Diego’s Journal

25th of Nachgeheim, 29 NC,


journal entry 1137


Today my hard work trying to get noticed has finally paid off, one step closer to accomplishing my goals. As they promised, today was my first day of work for the elite members of the army, the Black Rose Society. Finally the real work can begin, I’ve grown tired of night patrols and cleaning lavatories. It wasn’t much of an eventful day yet, as it consisted mostly of travelling and securing supplies for the journey – an effort that was disrupted by the dwarven member who was suddenly spotted taking off into the distance by himself. But alas, I get ahead of myself.


At first we met in a tavern in Hillcrest. There were seven of us. The dwarf was most notable; old, scarred and missing one eye and looking unsavory to say the least. He wasn’t the last of the oddballs. There were also an elven woman and even a halfling girl. The others were a soldier, Alton and what appears to be a northlander. The last was a feeble looking fellow, some kind of smarmy bookworm. None of the others appeared very civilized to me, so perhaps I can atleast have some decent conversations with that one. With the last being myself we were gathered by Sergeant Major Gareth Stein – although Kironius Mengst himself did make a brief appearance to say something to the dwarf – to form a unit. Our first mission is some kind of test. We are dispatched to intercept a goblin threat to the southeast in the Masaan mountains. It should not be too difficult, I am confident my abilities and am in great shape, but it will be interesting to see what my companions are worth in a scuffle. I have my worries about the safety of the little girl. One can only wonder what the reasons for her being here are, her appearance is very young, even for a halfling. But she seems to be under the care of the elf. They appointed her as our ‘leader’ actually. I worry about the wisdom in that. I was unfortunately unable to procure leadership myself.


As I wrote earlier, the dwarf (I did not catch his name – he spoke it like a grunt) took off almost instantly and disappeared. This confused and scattered our group, although we recovered and were wise enough to stock up with supplies. Even if they are food rations – distasteful and dry. How I yearn for a decent meal, perhaps some fresh Quezco with raspberry sauce? My mouth waters only by the thought of it. Alas, not in these cold and weary lands. The best I can hope for is that somebody catches a hare which we may cook.


We caught up with the dwarf soon enough. Determined as he may be, his legs inhibit his movement and speed. Dwarves have quite the reputation as warriors, but one can only wonder how it is possible to be defeated by someone you can easily outrun.


We made it about three parts of the way there and have set up camp for the night. Tomorrow we’ll walk the last part and hopefully encounter our destination towards noon.


End journal entry. Signed,


Diego Vasquez


 


26th of Nachgeheim, 29 NC,


journal entry 1138


Today was not a good day. Early in morning when I went to relieve myself, an unstable rock gave way and I lost balance, falling and straining my ankle. Though no serious injury, in my current condition I would’ve only slowed the party down. The fall dirtied my clothes, but fortunately they were not damaged. It wouldn’t be easy to replace in these parts.


I decided to stay with the horse, which belonged to the elf, and the supplies left behind by the others. Oddly enough the elf hadn’t tied the horse to a tree, but left it grazing in a meadow closeby. It doesn’t seem wise, but the animal turned out to be well trained and did not leave on it’s own accord. Sitting idly by our supplies had drawn my attention to the beast; there wasn’t much else to do. It is a northlander breed of horse, dappled grey.Not the prettiest of colors, but a proud specimen nonetheless. Not knowing what it’s name was, I settled on ‘Spot’. Spot reminds me of the race track back home. It’s been a long time since I last rode horse.


Before long I decided to take Spot for a stroll. My companions wouldn’t be back until nightfall at the very earliest, I figured. No harm done. Spot didn’t agree, though. She was hesitant at first, not allowing me to come too close. Shyness, I presumed. Confidently I stepped forward and grabbed the reigns, just as I’d done before on our horses back home. She flinched and reared her front legs, then nearly ran over me, throwing me to the ground.


Alas, I thought, let’s try that again. I stood up and slowly approached Spot once more, this time with more care. I thought I’d try the more gentle route, and it with Penshinite finesse, it worked. Soon I’d mounted her and was riding small circles across the meadow. It felt good.


Suddenly the horse seemed tired of my commands, and stopped in it’s tracks. It’s eyeballs rolling back to face me questioningly. I had only a second to ponder it’s meaning before it reared it’s legs, stood on it’s hind legs, and then galloped off into the forest. With all my life I held on to the reigns, tree branches smacking into my face and body as I saw the trees zooming by at dangerously high speeds. My vision was blurred, from both the speed and the intense bouncing around on the horse. I remember hoping Spot wouldn’t make a mistake and run into a tree. I wasn’t about to let go and return to the others with the news I’d lost their horse, though. So I held on as she jumped across small creeks and fallen logs, or zigzagged in between trees and bushes.


Then suddenly I felt the sun shine on my face and the bouncing stopped. I opened my eyes, only to glaze upon the meadow we started out in. Spot, by now, had returned to her grazing, bristling some hot air but otherwise acting as if nothing happened.


I let go of the reigns and slid off the horse. For the remainder of the day I kept my distance. This horse is not to be trusted. Is it it’s elven upbringing? I cannot help but feel like I’ve been the victim of it’s twisted joke.


By nightfall my companions returned to find our camp safely intact – including horse. I dismissed questions about the scratches on my arms and face, or why I was walking o-legged.


End journal entry. Signed,


Diego Vasquez



Journal entry


What a strange series of days it has been. My fortunes seem to be as unpredictable as the weather. First, I strained my ankle – I wrote about that before – and had to stay with the horses and supplies whilst the others went off to battle. Then, a few days later, I found myself once again staying at our camp, guarding some smoked deer that Poppy had hunted for us. For a while I wondered wether the others were conspiring against me and wether they were talking and laughing about me behind their backs. The idea alone made me furious! But it wasn’t completely too far fetched, I decided. Back home it happened occasionally that lower class workers had their own in-jokes about their employers and nobility. Perhaps it gives them a sense of pride. Regardless, I am straying.


As I was ‘valiantly’ guarding our food and camp, I was suddenly startled by some rustling in the bushes. It wasn’t long before a small group of halflings ran out and walked up to the camp – specifically towards our smoked deer. I kept them at bay at first, being rather confused as to what was going on. It’s not every day you are confronted with a dozen or so halflings at the same time who seem intent on getting their hands on some of our food.


Their leader, a halfling named Annabelle, explained to me what had transpired before and all became clear. These halflings were being hunted, and my companions had set up an ambush further along down the trail. They sent the halflings to our camp for refuge. I decided to run as fast as I could to provide assistance to the ambush. The twelve halflings would surely be able to keep our camp safe just as well as I alone would be able to. I wasn’t going to be able to keep those prying hands away from our food anyhow…


It took me a while to get there, but the screams and sounds of swords clashing guided me into the right direction. Fortunately I arrived just in the nick of time; the trap had just sprung. Arrows and bolts flew through the air and Alton was taking on one of the enemy close to me, whilst Gronk seemed busy with two or three of them himself. I could make out Vlad, the Northlander, in the distance. He looked like he could be in trouble, surrounded by Kisharans. My training kicked in instantly. It took only a few steps to reach Alton and his foe, who I promptly stabbed in his right arm artery. Blood sprayed out gloriously into the sky as he fell to the ground, Alton had the honor of delivering the coup de grace. I ran on toward Vlad. The kisharans fighting Gronk seemed to be in enough trouble anyway, Gronk was bashing skulls left and right. The kisharan sergeant proved to be a little more dangerous, but a few stabs from me, an arrow from Poppy and some handiwork by Vlad took him down in no time. Then the whole ordeal was over – except for one fleeing kisharan, who was promptly shot in the back by Poppy. Rather dishonorable, but then again, there is no honor in fleeing either. It does make one wonder about the morals of the halfling, however.


With all the enemy dead, we found ourselves rummaging through their supplies. Fortunately for us, they had a pack horse we could take. Now we don’t need to save up for one anymore. I also took one of their leather jacks for some protection, what with all the fighting going on.


When we got back to camp I was delighted to see that the halflings hadn’t eaten all of our food yet, but rather prepared a rather magnificient meal for us as well. It has been quite some time since I ate this well.


During the night I sat and talked with Alton about his firearms. He’s teaching me how to use them. That’s a good thing, they’re more complex than I first thought. There’s a good chance I would have damaged the weapon, or hurt myself, had I tried to fire them without his help. I think I understand the basics pretty well now, though. Early in the morning, during our last watch, we heard gunfire in the distance. And then a Warder’s horn. We quickly woke the others and we all took off towards the sound of battle.


Once we arrived, it was quite a sight. It looked like a complete war had been fought out here. Bodies of orcs and goblins everywhere, with some humans thrown in here and there. But there was no time to waste, because what I saw made me stop in my tracks. I hadn’t seen an Avenger since Penshin, and I wondered what it was doing here and wether we should retreat and regroup. There was no time for any of that, however. Banager charged ahead rather foolishly, so I followed suit in order to provide assistance and prayed that we would not die. Banagher attacked, but the Avenger easily made a mockery of his attacks. In an effort to distract the thing I attacked as ferociously as possible and struck it twice, hurting it plenty, but not unfortunately not enough. It did catch it’s attention, which was the point. Unfortunately, I hadn’t thought my plan fully through beyond this moment. Dodging and parrying I managed to avoid most of it’s blows, but eventually he landed a hit and slammed it’s weapon against my chest. I was thrown backward and was disoriented, but thankful that I’d been wise enough to put that leather jack on the day before.


Blood poured all over my chest and I wondered wether this was the end. I crawled away in order to regain my composure. When I looked up, I saw the Avenger thrusting it’s devilish looking weapon straight through Banagher. It was then that a miracle occurred – or something like that – I thought perhaps I was imagining things because of my injury. When the blade went through, a bright light seemed to come from his wound, instead of blood. Banagher seemed rejuvenated afterwards, instead of hurt, and he brought his sword down upon the Avenger again and again, until the Avenger finally fell and shrivelled up into nothingness.


I think everybody shared my surprise at this occurance, but honestly, I was rather concerned and preoccupied with the large gashing wound on my chest at this point.


When I spoke to the others later on, it turns out we had come across a strange skirmish. It seemed that, somehow, some sort of threeway battle had taken place between two Warders, a couple of society members, and a small army compromised of orcs, goblins and the avenger. Not all of them died. We managed to save one Warder, named Erik, but he is heavily wounded. We took him back with us to Hillcrest. A lot would be cleared up there. Apparantly one of the companies, commanded by Sergei Volkov, had deserted and had been working for the kisharans for quite some time. During the fight with the orcs and goblins, the Warders had been attacked by the rogue company, resulting in the odd three-way battle.


The other Warder, Xander, was given a proper burial ritual fitting to his status.


Our newest mission, besides figuring out a way to stop the upgrades of those Bubblesneezer cannons, is to go south and find this Bubblesneezer, and see if he is using a halfling inventor named Corky to make his cannons. We’ll probably end up going to Penshin. It’s about time. I should be careful, i am still wanted there and people may remember my face, even after all these years.


Fortunately this time we’ll be more prepared. Stein arranged for us to receive padded armor from Itchy, which should help quite some. Alton loaned me his blunderbuss, as well, which should give me ample time to practice my firing abilities. It’s rather crude and large, but I haven’t been able to find something smaller. My injuries during the last fight reminded me again that it may be smart to carry some kind of ranged weapon with me, in case I get injured.


signed,


Diego Vasquez




Journal entry *date and number here* (written just before the explosion!)


They’ve tracked me down to Hillcrest. Count Rochelau’s assassins. I hoped that after all these years, they had forgotten about me. Now I know that isn’t the case. They got to me, before I could get to them.


I am writing this from my cot in the infirmary, where I have spent the night. Not by choice, but rather necessity. I am starting to learn to not leave the company of my companions in order to relieve myself. The first time I ended up straining my ankle. This time, as I left the latrines, I was set upon an assassin. Penshinite, by the looks of him. A dark figure whose face I could not see, wearing a dark cloak and hat, stepped forth and promptly demanded a duel. He said he had come to claim the rather sizeable bounty on my head, placed there by Rochelau himself. That downtrodden bastard. It fuels my hatred of him even more. He is pure evil and deserves to die.


The assassin was swift and well trained, and armed to the teeth. It didn’t help that I had drank with Vlad, again, but I managed to keep my composure nonetheless. It seemed for the longest time we were equally matched as we fought eachother, the pale moonlight revealing my assassin’s face. The silence and darkness was only interrupted by the clashing of our swordplay. The fight seemed to last forever and I wondered why none of the others had heard anything and come to take a look. No matter. I wanted the honor of defeating this ruffian myself. I slashed his face, but he managed to land several jabs at my body as well. Fortunately I’ve become quite adept at avoiding blows, but the assassin picked up on this. Seeing that he wouldn’t defeat me in a fair duel, the scum dropped it’s gauche and fired his pistol straight into my chest. For a moment I saw my life flash before my eyes. My childhood, my teenage years. The murder of my father and mother. Anger filled my body, providing me with a final burst of energy as I lunged forth and slashed his ear off. From out of nowhere a net fell out of the sky, entangling him. I left nothing to chance and thrust my blade into his eye, ending my foe’s life.


It was then that I noticed Poppy, standing by. Some of the others came rushing forth as well as I fell heavily injured to the ground.


First the Avenger’s weapon that had sliced open my chest. Now a bullet to the chest. I wondered what I was doing wrong. Slowly but surely I felt the life drain out of me and my sight became blurry. I could only barely make out Banagher standing over me, putting his hand onto my head and murmering something. As if touched by Aluviel herself, I felt energy course through my body and veins as I bucked up. Everybody looked in amazement and surprise at me and Banagher. I think I was the last to notice that the bulletwound had seemingly closed by itself. It was Banagher’s doing, of course. I am now certain that he is either a wizard, angel or otherwise blessed by Aluviel.


Cedric patched me up quite nicely. Besides the bulletwound, most of my injuries were not that serious, although I did gain some impressive scars.


The following day was a quiet day, mostly. The archery contest was held, and some of us competed. I’m glad to say Alton won the arquebus competition, though not so glad to say his rifle blew up in his face. He seems fine, though a little shaken perhaps. I gained a pretty penny betting on him winning. Poppy competed in the archery contest, but her skills with the bow were left wanting, and I gained nothing on my bets.


Today I spend my free time thinking of the south, of Penshin, where we will soon travel to in order to find Bubblesneezer. The others will likely depend on me to guide them around the city. I don’t think any of them have ever been there, but I’m sure they will be inspired by the city. If only it was without the kisharans. A free Penshin.. one can only hope. I am worried about being recognized, though. Odd, one might say, as I am travelling with a dwarf, halfling and elf. They would be the most likely to be recognized. Still I cannot help but think there may be more assassins on their way. And despite the thousands of citizens in Penshin, there are some that may still know my face, as well as the price on my head. We are heading into the Lion’s Den, so to speak. I hope I am ready to face the lion.


Signed,


Diego Vasquez