The Lost Seekers

Baldrin's Journal Entry #8
Bearowl tastes a bit like beef and chicken....

Quick one for the day, off to see Patty. So, If my plans for the future aren’t too far off the mark, the last memory I leave you will be of me and Patty going into her cottage for some engagement celebrating that involved an awful lot of champagne. I know it seems odd to be despairing and then ask someone to marry you, but I cant bear to lose anyone, and if I lose her again I want to know I made a go of it first. So, this small aside is a story that happened a few days after my last memory to you. While it seems inconsequential, its had me up thinking for the better part of a week. So some context.

I awoke with Patty to some banging on the door. Turns out Alara Silverwing, the wife of the shopkeep Samuel Silverwing had been murdered in the evening. Torn apart actually. Left in a field outside of town like a piece of discarded meat. Another tragedy to befall my home because of this ruddy war down south. See, there’s a bunch of right twats making a stir in the south trying to claw a part of the league out from under us, so the parliament sent all it had south to protect them. An that meant no one was left in the countryside to protect the poor locals. An Alara paid for it. So, with my fellows in tow, we went to find the beast that had attacked her, hoping to make Little Tipping as safe as we could. Lysander an his pup must be practicing the tracking, couse the little Wolf managed to find the den of this beast with very effort. So, set into a cliff was a small cave. Inside the cave rested the beast. An there was us, a faithful band of adventurers. Well, us and Thamior an Patty. Thamior seems pretty tough for a gem cutter. Probably a good thing since it seems he is intent on leaving the Smith to search for a way to bring his children back from the dead. Seems a noble enough goal to me, since we share it.

Anyway, you be curious about the beast. Well, so were i. Except Patty was there, and I had already seen her die once in the past year. Not again I tell myself every night as I dream of that event, and here it was, possibly happening again. Ya see, Patty is a strong willed lass. Hell, she’s stronger willed than I be, by a very great margin. Nigh unshakeable, and stubborn to boot. If ye tell er one thing, she will undoubtably do its opposite a split second latter, so I had no choice but to bring her along. An that gave me a right dilemma, which I solved by staying directly in front of her as we moved in to the cave. What, ye expect me to argue with that hell beast Ade, you mad. No, she had decided she was coming an that was final. So, I simply made sure nothing else got to her. As we moved into the dark of the cave with nothing but thamior’s torch, I felt a pang of regret about bringing her. I cant let her come when I leave Ade, I know she’ll pitch a fit, but I cant handle it. So, as we moved into the dark, we could smell the foul beasts stench. It was overpowering, and spread about us like some foul miasma. Smelled of old socks and rotting meat. Just rank, I tell ya now Ade. As we moved further into the cave, we could hear the breathing of some large thing ahead of us. As we came closer to the end of the cave, the breathing grew louder. Like the beat of a drum, or the pounding of a giants footsteps. As we got closer, I couldn’t tell if it were the beast or my own heart I heard, but by all the gods it was loud. As we came out into an opening in the cave, we heard the beast first. The cave itself were covered in bones and rotting meat, with the blood smeared over the walls and pieces of bone and gore stuck to the roof. It was like a scene out of some demented hellspawns dreams it were. An at the heart of it crouched a giant thing. Big as a bear, but with the head of an owl.

I know, right. Sounds ruddy stupid to me. When you go into a cave you expect a bear, or a hell beast. A bear owl though, that definitely aint something you expect. It’d be like if you went into a chest of treasure, only to have it eat you. Just not a normal thing to expect, but I swear it be true. Obviously, the owl head was bear proportioned. Still, twas a bearowl, an make no mistake Ade, it was pissed off. It came charging in roaring, an poor Lysander an Thamior caught the brunt of the beasts charge. As I tried to wack it with my hammer, it moved and I took a chunk out of the cave instead. Even as it ambled towards Lysander to attack for a second time, an arrow from patty thudded into its haunches. As I stared, the ruddy thing brought its full attention to bear on Patty. Thamior and Endolynn threw spells at this thing as fast as they could. The dark cave suddenly lit up in an explosion of light, an as it did so I saw the beast begin to move towards my lass. I nearly froze then an there. I was between it an her, but not enough near enough to stop it. If I didn’t act, the ruddy thing would be on her in moments. It was like all of the terrifying memories of the past crashed in on me at once, and all I felt was anger. How dare this ‘thing’ look at my lass like she was lunch. How dare it even consider taking her away from me again. In a moment of intense concentration, I brought all my strength to bear on the beast and smashed it so hard it crashed into the wall and slumped to the ground. I followed it up with a second hit to the chest. The beast lay where it fell, dead as it deserved.

The rest of the day passed in a blur. Endolynn, Lysander and Thamior went to inform the farmers the beast were dead. From there they went and told poor Samuel of the beasts death. Me an Jarvan carried it back to the inn for the slaughter. I know Ade, im sure you object. I certainly know Endolynn and Thamior did. “it’s a horror Baldrin, you can’t feed it to people” and “you’ll make people sick, its an abomination” was all I could hear on the trip back to Little Tipping. Still, feed it we did. Fact is, we’re sensible folk, and sensible folk don’t waste food. The Bearowl tasted fine, an no one suffered for it. Ole Bob did a right good job of preparing it, and because of him everyone at the Smith fed well. So that was that. On a side note, youll never guess who the guinee pigs for our bearowl were. Aye, told ya, twas the Golden Swans. They be a month an a half late, but they came to help us. I appreciate it an all, but still we had to try the food on someone, and Bandabar be capable enough to fix em if they got sick. Anyway, there was still the problem of where the owl had come from.

Now, the rest of this tale takes a lighter note than the last half, but I want you to remember something. All of the following nonsense killed a lady. No matter how amusing it sounds, don’t knock the poor lasses memory just couse its funny. Ill honestly say it is amusing though. So, there has been a tower in Little Tipping for the last few months. No one knows where it came from, and no one thought to climb in and find out. Fair enough, sounds like a recipe for disaster to me, but who’s to question the Watch. So, we knocked. Seems like a likely place to find a mad wizard to me, an we knocked to find out. No front door to speak of though, so everyone decided to climb the tower. Aye, you ‘eard me, they climbed it. Four stories, possibly death on a fall, and they wanted to climb it. Personally, I wanted to knock a hole in the wall but they wouldn’t wait for me, so I stripped me armour and climbed too. Obviously I didn’t fall to my death. Still could have though, an seems a stupid risk when you have a giant hammer, but what have you.

Inside, we found a floor full of cages for wild beasts. One of them was even large enough to hold the Bearowl. There was a rather strange animal on this level too. Looked like someone had mixed a duck an rabbit together. Horrible mess really. So, the next level was a bedroom. Fair enough. Except that half the furniture and a glass of pickles were enchanted to act like angry pitbulls when someone came into the room. Seriously, a pillow nearly stuffed itself whole into Thamior’s gullet, and a grandfather clock tried to bust my skull open. They nearly succeeded to. You can see why this story is starting to have relevance. Fact is, I dunno what the world looks like in your time, but if I have anything to say about it Magic is going to be a rare and respected quality, not something insane people can just fuck the world up with. So, down the stairs some more, and guess who we found. Aye, Thalassoss the Daft. Dressed in god knows what. Acting like a loon. We can only presume that the actions of this insane wizard were a result of the clothes he was wearing. From memory, he had a single glove on, some panties and a girdle, with some form of long johns underneath. We presume the clothes were responsible since, in the course of trying to take them off Thamior blew the wizard up and, while unconscious mind you, he continued to attack us. Now, I don’t condone Thamior’s actions, and I accept that Thalassoss probably wasn’t responsible for the atrocities of the evening, but still, it was satisfying to see the ignoramous hurt. Fact is, he’s flat out irresponsible. For his crimes against Little Tipping(specifically squatting on others property) we sent him to Longspear with the Golden swans to be tried by the courts. Honestly, I expect he’ll get off. That aint the point though. I hope this has been a warning to the foolish git about the consequences of his actions, and for his sake I hope I never find him again. You may be wondering why this post seems to end so abruptly. Fact is, stripping an old man of his clothes aint something I like to think of, and the rest of the stories pretty dull. There was a cat stuffed into a cage above a vat of acid for some inane reason. An in all of the fetching it down, nothing terrible happened except I realised we should listen to Endolynn more (though that aint terrible to be honest). The watch wasn’t gonna do much with the wizard, so we sent him with the Swans. An yet, after all of this I think ive come to two very important conclusions. The first is this:

I will not suffer any irresponsible magic users to live.

I don’t say this lightly mind. Obviously im not about to start murdering people because they played a prank, but I will warn them. I don’t think I can simply pass judgment on those that I personally deem irresponsible. An yet, isn’t that what paladins do every other day. I mean, jarvin’s rules are esoteric, and mildly constrictive to all of us, but he lives by them. Other’s are locked up regularly by them, and I have no doubt that if push came to shove people would die because of them. Why are the paladins of the world capable of deciding who lives and who dies, but the rest of us aren’t. I dunno Ade, I still must think on this. However, I believe this may be a step down a road that I cannae come back from. We will see I suppose.

The other thing I decided is that I must move south, and bring this war to an end. My brother Jaquen fights even as I write this, and the war is responsible for peoples deaths, not just on the front. If I can bring it to an end sooner, then maybe more people can be saved.
So, signin off for now,
Baldrin Smithson, the stone hammer

[The following page seems to be covered in memory dust. Even as you enter into the memory, you understand that it happened in the days after the previous post of the journal]

The memory fades in on a young man with dark hair that flashes red as he moves. The light jerkin he wears shows signs of hard use, and his pants are dusty. The time of the memory is just on dawn. As the young man moves through a serious of complicated warm up moves you notice his muscles are hard, and take up the majority of his mass. His eyes are closed as he moves through a series of actions that can only be thought of as well practised. Behind him, and around him, The Smith On The Hill stands rebuilt. Not quite up to the greatness of its past, the wood of the buildings seems new and well treated. The outlying wall is complete, and wide enough to have constructs move around it. Beyond that you know is another wall. As you move your focus back to the young man, you notice him pick up a massive six foot tall stone hammer. He doesn’t seem to have noticed you watching him yet. Eyes still closed, he moves into a basic pattern where he rolls the hammer over his arm, brings it up behind him and then launches into a flurry of swings before him. As he moves, the patterns begin to get more complicated and he moves through a series of steps allowing him to ‘strike’ out in multiple directions. As you watch he moves through a number of vertical strikes and uppercuts with the hammer, punctuated with sudden stops and even more strikes with other parts of his body. As the patterns get more complicated, his face begins to contort with concentration. Over the next half an hour you watch the young man move through these routines of movement with the massive hammer. All you feel towards him is love and tolerance for all his quirks. This is your man, and no one will ever take him away from you. As you think these things, you slowly turn the ring on your finger, and think of the future.
[The memory slowly fades. At the bottom of the page is some cramped writing. As you focus on it, you can just make out the words, “a present from me to you, for my hammer. Live a strong life Ade, whoever you are”]

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Thalassoss the Great
AA side-adventure from the old wizard's point of view

Oh bother!
Thalassoss the Great didn’t know how things had gotten so far out of hand. He’d never meant for any of this to happen. Now, he was tied up, being dragged off by some presumptuous human and his cohorts: a fat dwarf, a boyish woman, and a sneaky elf. They called themselves " The Shiny Birds " or something like that. No matter.

It had all started about one month ago. Thalassoss had already built his tower in Little Tipping, and things were going swimmingly. Thalassoss had mastered a new spell – one which pickled cucumbers in half the time – and he was out foraging in the nearby copse for mushrooms. Humming to himself about how he’s pickle the mushrooms and present the pickled mushrooms to the community as a sign of friendship, he stumbled upon the strangest of scenes: a deserted battlefield. People lay dead amidst tents, cut, bloodied, some with their heads caved in. Thalassoss decided to do ‘the right thing’ and check to see if anyone was still alive. He hadn’t heard a battle, but one never knows. He tried to find the pulse of the first body nearby. It was a woman, but he couldn’t see her face as her head was smashed into her torso. That should have given it away, but you never know. Thalassoss tried anyway, and failed. The woman was deifinitely dead.
So the old wizard decided to steal her gloves. No, it was not the most honourable thing to do, but it was late autumn, turning into winter, and Thalassoss’ long johns had holes in them. Surely a pair of gloves couldn’t hurt… could it?
Alack! It did. The moment he tried on the gloves, his will was usurped, and he found himself garbed in the strangest of clothing! He dropped the basket of wild (otherwise delicious) mushrooms and stumbled back to his tower, under the control of the strange, mismatched clothing. It made him do terrible things. It made him stuff Mr. Pickles, his feline familiar, into a cage and suspend him over a pit of the pickling fluid that he’d prepared for the mushrooms. Powerless and now blackmailed (for if he defied the strange enchanted clothing, Mr. Pickles surely would suffer), Thalassoss resigned himself to the magical outfit.
The clothing worked him day and night, made him toil over alchemical apparatuses until he fell asleep, and then the clothes just moved his body while Thalassoss slept like a baby. It did strange experiments, mixing animals together like they were pudding – rabbits and ducks became duckrabbits, bears and owls became bearowls. It was unbearable. He ’owled in anger, but to no avail. He ducked downstairs, but the clothing made him release the cord suspending Mr. Pickles. Fortunately, Thalassoss managed to ’rab it in time, and Mr. Pickles was at least safe for a while.

A few days later, after Thalassoss had been subsisting now for almost a month on jarred pickles alone, a group of people came to save him… or so he thought. The clothing fought violently, Thalassoss’ hair caught fire, and the people fought him with all their might.

Thalassoss woke up in a jail cell, naked except for his sandals. Mr. Pickles was licking his knee cap. There was a man outside the jail cell – Baldrin Smithson. Thalassoss remembered the man. He was the one who saved The Arrow At Rest from evil both within and without, with the aid of his allies: Yarwyck the Brave, Lysander the Bold, Jarvan the Wizard-Basher, and Endolynn the Female Half-Elf.
“Oh, thankyou for saving me!” cried Thalassoss. Baldrin beckoned him closer, so Thalassoss approached the cage. Suddenly, the burly human grabbed the scruff of Thalassoss’ beard and pulled him close to the cage.
“This is all your fault, you know that? You killed somebody.”
“I-ah-what?” Thalassoss squeaked.
“I think you should explain yourself.” Baldrin said.
Thalassoss tried. He really did, but apparently Baldrin wasn’t happy with the wizard’s explanation.
“I’M SORRY!” Thalassoss finished his plea.
“You’re going to go to jail for this.” Baldrin said. He moved over to the guard, and mentioned something about wanting to just kill Thalassoss and get it over and done with (at this Thalassoss visibly paled) and then he left. Lysander the Bold was still there, however, and Thalassoss still wanted to thank them for saving him from the Horror of the Terrifying Clothing, so he offered the young man his magical sandals. The man refused, but at this point Jarvan the Wizard-Basher arrived, and although Thalassoss didn’t like him, he wanted to pay his debts and give them something as thanks. Jarvan accepted his sandals, much to Thalassoss’ relief.

The whole party took Thalassoss out of Little Tipping, to visit The Smith On The Hill, where they took him to the The Shiny Birds who would then escort Thalassoss back. Despite it being late, the Shiny Birds didn’t want to waste any time, so they headed off immediately. They had to sleep on the road, however, and while they were all sleeping, Thalassoss turned himself invisible and slipped away with Mr. Pickles.

On that night, once he was far enough away from the swans to stop hopping in his bonds and untie himself, he vowed to never wear clothing again.

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Letter to Cassius #3

My dearest father,

You would not believe the day I have had. We were back in Little Tipping, staying at the inn while Baldrin Smithson‘s hometown was still getting back on track. We woke up this morning to the news that a resident of Little Tipping, Alara Silverwing had been found dead. Not just dead, but attacked, and found in a field, all hashed and slashed. We set off to investigate, picking Baldrin up from his now fiance’s house. Yes, Baldrin is engaged! Oh father, it was so lovely to hear such good news after all the terrible things that have happened lately! His partner, Patty, is lovely, although she’s a bit, uh, rough around the edges, and… Comfortable in her own skin. Anyway, we went off to see where Alara had been found and came across some unusual hair. Bear’s hair, to be exact. Luckily Lysander’s wolf knows how to track animals and people, so after a sniff of the hair, he ran off and we all chased after to him to see if we could find the culprit.

We came across a cave and we ventured inside, not really expecting much more than, well, an ordinary bear. But when we came to the end of the tunnel, we saw something that I had never even dreamed of, or ever wanted to imagine. It was no animal, it was a freak of nature. Something that some strange mage had put together with strange magic, literally glueing two halves of different animals together. It was an owl bear. Seriously, half owl, half bear. Lysander looked horrified as he tried to think of what kind of animal this could possibly be. But I knew it was unnatural. Thankfully, it met it’s end. I always feel the need to neglect the gory details when telling you about us killing monsters, Dad. You don’t need to know that your daughter can blow holes in fiends with a magical dart from her finger. Or that she’s steadily getting good with a crossbow. (but I still like to brag a little bit)

After telling her husband the news, running into The Golden Swans again, and feeding the corpse of the owl bear to the town (I did not want to be involved in that), we came to the conclusion that there was a powerful mage who had created this beast. Coincidentally, a tall, cylindrical tower had been built in the town over the blocks of land owned by two people. So we decided to check it out, and found there was no door. Unhelpful. But we scaled the wall and found a door on a platform at the top, and entered without thinking twice.

We clambered down some steps to a room with empty cages, and suddenly an “animal” hopped out. A rabbit, with a duck’s bill. I don’t… I don’t know. I want to rid the image of that strange beast from my mind. We went down another set of stairs to a seemingly normal bedroom, but when I went over to a table with jars of pickles on it, the pickles attacked me. They were enchanted, and so was a pillow and a grandfather clock. This seemed quite funny at first, and probably would have looked hilarious to any onlookers, but you soon realise just how dangerous an enchanted pillow is when it attaches itself to your friend’s face, or when a grandfather clock picks a fight with a man with a giant hammer. After dealing with those deadly inanimate objects, we ventured downstairs again and low and behold, there was Thalassoss; the “great” wizard we met at The Arrow at Rest what seems like an age ago. Only this time, instead of being half-dead at the hands of our very own paladin, he was being attacked by clothing.

We were in a pickle, attack the clothing, but don’t kill Thalassoss. He ended up quite worse for wear, but he was safe and locked up “in custody”; credit going to Jarvan there. We went to check out the ground floor and found a vat of acid with Thalassoss’ cat in a cage above it, with a pulley system balancing him safely for the time being. The boys of our party threw ideas about, and I reluctantly took part and climbed on Baldrin’s shoulders to catch the cage as Thamior swung the cage in our directions with his telepathic powers (he’s a strange kind of mage). The feat was successful, with just my sleeve being burnt in the acid as we lost balance. I still maintain that it was a dangerous idea. It could have been a lot more than my sleeve that landed in the acid…

Well, the cage was locked. Everyone bickered and tried to come up with an idea to get the cat out, talking about other things, as I tried to offer a suggestion. No, no one seemed to be interested in what I had to say. Like earlier, with the pulley ideas, everyone else seemed to think that their ideas were the right ones. Needless to say, putting a little bit of acid on the lock opened the cage straight away and I took the cat up to his owner.

We carted Thalassoss off to the authorities, and went back up to The Smith on the Hill to help The Golden Swans continue the rebuilding of the town. All in all, today was exhausting, and stranger than I ever believed my day would be. Enchanted objects? Evil clothing that controlled a man to make evil hybrid animals|? A cat over acid? My party members not listening to me? Hah, well, that last one isn’t so strange sometimes. But what can you do? One day they will realise that I’m not actually unintelligent, just a lacking a little common sense sometimes.

Missing you and everyone back home.

Much love,

Endolynn signature

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Baldrin's Journal Entry #7 final
That may be the longest night of my life

I don’t know how long I ran Ade; all I knew was that I had to catch that murderer. How could the world be any good if the worst folks in it could get away? Well, I suppose we’ll find out, because he did get away. An as I ran out into the open hills beyond the forest, all that had happened crashed in on me. My love was gone, my father and mother were gone, and for all I knew, the rest of my family had died in that tent. That may be the lowest point of my life Ade, as the realisation of all that had happened crushed me under its weight. I am nay ashamed to admit I cried. I knelt on my knees in the cold dark and howled my grief to the moon. I cried for all of my friends that had died, and my father and mother. I screamed for my poor sister and Patty. I grieved for my brothers. Everyone I knew till that moment was dead. I was certain of it, and it grinded everything that made me who I am into a fine paste, and left something very small and precious behind. As I cried my very soul out, I determined what I would live for from that moment. I would return those I loved to life, and then I would make the world safe for everyone else. I would cleanse the world not of evil or chaos or anything so vague, but a very specific kind of person. I would remove those from the world that would harm innocents. People that were simply going about their lives did not deserve to feel the sadness that found me that evening. I would find those that hurt them, and I would make them pray to their foul gods. I would not simply kill them; I would make them into a legend of pain that no one dare bring upon themselves. I would find the rapists and bandits of the world, and I would strangle them with their own misdeeds. I decided at that moment that I would become vengeance incarnate, and that I would take from all those that took from others.

I realise now that mayhap the thoughts might be a mite bit extreme, but the sentiment remains. From that day on it was not my goal to simply adventure, but to find those that hurt people for fun, and bring them some measure of comeuppance. I do not fool myself into believing that this will always be justice, but it will be fair.

So truly I know not how long I knelt there in the dark, thinking on all the horrors I had seen. All I know is that at some point I started to hear noises about me. As I looked up, I was engulfed in a hug by Ciril. As I looked around me I saw the faces of Fawke and Thomas, and jaquen’s wife Janna. I saw my two nephews Tomen and Jeremy. Then I fainted. To me Ade, I was mourning these people. I honestly believed them dead, and it was a shock to see them alive and relatively well. Fawke came out short a hand and a leg, but still. I believe the last words I spoke before I passed out were “am I dead”. The greatest shock of all was still to come though Ade, an I tell you now, for once, it was a pleasant one. I awoke to a strange knot in my gut, and some very strange noises. I dunno why, but I felt great apprehension as I awoke upon a horse just outside The Smith On The Hill. Honestly, I thought something truly terrible was coming, but as I looked about all I saw was a miracle. I can only think that Red Fox must be watching me, because this is twice in as many weeks that something beyond simple fate has occurred. As I looked about, I saw my gal walking. Not shambling or moaning for blood, but walking. She seemed slower than normal, and she was deathly pale, but she was alive. My Patty, walkin’. She emerged from the wreckage that was my family’s manor garden, and looked less the worse for wear. Even as I stared my fellow party members rushed to her side. Lysander patched her up with the wand, and the rest crowded around her asking questions. Even as what I was seeing sunk in, I moved to pick her up and take her away from the prodding. I realise they were curious, but she’s a lass, not some magical experiment.

After a few moments where I managed to absorb the knowledge that many of the folks I thought were dead weren’t, we all noticed something worrying. There were about 12 people unaccounted for. It occurred to us Seekers that we may not have found the whole bandit group, but also that many folks may be hidden in the workshop basements of the smith. This left us a dilemma, in that we didn’t know where to focus our efforts. I on the other hand had a very simple solution to the problem. I took the sole surviving bandit that we had in captivity, and placed him face first in front of one of the large pedal grinders we use to sharpen weapons. I had to ward off Jarvin before he interfered, but then I asked the bandit some very simple questions. I put the force of my anguish at the evening behind every word as I asked him whether there had been other bandits, or another camp, or whether there were more groups of bandits. To each question I got a very satisfying no, so we focused our attention on the basements of the buildings. You may be thinking to yourself Ade “are you mad Baldrin, how could you trust a bandit” and to that I say something very simple. I didn’t trust him; I simply made it clear what I would do to him if’n we didn’t find the survivors in the basements of these buildings. After some not considerable effort we managed to open up one of the two main basements, and inside we found a majority of the other smith folk. The few folk missing from there were later found buried in the rubble, dead. In total The Smith On The Hill had eleven people stolen from us that evening. Eleven people I knew, people I had grown up with as well as my parents. In addition, our head smith was crippled, and young Thamior lost his foot (something to do with razor wire as he chased me through the woods). I knew each of those people, and in the time since then I have mourned each one. I think, Ade that I am not a man that likes having things taken away from me.

[the following pages have a weirdly dusty quality to them. As you run your fingers over the pages, you are overcome with the urge to begin reading, and as you do so you feel your perceptions of reality twist, and suddenly it is as if you are living out the things you are reading about]

BANG I smash the nail into the wall. I’ve done this for so long; I barely remember why I started. The sun is just sinking into the hills, and I’m still hammering. That’s my life right now. I wake up with the sun in the sky, I have a light breakfast and then I go out into the Smith and I hammer. I carry wood and place it where I’m told. I do all the things someone does when they are building, but I pay attention to very little. For all I know I’m building a monument to my failure. Something for others to come and knock down. This nail is me, and every time I hammer it I become lighter, as if the violence solves a problem I don’t know I have. So I hammer all day and most of the night. Sometimes they’ll bring me water, or food. They say hello, and then let me get back to my work. If they ask me more, I simply pretend I didn’t hear. Life is easier with fewer questions. You don’t have to focus on your problems if you don’t get asked about them.
Another day in the light. My hands are starting to look like course leather. BANG nail goes in. Swing back, place another nail. BANG nail goes in. My life has a simple rhythm at the moment. It works well; everything is simpler when you can solve a problem. You don’t need to worry about failing when all you are doing is hammering a nail. My brother spoke to me last night. He talked to me about the funeral today. I went. It was quiet; we Smithsons don’t say much. They asked me if I wanted to say something, but all I could do was shake my head. I didn’t cry, I simply patted Ciril on the head. She cried enough for the both of us. I don’t know how much longer I’m going to be able to hammer; Ciril needs us all to be ok. Hammering nails is easy, so that’s what I do, but Dad always used to say life wasn’t easy. As I think this, a tear runs down my cheek. I hammer my way through. It’s easier than stopping, and I can pretend its just sweat. The light hurts my eyes today, so i go to bed early. Tomorrow I’ll be ok, today I’ll be asleep.

[the page turns]

Today I didn’t go to hammer. I think I’ve been in my room for a few days, I’m not sure. The sound of pounding hammers started a week ago, I think. They are pounding right now. BANG BANG BANG. They sound closer than other days; maybe the dormitories are getting worked on. Lying in bed is nice; I can pretend that everything is like it used to be, and that it’s just dad trying to wake me up for early morning work. BANG BANG BANG. The noises are more insistent now. It’s like someone is knocking on a door. That can’t be right, dad died. So did mom. My room is warm and dark. The curtains are drawn but a sliver of light is crossing the room and falling on my bed. The dust dances in the light; at least something is happy today. CRASH. My room is flooded in light, I can barely see. Reality has come calling, and it’s brought Jarvin and the hole in the dormitory behind him. Father’s dead, mother’s dead, Fredericks dead. The world died and left me here.
“GE’ OUT OF ME ROOM JARVIN!”. The shout startles even me, why is Jarvin shouting. Or was that me.
“Stop being a child Baldrin, you have work to do, and Endolynn is leaving today. You need to say goodbye”, Jarvin has a look I’ve never seen before. It’s like he’s angry with me, as if I did something wrong.
“I’m sleepin’, she can leave any o’ter toime”, that normally makes them leave me alone.
“No she can’t. We miss you Baldrin, get up and be the guy we know. Let us help you” he’s giving me that look again. It’s like if you kicked a puppy. His big eyes, and that frown. With his stupid white hair in a ponytail. Suddenly I’m standing up. I’m angry and shouting and I don’t even know why.
“GE’ THE ‘ELL OUT O’ MY HOME!!! O’IM SERIOUS, TAKE YER STUPID HAIR CUT AN FUCK OFF, STOP LOOKIN’ AT ME LIKE O’I KILLED YER DOG! IT’S NOT LOI’KE YOU LOST ANYTHING, DEY WERE MY FRIENDS AND FAMILY AND YOU TINK IM GONNA COME OUT THERE AN SAY SORREH TO SOMEONE ELSE LEAVING. FUCK YOU, LEAVE ME BE AND GET THE ‘ELL OUT!” I’m breathing heavily, like I’ve just run a mile. I really want to cry, and I don’t know why I’m so angry.
Jarvin looks like I just kicked him in the gut. Slowly, his face hardens. He glares at me, and moves his frame forward like he’s about to charge. “You don’t have a trademark on sorrow Baldrin. We’ve all lost people, and we all keep track of the people we’ve failed” at this, Jarvin slowly and deliberately raises the sleeve on his left arm. “Each mark represents someone I have lost” As jarvin’s sleeve rises above his elbow small notched scars start to appear on his skin, with a fresh scabbed over cut near his elbow. “This one’s for your mother. Don’t tell me about how you feel as if you have failed. Tell me how it’ll never happen again.” An with that he walked out the door. I couldn’t bring myself to follow him, so I lay back down on my comfortable bed and went back to sleep.

[the page turns]

Today I’m moving slabs of stone. I don’t know why, I just know that Fawke needs them lined up around the Smith, so that’s what I’m doing. The caravan that brought them arrived early yesterday, and I’ve been moving stones since then. I think I slept at some point last night, but then it’s dark right now so that might not have happened. The leader of the caravan seems happy enough to assume I’m mute and I don’t feel like correcting him. I can’t remember the last time I talked to someone. My mouth is kind of parched, but not like I haven’t drunk for days. I don’t know how long it’s been since Jarvin and Endolynn left and I don’t think they are coming back. The night is nice. It’s clear, with a moon up above. I notice some movement out in the trees to my left. Looks like a wolf. As I watch, the wolf and Lysander both come out of the dark and move towards me. I haven’t spoken to Lysander for a while. At this, I start to feel thirsty. I head back to my room in the dormitory. I don’t remember when I got it, but I have a nice bottle of scotch somewhere in the mess that is my room. I search through the various bottles on the floor until I find one that sloshes.
“That’ll do, roight it will”. I drink my way through the bottle, and then find another. I drink that one too, and then lie down for a bit. It’s warm in my stomach, and makes everything fuzzy. It helps fend off thoughts of my dad. At that, I hear his voice.
“Son, Drink rarely ‘elps people. Sure, you can ‘ave a good toi’me with your friends, but tha’s because you sta’rt out ‘appy. You wanna see true misery, give a bo’tle to a miser”.
I can’t keep thinking about dad. It makes me sad to think of what he’d say to me. Probably something like “clean yer room” or “what ya mopin for, there’s a problem, go fix it, that’s what Smithsons do”. I stumble out of my room into the Smith again. It’s still light, but I think the moon’s moved half way across the sky. My footing is a bit loose and the worlds slightly blurry, but she’ll be right. I stumble back to the bit of stone I was moving around. Mayhap I can get some more work done. As I get closer, I see Lysander and his bloody wolf. I swear he’s been avoiding me ever since Jarvin abandoned us, like it was my fault.
“Was’n moi foult Lysander, Jarvin just sucks”. I didn’t know I was gonna speak. Well, s’pose I’ve started now. “He’s a coward an ee left ois to deal with this. That’s wha’ we gotsta do, we gotsta deal wid it. Then me pa will come ‘ome”. He just keeps staring at me. He’s such a good kid, always tries hard. I don’t know why that makes me mad but it does. “An what are youuu lookin’ at huh. Jus’ the big drunk smith guy, too dumb to throw around magic, too big to get in door’s. We’ll, you couldn’ save me ma COULD YA!!” I’m yelling now. Why am I yelling at Lysander, I like Lysander. “YOU COULD’N SAVE ‘ER AN IT’S YOUR FAULT SHE’S DEAD. AN DAD TOO!! You should have pushed harder; maybe we could have gotten here sooner”. With that, the anger is gone. The look on Lysander’s face is too much. He doesn’t look hurt, just sorry. It’s like he’s sad for me, and I can’t take it. I turn around, walk away and go to bed.

[the page turns]

I’m in bed again. I feel like I’ve been laying here for days now and maybe I have. Honestly, I don’t know what to do. Everything in the Smith feels like a reminder, like I let everyone down. Fawke won’t let me help anymore, and no one will give me any scotch. If I just stay in bed then nothing bad can happen. That’s my life now. This small room, with the curtains drawn.
BANG “Baldrin let me in ya faffy git, ive had enough outta you.” That sounds like Patty. My fiery lass with the bright red hair and the ludicrous amount of freckles. As I think it, another image pop’s into my head. Patty with a white face and staring eyes. Patty in a pool of blood, bleeding onto me. Patty, speaking a dead woman’s words.
“LEAVE ME BE YA CRAZY DAFT WOMAN!!!!”. I don’t know why I’m so angry all of a sudden. Or am I scared? My hearts beating like someone just tried to stab me.
“I SHAN’T YA GIANT GIT, NOW LET ME IN OR ILL KICK THIS RUDDY DOOR IN!!!”. She sounds just as angry, or is that hurt. I don’t move to the door. As I stand there, I wonder what to do. BANG BANG CRUNCH. Patty just put an axe through the door. As I watch, she reaches in and unlocks the door. Her arm gets cut by the splintered wood.
“what ye doin, ye’ll cut yerself”. As I say it, I worry, and that image comes back into my head “STAY OUT!!”. I dive under the covers of my bed. A stupid thing, I haven’t done this since my dad used to tell us the scary stories of Baldric.
“NO!!” as she says it, she opens the door and steps inside. I peak from under the covers. It always takes my breath away when I see her. She’s taller than I remember. Her hairs longer and her skin isn’t quite so white. Looks like the hard work of rebuilding the Smith suits her as she’s filled out just a little. Not meat, just muscle. Her eyes are as blue as ever, and they stare at me cold as ice. Patty is angry, and she learned that look from me mum.
“GET OUT OF MY PLACE WOMAN, YOU NAY BELONG ‘ERE”. I still don’t know why I’m shouting, but my hearts beating faster.
“You’re avoidin’ me, aren’t ya. You’d think tha’ when a man ‘as his lifelong love brought back from certain death, he’d be ‘appy. Why are you ‘idin in ‘ere ya great oaf. You need ta be out lookin’ for this Seraphim tit” she almost looks like she’s calmed down. I feel a softening as well. I can’t let that happen, then I’ll have to deal with all that happened, and that’s too hard.
“Woman” I say it low, almost like a growl, “I said out of my place. I meant it” I stand up and step off the bed. I take another step, I don’t know what I’m going to do but I can’t deal with this at the moment. “Just LEAVE ME BE!! IT’S YER FAULT THIS ‘URT’S SO MUCH. IF YOU ‘ADNT BEEN ‘ERE LIKE A RUDDY TIT THEN YOU WOULD’NA ‘AVE DIED AN I COULD ‘AVE SAVED E’ERYONE” as I say it, I almost convince myself of its truth. There’s a bottle in my hands. I don’t know where that came from, but I throw it at her. It smashes against the door frame. “I SAID OUT!”
“Baldrin, I waited. I won’t wait any longer”, as she says it she turns around and stalks out of the door. I swear I saw tears in her eyes as she turned. Even as she leaves I realise what I’d done. I should have kept her here, she might have distracted me. Now I have to deal with this. “Wait”, I whisper, but I don’t really want her to wait.

[the page turns]

I sat on my bed for who knows how long. By the time I look up, its dark and the moon is up. I can’t bring back those that I have lost. Not right now anyway. I need to keep those I still have. With those thoughts in my head, I head out to my father’s forge. As I step into the Smith, I spy something glinting on the ground. It’s the ring I gave Patty when I left. To me, it meant I’d always come home but it seems like to her it was a promise I didn’t keep. I pick it up, and place it back in my room, then head back into the Smith. The manor has been empty for a while, but the forge is still lit. Like it was waiting for me, or someone knew I would come to use it. Baldric’s hammer stood against the wall next to it. A hammer I found on the White Night. It seemed fitting to use it for my next work. I set to working as soon as the forge was prepared. I hammer and smith for what seems like days, though it cannot be so. As I hammer molten metal, I pour all of my anger into it. Whenever I dip the metal into water, I feel the heat of that anger die. I smith until I’m done. I do not sleep, I simply work. It was different to before. I had something important I wanted to do, and I set about doing it under my own steam. No direction, no numbness. As I work, I feel everything. My father always talked of smithing as an art. He would say that when you work with your feelings, you just work better. He wasn’t a complicated man. I don’t think I want to be a complicated man either.
I work for a whole day. When I finish, I hold up my work to the light of the moon. A finely made Full plate gauntlet, and etched into the base are the eleven names of the lost.
Myrren
Remora
Markus
Peter
Kurman
Lokara
Tarus
Alecia
Thermiel
Frederick
Tabren
The base of the gauntlet functions as a brace, while the metal glove can be taken off. I will not remove this brace until these people have had a chance to live.

[the page turns]

I’ve been more focused of late. I convinced Fawke to let me help again. I don’t just do as I’m told though, now I give input into the work. I talk through the plans to rebuild the smith with Fawke, and help nail down the finer points of defending such a small place with limited people. I sleep better now. I go to sleep earlier, and wake up before the sun. I have resumed my training, and have started focusing on becoming stronger. When I’m not helping the reconstruction effort, I’m playing with Ciril or my nephews, or helping people around the Smith.

I make an effort to seek out Lysander and apologise to him for my ridiculous behaviour. It was never his fault and I’m not even sure I was talking to him at the time. When I apologise to him, he accepts it readily enough. He seems pleased to see me out an about in all honesty. I hope I never scare him like that again.
I seek out Thamior and thank him for his help during the White Night. I notice that he has a new foot courtesy of Ciril. It looks like she put a lot of effort into it. Thamior is a bit of a strange man. His eyes are cold, and he doesn’t laugh much. I suppose, in all honesty I haven’t laughed much in recent times either. I resolve to spend more time with Thamior over the coming days. He seems like he could use the company, and I want his advice on something I’m thinking of making.

Jarvin returned today. I want to apologise to him for the way I acted, but I’m scared he won’t accept it. Worse, my behaviour on the White Night wasn’t exactly becoming, and must have discomforted him to no end. I spy him watering one of his horses, and move to catch him while he’s on his own. He looks up, with an almost pained expression, but otherwise seems happy to see me out an about. I stutter for a moment. I don’t know what to say. “Sorry I yelled at ya, twas just a lot, an I know ya did’na deserve it.”, I’ve run out of words. Crap, what do I say? That all came out to fast. “Yeah, umm, im real sorreh Jarvin, an I hope I didn’t make yer life too ‘ard on the White Night”. That’s it, I’m out of words. “No worries” jarvin’s face is back to normal. There’s still something there, but I can’t tell what it is. I spend the rest of the afternoon talking with him about his life. It’s a good day.
Today Endolynn has come back to the Smith . When I see her I rush up and give her a massive hug. I try to put all of my apologies into it, though I may crush a rib or two in the process. Another good day.

[the page turns]

It’s hot in here. It’s always hot in the forge. The whole room is sweltering, and bathed in the red glow of the furnace. I crank the heat up as I high as I can, and set to work. Today, im making something for Patty. I haven’t seen her in two weeks. I miss her, more so than before. It’s almost been a month and a half since the White Night. As I hammer some metal into something small enough for Patties wrist, I try to think of all the good things about her. I pour all of that into making her a bracelet. I try hard to make it pretty, and I think I pull it off too. I know if I wore this, people would think it was awfully feminine. I’ve made a small, delicate arm brace for her, with three pearls set into the top. The underside is lined with fur, to keep it from chafing. The metal is polished to an absolute shine, and coated so that it doesn’t rust, with some silver inlaid around the pearls. It’s as good as I am ever gonna make when It comes to jewellery. I decide not to show it to Thamior, since deluding myself is fun. I leave the iron ring as it is.

As I stare at my handiwork for the day, I think about how happy she’ll be to get it. I think about all the things I want to say to her. I hope she likes pearls. I hope she hasn’t met someone else. Now I’ve started thinking about the day I saw her after I yelled at her. She came into my room happy as Larry just before sun rise and started chatting about a guy she’d met. About how wonderful he was, how much of a tender lover he was. I swear, if I hadn’t smelt so bad from not showering for a few days she would have started comparing our sizes. I really hope that didn’t turn out to be as permanent as she was pretending it would be.
Im standing outside her house. I’ve cleaned myself up, and dressed in my best travelling clothes. I would have gone with something more formal, but everything I own got blown up. I’m so nervous my hands are shaking. I don’t rightly know what I’m about to do, I just don’t want anyone to be uncertain anymore. I want all the cards on the table, whatever that means. Patty is a mean card player. I swear if she had the chance she could out bet and out play Norebo, in a Suel casino no less. Im getting distracted. I force myself to walk up to the front door. Her garden is overgrown as usual, but neat. It doesn’t stray from the garden bed, just grows up. Her porch has that old rickety swing I helped build when she first moved it. Looks like it needs mending. I think about going round the back. Maybe I should just peak in first, make sure it’s not a bad time. I stop myself, and knock on the door.

“Patty, it’s Baldrin”, I don’t know why I’m announcing myself, it seems proper. I glance at the box in my hand, and then pat my back pocket. I breathe a sigh of relief; both gifts are where I left them. The door opens slowly, and Patty look’s around the side of the door. Her hair’s wet, like I interrupted her cleaning herself. She always liked to be clean. I have no idea why she likes me, I’m always so dirty. I’m staring. What do I say. “Uh, can I ..uh.. com’ in.. please”, wow, confidence right there, it’s like I’m a charismatic god.
“ney, I was jus’ leavin to go for a walk”, she doesn’t seem rushed or hurried, maybe I did interrupt her?
“oh uh, sorreh te intrude. I’ll be goin’ then”, gees, that was smooth Baldrin.
“Baldrin”, her voice does that thing, like she’s humouring me an scolding me at the same time, “if ye ‘ave sometin to say, you should say it ey”.
“It’s just. Uh. I ‘unno, I wanted to apologise for all that stuff I said. It was uncalled for, an I should’na said it”. There, that wasn’t so hard.
“Well go on den, apologise ya great oaf”, she’s still looking at me. I can’t tell whether she’s amused or angry. Why does she have to have such a good poker face.
“uhh, Oi did. Jus’ den. An even if’n tha’ wasn’ an apology, how can I do it wi’ this door in the way”, I am winning no prises for being smooth. This isn’t going how I expected it to at all.
“Well, I imagine sayin’ sorreh is a good start”, she’s smiling now.
“Uh.. uhh… umm.. Patty, I’m real sorry I was such a jack arse. I was freak’d out, and I ‘unno what came over me. Seeing you dead was ‘orrible. I’ve been thinking and I never wan’ to see that again. Ever. I want you safe, and I want to be with you fore’er”, wait, where is this going?
“I love ye, wid e’erything I ‘ave. When Oi lost ya, it felt like the worl’ was cavin’ in. I couldn’a deal wid it at all, it was ‘orrible. I felt like me very future wilt’d an died in front o’ me as I closed yer eyes. No one else could ever fill a ‘ole as big as you would leave in me if you died, an I can’t live wi’out ye.” Am I really about to propose. How come Patty is smiling, did she know I was gonna do this before I did. “Patricia Fernland, wi’ ye take the risk an marreh a big git loike me” as I say it I kneel in front of her door and pull the iron ring out of my back pocket, holding it out to her. It feels like an eternity as I wait. I can hear every noise; see dust as it dances in the air. Patty is just smiling at me, like she saw it coming a mile away. As I wait, I start to worry maybe she did stay with that guy. It’s almost like she’s making me wait out of spite.

“Baldrin, yer a giant git, but yer my giant git, so o’ course I’ll marry ye”, with that she opens the door and grabs the ring. She’s standing at her door with a towel around her waist. I start to wonder how absurd this would look to anyone watching, and then forget to care. “oh uh, I want’d you t’ ‘ave this”, I offer the box with the pearl Bracelet in it “I was s’posed to offer that first, and uh, then give ye the ring back. I’m uh, not sure wha’ jus’ ‘appened.. Though I think I loike it.”

[As those words echo in your head, you are slowly pulled back to reality. The last thing you see as the images fade out is Baldrin going into Patty’s house. The words on this page simply read “Tragedy isn’t all bad, otherwise there’s nothing to feel bad about losing”]

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Letter to Alistair #2

Alistair,

Your parents have given me the address for your regiment so I can only hope this letter finds you well. I returned home to Abbeyvale for a couple of weeks and went to visit you only to find you’d been sent to fight in the war. I cannot tell you how worried I am. My stomach turns at the thought of anything terrible happening to you. I know it has been a long time since we last saw each other but I do still care for you deeply and if you returned we could be united once more. Please stay safe.

Life has been quite dark lately. My friend, Baldrin, has had a really, really, really rough time. We visited his hometown and as it turned out it had been ravaged by bandits, who had been hired by someone or something going by the name of Serafim, which is old Elven for angel. Who knows what we have now gotten ourselves into? Baldrin’s mother was brutally murdered while we fought a camp of bandits. Luckily we got the other members of his family and the town out safely and they are all working to rebuild and restore their community.

It was after this that I decided to head home. I travelled for a couple of weeks by horse, and was ever so excited to see my father. It had been so long, I had missed Abbeyvale more than I expected to. It was so nice to see everyone, if only you had been there as well. Dad gave me something though, something I wish he had given me years ago. Apparently when my mother left us she wrote a letter to me. Dad gave it to me and I couldn’t hold back the tears. I know her name, I know what she looks like, I know her handwriting, I can hear her voice. She was such a beautiful woman, although it sounds like she was in danger, which is why my father kept it from me. He had hoped I would stop searching, stay safe from whatever my mother was facing, but this has just made me more motivated to find her. I need to see her, I need to know she is okay. I need to meet the woman who loved me so much that she had to leave…

I am steadily becoming a stronger mage, faster than I would have ever expected to have. There are so many exciting spells out there to learn, and I can’t wait to learn more and more and I keep travelling on this journey I had undertaken. I won’t give up on searching for my mother. It may be hard but I have a wonderful party to travel with. Mostly. Jarvan has been driving me crazy as of late. Sometimes I simply cannot understand his actions and thoughts on our actions. I guess it’s not possible to get along fantastically with everyone. But Baldrin and Jarvan are lovely people. I am concerned for Baldrin in his time of grief, but I am confident he will pull through.

There was something else I meant to tell you, about Baldrin. During the attack on the town, Baldrin’s… I’ll say significant other, was killed by an axe to the back. We were sure she was dead, we covered the body when we went to fight the bandits. But when we came back there she was, alive, pale, but well. I couldn’t believe it. There must have been some powerful magic going on during that night. Something beyond the scope of my knowledge. But something that I hope we will learn more about as time goes on.

Please write to me if you can, to the Arrow at Rest. I miss you, please take care.

Love,

Endolynn signature

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Thamior Tale #2- The Night of Slaughter

“Well young kids this is the night our tale turns dark has Thamior starts he journey towards avenging the deaths of his family and return them to the world of the living” The old man started on the second night of story telling. This night seemed to be darker and colder then it should have for the time of year as if even the weather itself released the importance of this tale.“So listen close children and learn from our brave heros dont fall to beast that lurk within us all” continued the old man.

Thamior returned to the top of the hill at this point to find Jarven and Endolynn standing by the well. Endolynn was crying her eyes out going on about how Baldrin had gone down the well and killed himself which in his opinion seemed ludicrous but Thamior had seen men do stranger things in times of grief before so he went down the well with the young boy Lysander to see were he had gone. Turns out that under the water at the bottom of the well was a series of tunnels as part of a tomb to Baldrins ancestors. This is where the duo finds Baldrin searching for the hammer of his great-great-great-grandfather. Thamior has started to fear for the partys leader mental state now. Baldrin had gone through a terrible ordeal this night and barely seemed to be keeping it together. After Endolynn had come down to make sure that Baldrin was still alive the three of them went back to the surface leaving the young warrior to continue his search along. Thamior and Jarven at this point started questioning the man named Hatchet about were he had sent the rest of his men with remaining Smithsons. Thamior normally would of prefered to just flay open the mind of this villian but the nights events had taken the toil on his mental fortitude and the power to read minds had never come easily to him to begin with. A note promising coin for the Smithsons was found but no more information could be coxed out of the man. Young Thamior at this point took to question Hachets remaining living lackey in the village promising him gold and freedom if he lead them to were the meeting place was. As Thamior came to a agreement with the henchmen a large scream came from the top of the hill. Running to see what had happened Thamior came upon a scene of horror. Baldrin had started to hammer in wooden nails into the arms of Hatchet ignoring the the pleas to stop from his friends he drove two nails into the mans arms before Jarven stopped the horrid act by giving Hatchet the mercy of a clean beheading. Thamior at this point could see that Baldrin had been driven of the edge by the acts committed to their town and would need watching from this point onwards to make sure he didn’t slide further into madness. A location though had been gained of where the villains were hiding the Smithsons and remaining villagers. Quickly sending his fair lady of to find and alert the local garrison of the evil committed on that fateful night Thamior ran of with the other heroes to start avenging all who had died that night. After running through the forest and nearly losing further limbs to traps in the forest Thamior and his fellows came upon the camp of the raiders. A dark and terrible fight ensured at this point with wizards turning men to giant versions of themselves while men and wolf ripped apart the raiders. Their tents were cover in blood and limbs where cut and heads smashed in. Lysander manage to cover the area in wild plant growth but this only slowed a few most still fighting and dying as nothing had happened. It was admist this fight young children that Thamior realized what had been missing in his life the last ten years. The heart pumping rush of combat and the thrill of adventuring. The glee he gained from helping saluaghter those bandits will stay and haunt Thamior for most of his days even if his Iron resolve would never show it. Even though the hero came hard and fast the raiders still managed to kill on of the hostages young Baldrins mother was killed, her throat cut right in front of the eyes of Thamior and to make it worse while trying to keep her alive and so she didnt die alone the bandint escaped this night, another thing to add to the list wrongs that need righting.
“Now young children this is way we have brave defenders to guard as each night as horrible people are out there wishing to do us harm, now go to sleep and tomorrow I shall tell you more of the tale of Thamior and his fellow seekers.

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Baldrin's Journal Entry #7 cont.
I did say tragedy, not mere inconvenience...

As I approached the light, I could hear familiar voices. It was Thamior and Lysander, chatting about where I may have gone. It was too soon Ade, and I had no intention of coming back to reality. I was tempted to turn tail then an there and hide in the riddles of this tomb. I didn’t. It’s not in me to hide from my troubles when they’re insisting on forcing themselves to the surface, so I walked towards the light. Sure, I wasn’t done in here yet, but the lad sounded unsure of himself, and I didn’t want him to worry. After a moment of standing at the intersection he finally noticed me. Being able to see now, I made note that there were no murals down here after all. Or at least not yet, though there was a door behind the big iron grill behind me. Anyway, Lysander was chatting to Thamior, who it seems was hanging out of the well. For a man that had recently lost both his children, this guy was holding himself together very well. I mean, at the time I had no idea what had happened to him, I was too busy dealing with my own troubles, but now that I look back on it he had a steel grip on himself I can tell you. So, to cut a very long and faff filled story short, Endolynn had to lay eyes on me to be sure I weren’t dead (for some inane reason they thought I had killed myself), and the poor lass had been cryin’ torrents. She was so upset she hugged me without thinking. It was nearly too much Ade, I very nearly lost hold of myself. After that, I shooed them all back up the well, though now Lysander had patched up my bleeding holes, and was even kind enough to leave his glowing spear with me. So I ventured back into the dark, while my companions went up to the surface to try and find out where the rest of the smithfolk had been taken.

So, as I approached the ruddy super riddle filled door of possible pain in my arse, I racked my brain about Baldric. An then, almost as if Endolynn was down there with me perched on my shoulder givin me advice, it occurred to me that Baldric hadn’t made this ruddy place. “It was his wife, Patricia” whispered the non-existent Endolynn. So I tried to remember all I could about her. Honestly, id had this bizarre idea that she had been a barmaid, but then I remembered this strange story about the smithing of Baldric’s hammer, and how the Arch mage Patricia had been instrumental in its forging. I know right Ade, the daft lass was an Arch mage. Of all the things. I mean, this lass went to the trouble of building this super secret tomb under The Smith On The Hill in the most unlikely place for anyone other than a Smithson to look. An then she put a bunch o’ daft riddles in the way. I tell ya, none of my family have been riddle lover’s. They be faffy, and just a git’s way o’ feelin’ superior to everyone else. An she was me great great granmam or somet’in. Yeesh. So, I remembered a line from this one riddle I heard. Now I think on it, pity it never occurred to me that Granmam was a fan of riddles, because there be an awful lot in the tales of Baldric. So this one, is all about how you come into the world on all fours, and move through it on two legs. Then I forgot the end. Still, it was a start, so I moved through the door with four gems above it. An entered another nondescript room with a bunch of doors in it an a bunch o’ glowy gems above them. So I went through the one with two gems, and woo. I got it right a second time. Still, I got the last one right wrong. I figured it was that you left the world on one, since you go out on yer back. Turns out, I was very wrong, and promptly got attacked by a glowing piece of metal. Arch mages are right weird, ill tell ya now Ade. Anywho, turns out the right door was the one with 3 gems above it, but I cannae figure out why.

So, I got me pieces of metal, and went through the door behind the iron grate. An that gave me a grand view… of a bunch of stairs going further down. So I travelled the stairs, thinkin’ at any moment they would disappear below me and id fall to my death. They didn’t, but still. Daffy arch mages can do anything, I’m utterly convinced of it now. At the base of the stairs was a giant hallway, with a bunch of statues set into small alcoves along it. As I stepped forward, the statues lit up with fire, and it became clear that they were statues of a man smithing something. As I ran forward great gout’s of fire flew forth from the statues and I had to make a mad dash for the other end of the hall.

[seems something else was written before the last sentence, but scratched out with a small note in the margin saying “tis my journal, I’ll write what I want, even if it aint quite how it ‘appened”].

So, at the end of the hallway was a pair of giant doors that lead into a small domed room. At the end of the dome opposite me was a small altar with some scroll set atop it. Afore that were a massive sarcophagus with the most ornate carvings of a forest scene set into it. They depicted the forging of Baldric’s hammer in what can only be said to be far too much detail. I mean, these reliefs were so ornate I felt I could reach in and touch the damnable hammer as it were being made. Tell ya what, arch mages don’t spare any effort on their tombs. See, that’s who’s in the box. On the top is a major carving of Patricia, with a veil covering her face. Fancy robe to go with it. The room itself glowed, and it made the whole thing feel kind of like a bad blue smoke trip. Still, no hammer to be seen, so I moved to the alter and read the ornate scroll. It read as follows:

Childe of warrior’s maker,

Listen to my cry!

Pass beneath the moon’s gaze and cease

When her sparkle fills your eye.

Speak words of shaping, open the path,

To where my husband lies.

Do not give in to thy gluttony

Take no thing that money buys.

Go not for silvered, nor for gilded,

But something in between.

Hewn from rock, no key nor lock,

No diamond to be seen.

If you are my husband’s son,

You will know the way.

I think, when I read that I cursed out loud. It echoed around the chamber, like I was being laughed at. I can honestly say that at that moment I felt utterly lost. Words of shaping, the moon’s gaze. To me, these things suggested the hammer lay somewhere else. I mean, it makes sense from a mage’s perspective, all they have to do is teleport there. Except my family specialises in smithing and the working of magic into smithing. I mean hell, Fawkes didn’t even touch magic until he was 20 for crying out loud, and the few adventurers in my family often never took it up in the first place. Well apparently to the magic users of the world, if you can’t use it, you aint worth there time. Even after finding the damnable hammer, im still annoyed at my great great gran for being so short on foresight as to not foresee the likelihood of her family not all being ruddy mages. For crying out loud Ciril is making better stuff than most full-fledged Wizards, and she’s 16.

Well, I can safely say I got loud an angry in that room, and then I stormed out. I figured it was a dead end, and Id best just find my family without the hammer. It’s what Baldric would have done, and its what I was going to do. Except, as I careened up the final hallway towards the well with the scroll in hand I noticed something odd. At the base of the well was a big black shiny stone, with a small circle around it. An as I came back out of the small corridor, the moonlight was streaming through the well shaft onto the stone, and making it glow. Twas uncanny Ade how bright the damn thing was. So, at that I dropped the scroll and scrambled back up to the surface intending to get Endolynn. After calling for her from the well, I asked her for a word of shaping, an she flat out refused to give it to me. In her words “you cant just start using magic Baldrin, it takes study and time” so the lass clambered on down the well. Turns out im not the only one that cant just use magic, she had to pull out the wand we swiped from Auraluna’s crazy death dungeon. A wand of stone shape it was called, and aren’t we lucky we didn’t use it, couse when Endolynn pointed it at the ground and zapped the wand, the black stone spiralled out an made a staircase heading down. I say lucky because when she was finished the wand fizzled and dried up, like it had run out of steam. Apparently it only had one charge in it. Seriously granmam was lucky we had one at all the crazy woman.

We headed down the staircase for maybe a minute, and came out into a room that I sorely wish to see the like of again, but without the esoteric poverty rules attached. Seriously, this made old mage had amassed an absolute fortune, and then told me not to touch it. I could have resurrected at least half of the smith with that much gold. The only problem was that I didn’t know how many of them were dead, an if I wanted to save them all I probably needed some magical skull bashing help. So I ignored it, while Endolynn read over the scroll again. See, across from the stairway were 6 hammers, with words in Dwarven scrolled above them. Now, I could tell you Ade about which was which and how to tell them apart, but I feel that you should figure that out for yourself, ive given you enough help. Still, I didn’t think I’d picked the right one when I grabbed it. I mean, the ceiling didn’t fall in or anything, but I expected it to shine or glow. Hell, it didn’t feel all that different to my other hammer. I suppose now I think of it that was a probably a dead giveaway. I mean, a new hammer is a bit clunky, and the handles are just a bit rough. This hammer though felt amazing. A perfect fit for me hand. Plus, it was made of stone. That’s it, just a big, six foot 8 inches stone hammer, with a massive head and the dwarven word for hammer chiselled into it. I was so nonplussed I honestly tossed it on the ground and left it behind. I walked down the passage that opened behind it, climbed the ladder to the surface an nearly left it down there. I did go back for it, I even checked it out by slamming it into a wall and literally nothing about it suggested it was special. To be honest, now I think about it, that is exactly as it should be. Honestly, I don’t want a big flashy weapon; a giant hammer is flashy enough. It just took me actually finding a hammer like that to understand that.

So, in that entire hubbub I left Endolynn upstairs. I didn’t mean to, I was just a bit scattered. Still, I shouldn’t have left her up on the surface. Turns out that the secret tomb had an escape ladder that lead into Smithson Manor. I came out in a small hidden room that lead out into one of the ground floor workspaces. It also had a safe, but Endolynn had already worked gone through that and collected the papers left there. So, as I exited the manor and said hello to Endolynn she asked me if I had found what I was lookin for. Obviously I said yes an showed her the hammer. Then she fainted. That’s right Ade, just looking at my hammer made the poor girl go weak at the knees. I’d have laughed if I hadn’t been so worried about the world at large.

The next part of the story is a bit darker than I’d like. Obviously the gang had set all the bodies from the smith to rights in the centre of town, and went through the belongings of those foul folk that would desecrate my home. Each of them had also prepared their gear so they could travel quickly. Well, all of them but Jarvin. He insisted he was able to run quick enough to keep up, but I cared not. If I left him behind so be it. This, by the way Ade, is not the dark stuff. The dark stuff is what followed.

Apparently the man who had hurt my Patty was named Hatchet. Fools name if you ask me, but still. It seemed as if Thamior and Jarvin had attempted to get information from him, as well as another bandit that survived. They didn’t get much from what I understand, but at least they’d tried. After discovering this I asked Hatchet a simple question. I asked him where they had taken my family. Ironically the git tried to reason with me. Told me if he said anything some guy would kill him. He was honestly more scared of them than he was of us. So I explained what I would do with him. I told him that id been thinking about it, and that I was going to take from him what he took from me. He wanted to die, but I wanted him to live. I was going to cripple him Ade, take from him something he seemed to care about as much as I had cared for Patty. At this, he lost his mind and spilled his guts. He tried to make me promise to kill him, and I gave him a half truth and a lie. After he had those he told me that my family were nearby and where they were. I then went to work on him. I had someone bring me wood nails from the manor, I don’t remember who. Then I took those nails and started to hammer them into Hatchet. I had intended to have him healed with the nails still in, so he couldn’t move easily without hurting himself, but Jarvin would have none of this. To him, what I was doing was not a just punishment, but torture. Heh, if I had been about to torture someone I wouldn’t have just used nails, but still.

As Hatchet screamed for mercy, Jarvin cut his head off. He honestly believed that was the right thing to do. I’m going to try to explain how this made me feel Ade but I didn’t understand it at the time, and I’m still not sure I do. I think that what it truly boils down to is that I don’t trust Jarvin to do what’s right by the rest of us. As awful as that sounds, I think that’s what it is. It’s his stupid code and inability to make the hard calls make him unreliable and a danger to the rest of us. As we move through life, we will make mistakes, and he has shown me at least that he won’t care, and that he’ll judge us as he sees fit with no room for flexibility. I spit on that life view, and have no respect for those so inflexible that they cannot understand the need to bend in the wind. In the time since this night, I have made some mistakes and taken my anger out on those I care for. Ill apologise to them as soon as I can, but I will never trust Jarvin to put us afore his order’s code. His choices have too often cost us as a whole, and I have no patience for those that cannot grow beyond their limitations. Maybe I simply write this in anger, but my only view is this. Hatchet took from me my home, my family and a person I love more than life itself and Jarvin could not even tolerate me taking his ability to hurt people away from him.

So, that whole affair was particularly messy. To be honest Ade, the darkness I saw in myself that day scares me some, but I think of it more as an asset than a burden. I doubt very much that I will ever be pushed as much as I was on the day of the Smithson White Night, so I doubt that ill see that darkness again. If’n I do, then I pity the soul on the other side of it more than anything else. So, after that mess we set off to find the rest of the smith folk. I hadn’t trust Hatchet to tell me the truth so I asked Lysander to have his dog track Fawke through his gloves. Unfortunately it had been raining since I went into the well, and that must have confused the scent, so the poor wolf went the wrong way. Can’t blame a body for trying, even if it did send us the wrong way and take precise minutes away from us. Still, eventually we turned around. At that point I was a bit worried so I started running. I knew the general location of the bandit camp, and ran there as fast as I could. It was a small copse of trees just beyond the smith. When I got there, I found I’d left poor Endolynn behind. I decided to walk into the trees, and give Lysander’s wolf another go at tracking. Jarvin stayed behind, waiting for Endolynn. We weren’t the most subtle folks, so torches were lit for us to see, and poor Lysander’s wolf got carved up by razor wire strung between trees. As Lysander worked to remove the wire, I dressed in my armour. I’d taken it off to make it easier to run, but now that we were so close I felt I needed it again.
When id finished, I found Lysander hadn’t been able to cut the wire, and he was particularly worried that other creatures would get hurt by it. Even as I swung my hammer Jarvin and Endolynn came out of the trees. Beyond us, we could see distant lights of the enemies’ camp, and with everyone here and the wire broken we set forward to recover the last of the Smith folk. I charged forwards, hoping that I could make up for my lack of sneaking with speed, but the crafty bandits had set up a pit trap and I wasn’t quick enough to react to it. You know Ade, were always taught bandits are stupid. I’m more inclined to say they’re unpredictable. I mean, what sort of person ignores how late their leader is in returning to camp, but also has the fore thought to set traps around it, even though he’s still out there. Maybe his lieutenant just didn’t like him much, or they have secret signals to warn each other. Still, I’d say it’s a good way to hurt someone you like as much as someone you dislike.

Anyway, as we charged towards the enemies’ camp, our chance at surprise long gone we found the bandits waiting for us. Weirdly enough they hadn’t prepared for us, but they were standing waiting. They didn’t launch any attacks on us as we left the tree’s behind, nor did they have their hostages arrayed before them. They were just waiting. Mayhap it was coup, and they were hoping to kill their boss while he was weakened. Who knows, all I know is as I saw them, and sprang to action, I felt my blood boil. These motley gits had broken into my home and hurt my people. This rag tag bunch of twats that weren’t smart enough to attack us while we were in the tree’s or use their hostages to good effect thought that they had it all wrapped up. Their arrogance offended me, and I went to work on them. Even as the fight progressed the dumb second in command had her cohort run off to kill the hostages. That’s right Ade, kill them. She didn’t bother to threaten us, or ask us to stop, she just had this guy run off to kill her pay day. Her intense stupidity made me so angry, that I hit her so hard her head was forced into her torso. Not off, around or behind; into. Even as the fighting around us died off I thought that was probably a bit much. It just sorta happened Ade, I couldn’t help it. Then I noticed the world around us.

In the fight, Lysander had forced the very land itself to reach up and grab my opponents. I remember splattering a giant man’s head, but there were no giants here, and there beyond the second in command that still stood before me laid the ruins of multiple mages slain by my party. Out of a tent far away from me backed Thamior, and then, as I watched the man sent to dispatch my family. The faceless thug of my enemy, emerged from the tent with a knife to my mother’s throat. Even as I moved to intercept them he backed into the forest followed by Thamior. It was so dark in there, I couldn’t find them Ade. I couldn’t see bugger all before me, but I could hear the world. As I searched, I heard a man scream. It sounded like Thamior, and as he went on it resolved itself into yells for help. I rushed towards the sound, hoping that Lysander wasn’t lost in the trees as I was. I came out into a small clearing, with the moon clear in the sky lighting it up. As I came into the clearing, I could see Thamior cradling my mother, Myrren. There was blood everywhere, and her eyes stared up, lifeless. The cretin had slashed her throat wide, and let her bleed out, and All Thamior could do was try to stem the bleeding. Suddenly, as the world started to crash in on me I saw the foliage beyond my mother move, as if someone had run into it. I was off. I’ve never run so hard in my life Ade, but here I did. I sometimes caught a glimpse of the man as he ran ahead, but I never got close enough to catch him. I don’t know how long I ran Ade, but at some point he must have slipped into the trees or stopped moving and I had lost him.

[here the pages seem splattered in tears that smudge the ink a little]

The man that killed my mother got away that night Ade, and I don’t know what to do. No matter how strong I get, how can I stop this from happening. Her death added to my father’s and Patty’s broke me and it has taken a long time and much effort from my friends to put me back to rights.

[the writing continues on the next page]

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Baldrin's Journal Entry #7
I'll tell you a story of great heroism, but first i must tell you of a great tragedy

[the script on this page is very formal, as if written by someone working very hard to keep their emotions in check. In the binding of the journal are multiple ripped off pages that make you think this entry has been written more than once]

It’s been a while since I last wrote in my journal Ade. I just haven’t felt up to it for the last few weeks. A side effect of the many tragedies I witnessed after my last post. It was too upsetting for me to focus on, and I needed some space before I could turn my attention to the events of the White Smithson Night. You see, last I wrote you, I was about to leave to discover where Baldric’s hammer lay, but the events of that adventure were so far removed from what I had envisioned that it took me a while to process and gather my bearings. I write to you now with the knowledge that Patty, my dearest lass, was slain before my very eyes. My future was snatched from me, as if in reward for all that I hope to achieve. The life I had foreseen, where I could settle with my lass and grow old, fat and happy, is gone. Sure, maybe she will come back to me. I certainly know I’ll search for the chance to recover her, but the fact that she must even make the choice saddens me beyond thought. The fact that I need to rely on the very forces of nature I was so ready to rage and rail against worries me more so. What if she refuses, or the man I find botches the job. These thoughts keep me awake at night, and make it difficult for me to snatch a moments rest. I will find the riches to restore my lass though, nothing will stop that. Not the day, the night, nor the gods themselves will stop me from giving her another chance at life, and let all that attempt such a foolish thing tremble before me.

Once again, I rush ahead of myself and leave you lost in all my yapping. I forget that though I name you Ade, you are no singular person, and aren’t there to watch these events as they unfold. Though you, dear companion through time may have heard some of what occurred on the night of the White Smith, I will attempt to detail it as best I can. We arrived at The Arrow At Rest late at night on the day we left Longspear, only to have Lillavida direct me upstairs to talk to her supplier Ssal’kin. The man in question was a member of a race of lizardfolk, though I am unsure which. He was set up in Thurka the Bard’s room, and encircled by pillows around a small table. The room was filled with blue smoke, so I inhaled deeply. Good manners thought I, though it seems fate itself was working against me. After introductions, and a quick drink, I started to notice the effects of the smoke on my speech, so I quickly turned the conversation to the things I wished to know. Ssal’kin told me Baldric’s hammer lay in a shrine in the smith he founded, entrusted to his love Patricia. Apart from this, he also told me that another had been asking about the hammer recently.

Though I was alarmed someone may find the hammer before me, it did not occur to me how terrible this news truly was. After some further questioning, I came to the conclusion that this other quester was likely to be trouble for my home, and stumbled down the stairs of the inn. Unfortunately, the blue smoke had affected my judgement terribly, and the other members of my party would not accept the urgency of my mission. They chose rather to sleep comfortably than to begin travel forthwith, and my fortitude though strong, was not enough to maintain my momentum under the effects of the blue smoke. This stubbornness of my compatriots held true for the whole trip to the Smith, and they refused to travel as quickly as I would have liked, for fear it might tire them out. While I am not going to hold the events of the White Smith against them, I hope that they feel as responsible as I do for the deaths of that evening. Had we but pushed a little harder Ade, I believe we could have been there before the onslaught, maybe saved Thermior’s children, or stopped my father from going so far.

Unfortunately, we didn’t push ourselves Ade, and the others are blameless because they had no reason to believe we should. Though I felt awful foreboding, even I joked and laughed on the trip to the Smith, thinking it the safest place in the world. I was so wrong Ade, and while I do not blame my fellow party members, I believe that each of us holds a certain amount of responsibility for the things that happened, and certainly we are each responsible for offering those that died a chance to be restored to life. So, when we finally arrived at The Smith On The Hill, it was too late. The walls were breached, the people were gone, and many lay slain. Slavers Ade, Slavers had come to the Yeomanry League, and were attempting to leave with some of the worlds most talented craftsman. It took me a while to figure that out. Upon seeing my home laid to ruin, I felt that anger from before. I was enraged, and in my anger one bandit fell below my hammer. Another was attempting to burn homes to the ground. He was a mage of some form, and so, when he fled, I burned him with Alchemists fire. His death was not clean Ade, for he had torched my home. I watched him burn. I must confess I don’t know what else was happening at this time, though later I gathered that Thermior the gem crafter had been in some trouble that the others rescued him from.

Honestly, at that time, I had thoughts only for my family and so I moved toward the Smithson Manor, thinking to find the rest of these brigands at the main gate. Unfortunately not, they had already infiltrated into the heart of the Smith, and in their aggression, my father must have seen but one recourse. I still do not understand what happened, but one moment the manor was there, and the next it was gone in a flash of bright white light. Well, the top floors were gone anyway. As I entered through the manor’s gate into the smaller walled circle that was the manor’s garden, I saw something I hadn’t expected. Patty came running out of the manor, and started running towards me. I know not why she was there, but there she was. I tell you, I’d been gone for but two weeks, and slept with multiple women since id been gone, but I missed her something terrible. Seeing her was like inhaling after holding your breathe as long as you can. It was like surfacing from a long dive, or awakening from a bad dream. Ade, even injured she was graceful. My Patty, my lovely lass, and I had missed her so. She was right there, and then she wasn’t.

As she ran towards me she was struck from behind by a throwing axe. It sunk into her back up to the hilt, and after that I have very few concrete memories. I remember telling Jarvin to fix her, and I remember running across most of the courtyard in an instant. I remember my party closing behind me, attempting to fell the villain that had stolen my future. I remember him cutting chunks out of me, but i barely flinched at the inconvenience. I tell you Ade, when he was knocked unconscious I came so close to splattering him to pieces and crying in the mess. This lunatic, a man I have never seen before in all my life took something from me so important that even now I feel like someone has pulled my heart out of my chest. All I could think of as I lay staring at his unconscious form was “where is everyone, what else have you taken from me”. Whoever this man is, I tell you he did not die that day. We did take his future though, just as he took mine, but I am jumping ahead in the story again.

With the villain that took my love from me unconscious, I regained awareness of the world around me. It was all I could do to keep from breaking down right there. An then I noticed her. Patty, my Patty, standing lifeless with her big blue eyes staring at me. For a reason I still do not fully understand, she was awakened from her death to deliver me a message about the family well. It’s a well in the walled off manor garden that for as long as I can remember the family has never used. Whenever I asked about it as a kid my dad would shush me and tell me it was tradition. He would say that it was important everyone drank the same water. To be honest, I wonder if he even knew the real reason we never drank from the well. Well, as my lifeless love stared at me, animated by some fruits joke of a spell, she spoke a message for Baldric. I don’t know why someone would drag my lovely lass into the heroes’ story, but apparently they thought it was a swell idea. Pity she had to die first [at this line there is a smattering of water marks on the page, like someone had started crying as they wrote this sentence] to deliver the message. All she had to say was that the well was important, and that she had loved Baldric something fierce. Maybe it was a message from the past Patricia intended for a Baldric that never returned. Who knows, though some day I will find out.

Then she fell again, and this time blood poured out of her wounds in a torrent, as if my very life were flooding out of her. I caught her before she hit the ground, closed her eyes and laid her down next to the well. It was so much to process Ade. My home exploding, my lass dying in front of me before I could even act to save her. I needed space, so I left the others by the well, and went looking for the corpses of my family. I expected to find them inside the manor. Weirdly enough, it was still standing. No roof to speak of, but the walls seemed fine, and everything on the ground floor seemed intact (except the kitchen, which was on fire). As I walked through the wreckage of my home I found no corpses, no people, not even the bodies of the enemy. I felt numb Ade, it was too much. Where were my brothers, or my sister? No one was in the labs downstairs, or the craft rooms of the ground floor. As I walked through my home, the only sounds that greeted my shouts for them were the sighing calls of the wind. The place was deserted, and i was left more confused than when I had first arrived. I turned to the only man I knew could tell me anything, the man that had killed my love. I barely remember what he looked like on that evening, though I remember clearly that he was broken. I had Lysander use the newly bought healing wand on him, and asked him a simple question. What was happening? He spat in my face, and made some foolish remark, so I slammed him into the wall so hard he started bleeding to death again. I repeated this three times, before I even noticed Jarvin ranting at me about what I was doing. As I looked about, everyone surrounding me looked scared or confused. To be honest, I still don’t understand what their problem was. This man’s life was mine, and he had something I needed, so I motivated him in the most time efficient way possible. Yet it seemed this methodology was putting me at odds with Jarvin and the others.

Thankfully Endolynn is a quick thinker, and a smarter person than I. She had some manner of mind reading spell prepared for the day, so when Lysander woke the brigand again, she used it on him to read his thoughts. Her reading laid this horrible business plain to sight, and she explained that he and his fellows had rounded up most of the smith folk and herded them off like cattle. Finally, she told me that this piece of trash had fought my father so well that he had felt the need to blow himself up. Even as I sit here that statement sounds so bizarre. My father would never leave this plane while the rest of his family needed him. So either he disappeared before the explosion, or something went wrong with one of his spells. That is the only logical conclusion. It brings me no comfort though Ade, for either my father is dead or he is somewhere else, unable to bring the folk of the smith home for some reason. That meant the task was up to me. I realise the brigands can’t have more than an hour on us, but in our current state we are no match for them. Endolynn has cast her spells, and I have used too much of the healing wand for little gain. It is at this point in the story that it is hardest to keep calm. I ask the others to search the main compound for any survivors, and while they are occupied, I set about finding the Hammer.

This serves two purposes for me Ade, and I recommend puzzle solving to anyone overwhelmed in grief. Firstly, it gave me something to focus on, allowing me to process what had happened and formulate some sort of plan. The other purpose is simpler. I see no reason why the hammer would be buried miles underground, for it is likely the only ones searching for it are of Baldrics line. Thus, a magic weapon lay beneath our very feet, and could prove useful in the next stage of our plans. As I search over the well, I find nothing of interest except that the wells ladder extends far below the surface of the drinking water. A bizarre design for a well, and so, after taking all of my armour off and leaving my hammer up top, I descend the ladder, leaving my lit torch just above the water line.

It was so surreal, being under the water of the well. I knew I couldn’t stay long, but I had to go for broke. I pushed as hard as I could, hoping my gamble paid off. Turns out I was wrong, and the water never ended. I drowned on that day Ade, and I as a ghost I write to you in the hopes you do not repeat my mistake…

Ha, had you worried there didn’t i. I realise this be a sad story, but I am still Baldrin. Stubbornly so, and I will not let the barbarity of other’s rob me of my sense of humour and wonder for long. So, as I was saying. I travelled through the water, and after ten feet of it, I emerged into a sunken, dark room. That’s right; the smart folk that built this secret shrine to my great great great dead gran pappy weren’t smart enough to put lights down here. I couldn’t bring my lamp, or my torches or anything, since they’d get wet. As frustrating as it was, I was forced to move on ahead in the dark. I was methodical, calm. I had to be Ade, and in the dark I was able to deal with some of my anguish. Strange enough, being in the dark gave me a safe place to cool off. I may have even cried while I was down there, I remember naught. So, I moved through the darkened shrine of my extra dead relative. As I searched, I wondered if there were pretty motifs down here that would never be seen. Eventually I came to a split in the hall I was searching down. It branched left and right, and there was a small room just in front of it. The room had two small holes that something could slide into, and a big iron grill in between them. Straightforward enough, I headed down the left branch first. At the end was a wooden door, with a small room beyond it. The room had a bunch of runes arrayed on the floor. Above the door was a small indentation that said “he who wields it will understand”. Oops, gettin’ ahead of myself again. I forgot to mention that the floor of the room lit up with a magical glow as I stepped inside. Thus, I could see the ruddy puzzle arrayed before me. So, the runes arrayed on the floor were dwarven. As part of my smith training, both dwarven and elven were hammered into me by my da’, so it was pretty easy to figure out what the floor said. The runes, if you stepped on them in the right order, spelt hammer. So, I followed them to a small box on the other side of the room. About half way there I noticed I was still bleeding from my fight above ground. Hell of a thing to realise that one wrong step might actually kill you. Glad to say it helped hammer home some of the importance of what I was doing down here (heh, get it.. hammer home…). Helped me see the light as it were, and realise that I needed to hurry to save the rest of my kin.

So, in the box was a small glowing rod. As I picked it up, the lights went out. The rod itself was well crafted, but it’s glow was barely enough to see the back of my hand. I deduced that it probably goes into one of the holes next to the grate, so I headed back to the intersection to follow up on the next piece of the puzzle. As I closed on the next wooden door, I made sure to check the outside of it this time. Engraved at the roof of the door were the words “travel the path from birth to death”. The room I stepped into had four doors, with small brightly glowing gems placed into the wall above them. I came out of the door with four gems above it. To my right was a door with three, across from me was one with two, and the one on the left had one gem above it. I stood and stared.

Honestly, I had no idea what this puzzle could be about. I like the odd riddle, but I’m not a fan of possible death occurring every time you get the answer wrong. Worse yet, nothing I could think of about Baldric suggested he had a strange obsession with doors as a baby, and nothing else in the room gave me an indication of what to do. The best answer I could give was that the door I had exited was the ‘birth’ door, and thus I should walk my way down the number of gems. Guess what, short answer, that was wrong. As I entered into the door with three gems above it, I saw a man standing in a glow maybe three paces from me. As I approached him, he lashed out at me. He was some form of zombified corpse, but he’d never rotted down here. All I could do was defend myself, so I lashed out at it with my right hand. My fist connected with the thing’s skull, and caved it in. I was lucky, but feared what may happen in the next room. I could only assume I had made the wrong decision, so I stepped out into the room again. Only, it wasn’t the room, but the hallway I had come out of, and now I could see. There was a light ahead of me, coming from the direction of the well and spilling out into the main part of the intersection.
The writing continues on the next few pages…

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Chapter III - The Hammer of Baldric
All is quiet once more at The Arrow At Rest.

Chapter iii

All is quiet as you arrive at The Arrow after a long day’s travel. The moon is past her zenith, and in the early hours, light still spills from the inn’s windows like an oasis of peace and stability. Her walls have been repaired, and there is no sign in the entire village of the horrors of only one week before.
The common room is filled with Thurka’s elven harp, and she hums to herself to the tranquil music. One man, a traveller in brown and violet robes, sits with a half-empty bottle of dwarven spirits at his side in front of the fireplace, contemplating something truly deep and profound. A pair of dwarves, murmuring to themselves with half a dozen empty tankards and two bottles of dwarven spirits between them sit at another table, their heads low against the table as if they were about to pass out. Neither of the barmaids can be seen, but Lillavida is behind the bar, polishing a glass mug almost the size of her head.

“You’re right on time,” Lillavida says as you enter, “My supplier, Ssal’Kin wants to talk to you Baldrin. He’s waiting for you upstairs, you remember where you left your equipment last time you were here, right? Meanwhile, for the rest of you, anyone care for a drink?”

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Baldrin's Journal Entry #6
Guess how much water i threw up that day...

[the writing on the following page is clean of any blood]

I don’t really have much time to write in the journal at the moment, because we are about to return to Lillavida’s inn, but I just wanted to give a quick update on what happened down in the sewers. It turns out a giant piece of pointy bone is not that life threatening, but only if you get someone talented at healing like Jarvin to do it. That being said, it still hurt like a bitch and it’s gonna leave one hell of a scar.

So, the sewers. Traipsing around in a sewer is not really how I expected my grand adventures to proceed but after a quick catch up with the Golden swans where they provided us some magic fandangled healing scrolls, that’s what we proceeded to do. Eventually, after a half an hour of our life we’ll never get back, we came across a small room, and a large hole in the wall opposite it. Fearing spiders would swarm out of the hole and kill us all, we moved over to it to check it out. That is where this story gets a little different. Honestly, I don’t know what happened. One minute I’m standing there, looking down a big hole, and the next I’m frozen, stuck in place. Powerless inside of my own body, I couldn’t even see what was happening around me. I tell ya Ade, ive never felt so vulnerable in all my life, and I sure as hell didn’t like it. Made me angry. Not your typical “oh you just kicked me in the shins” kind of angry, but the sort of deep long lasting anger that burns everything in its path. It just made me mad. Not just at whatever sod had done it to me though. No, it made me angry at all magic and its interfering in our world. That anger scares me Ade. When I finally got a hold of myself, and realised what had happened I became enraged. The man that did it, well, Jarvin eventually knocked him out. That didn’t stop me though; I just picked up his head and slammed it into the ground. I slammed it so hard it broke like a honey melon thrown from a great height. Then I did it again, and again and again till I lost count of how many times I splattered that hot wet mess all over the cobbles. Then I picked up the lifeless corpse, and threw it down the deep dark hole. I suppose Endolynn did help me with that. Mayhap the next time magic messes with me I’ll try to remember there are some folk that aren’t so bad.

After dropping the basterd down the hole, his spell musta worn off. The whole sewer started filling with water and we had to get out quick, so we ran into the office of the magic arse, and then poor Endolynn was struck ill by something. All I know is, one second, I’m looking for a way out, and the next she’s collapsed. So I picked her up and kept going. I think Lysander must magicked her while I was busy running. The irony was the mage that lived here didn’t build himself a bolt hole. Just a dead end with some kinda magic doo dah. So I grabbed that and started legging it down the sewer tunnel. Lysander over took me, and that’s when we realised we were going to drown. See Ade, the sewers in Longspear connect to the river, and fill up with it. That’s how they wash all the scum out. It was a long tunnel, and the river was hungry and barrelling towards us. So, quick as you like I darted down a side tunnel and found us an exit. I called to Lysander, but he never came. Hell, I hadn’t even noticed Endolynn slip off me shoulders, but at least her an Jarvin came up the ladder behind me. Lysander though, he never showed up.

Well, I wasn’t going to stand for that. No matter that he used magic, he’s my friend, and I wasn’t about to let him get drowned because some idiot city council couldn’t design a better sewer. So I stripped all of my equipment off quick as I could, and dived back into the sewer. I moved as far down the side tunnel as I could, sloshing through the knee high water, and when I got there I grabbed real tight and preyed. That’s right Ade, I have a god. It’s the Red Fox, one of the desert folk’s gods, and he musta been watching because after the main wave of river water hit, and I couldn’t see, a freaking one in a million thing happened. That’s right, blind luck, and I managed to grab Lysander with all of that bloody water rushing past us. Turned out he’d gone down a different tunnel, but the poor lad wasn’t strong enough to lift the grate at the top of the ladder and got washed away. An there I was waiting to catch him and bring him home. Good thing too couse the man was drowning by the time I got him out.

An that Ade is the story of how we saved Longspear. An I betcha no one notices.

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