogres or some such monsters. The village felt sorry for him and his “noble” sacrifice, so they reincarnated him, and he turned into their mortal enemy, a kobold. He worked the rest of his life to destroying his gnome village, and that of any kobold tribes he could find. He would have succeeded with the Sootscales if we had not intervened. Virgil managed to get an agreement from Chief Sootscale that the kobolds would no longer cause problems in the Vale. With that in hand, we returned again to Oleg’s to rest, and to have him send word forth to Erlkazar that the kobold situation had been taken care of.
Leaving Oleg’s behind, we (still including Kevvan) headed southwest and finally met Bokken, the alchemist. We bought a few potions from him, and vowed to find the fangberries he so desired for his potions. He also asked us to try and find his brother, who apparently lived somewhere south of where we were.
Continuing southwest, we fought (well, primarily Orla) some sort of fey creature that possessed some amazing abilities to leap. However, he was still no patch for us either. Heading back northwest, we finally found the fangberries. Orla grabbed a great number of them, having to stop every so often to get rid of the spiders inhabiting the thicket.
Then, we headed northeast and finally found the old temple of Torm that Jhod Kavken had said may be out in the Vale. We had to kill a crazed bear, which after we killed him transformed into a man, who rapidly turned to dust. The pool near the temple cleared itself of the muck and algae that coated the water. Orla, who was pretty well injured by the bear, drank from the pool and was healed of her wounds. Satisfied that we had begun the work to restore the temple, we decided to return to Oleg’s yet again.
When we set out to finish our exploration of the Vale and to stop the Stag Lord once and for all, we did so without Kevvan, who decided to stay behind at Oleg’s and build himself a forge and smithy. Oleg was ecstatic by the news, since he could see even more money and prestige coming his way…