Adventure Journal of Dorben Wainfoster
-6th Flamerule, The Year of the Haunting
---Today we were named. I’ll get to that in a bit. But first, the other bits of the day that was this. Poor Aedron had further lessons with his warrior teacher early on and returned sporting more than the average amount of bumps and bruises. I took pity on the fellow and cast a healing spell to alleviate his hurts. I must say that he bruises some very interesting colors. It must be the frost giant blood. Aedron made no complaints. He simply informed us that his teacher was displeased with the fact that Aedron could not grasp his lessons about group fighting tactics. It makes a certain amount of sense considering Aedron’s cultural background. As I understand it, many of the “barbarian” cultures focus more on individual glory in their teachings of their warriors. Strangely enough it was Nia who was able to get the idea across to Aedron successfully. Nia has proven that she is far more than a pretty face and amusing manner. With a few handfuls of beans upon a tabletop she was able to more properly explain massed combat tactics to our large companion. She explained that this was how these maneuvers were explained to her, although it was with the idea of teaching her how to bypass those same massed forces. The visual seemed to work and I believe Aedron’s good teacher, Kord, may well be surprised at his student’s progress when next they are joined in mental jousting.
Illandria had an interesting and somewhat vexing encounter while she was out and about today. As I understand it from her, she went to a local archery and bowyer supply shop to make use of the archery range which stretches out from the back of the building. She had thought herself alone but then turned to find what appeared to be a cloaked woodsman sitting upon a nearby stump. This individual asked about her going out to explore the Rangers’ Keep and whether or not she had touched the key. She said that she attempted to be evasive but it quickly became obvious that he knew even more than of which he spoke. She admitted that she had touched the key, bonding with it as he put it. He chuckled, said that he would be seeing her later then and poofed away. The cloak did not go with him however, fluttering down to rest upon the stump.
She brought the cloak to my Lady’s temple where I had volunteered to help with whatever needed doing. We had spent the better part of the morning bringing many blankets from storage. Seeing as how the unseasonable snowfall had come to an end, the rumor was that the rest of the day would consist of putting them back. When Illandria arrived we were taking a breather and word had just been passed down to leave the blankets out. All that was said was that “they would be needed for another endeavor soon” and left at that. Illandria and I retreated to someplace private where she showed me the cloak. We quickly noticed that the clasp was made in the image of a leafy hand grasping a bow. This would seem to mark it as definitely having been from one of Wellend’s Rangers. I examined it with spells, detecting magic and a residual trace of evil. I have conjectured that the illusionary magic I detected and the quality of the materials would seem to indicate a cloak similar to those made by the elves to assist them in their hidden movements through the woodlands and shadows. The slight taint of evil seems transitory and I believe is only a bit of residue left from the item being once worn by an undead being. I recommended that she rinse the cloak with holy water and then let it “air out” within the radius of one of Emah’s candles. I believe she has done so. We will have to remember to be careful of what we say pertaining to spirits when around Aedron. We mentioned the trace left upon the cloak by its former wearer and his first recommendation was to destroy it. We explained that matters that drastic weren’t needed at this time. He seemed unhappy but did not pursue the matter further.
The latter part of the day I spent within the library at my Lady’s temple. I wasn’t sure what I was looking for but did come across some interesting information nonetheless. I found a reference to the Keep occupied by Wellend’s Rangers many years ago. It seems Kaliki’s original source was most likely not mistaken, simply behind the times. I found an old record of the Keep which referred to it being several hours north of Bloodstone back then. It would seem that the Keep occasionally moves. Which makes it much more convenient having a key which points the way.
Kaliki was able to gather a bit more information about Wellend’s Rangers, the group. It is said that they quested for a multi-part magic item. Their fate is unknown other than it is said that they disappeared during their quest. Kaliki was the only one of our group in the Silver Stallion when a summons arrived from the General. The message gave us a time of two hours past dawn when we are to present ourselves to the General on the morrow.
The message from the General brought us to a quandary. The message needed to be addressed to all the individual members of our group in order to reach us. It occurred to us that it might be better for us to have a group name to signify our unity of friends. We thought for some moments and eventually came to a name upon which all of us could agree. I believe the inspiration comes from the unseasonable blizzard of which we brought prophetic word and the candles gifted to us by Emah. We are using them often enough that I do think that some folks are recognizing us from their presence. We shall henceforth be known as The Company of Light and Frost. I have already begun work upon a symbol that may someday be emblazoned upon a banner which may lead us into battle. Or at least be known for a group of adventurers who tried their best to do good and right. By my Lady’s grace, I shall write again soon.
Adventure Journal of Dorben Wainfoster
-7th Flamerule, The Year of the Haunting
---Today we began another venture. We were punctual for our meeting with the General and this time there was no delay. We were guided through the Castle and shown into his inner office as soon as we arrived. The General informed us that the warnings of the blizzard army have been taken to heart and scouts have been transported to the northern reaches to attempt to find these frosty invaders. His troops are currently busy with preparations and he asked if we might be willing to undertake a mission for the kingdom. It seems the cold snap from the magical blizzard may have severely damaged their upcoming crop yield. The coming war, for that is most likely what it will be, will cut severely into the food supplies already in storage. With no crops to renew those stores the valley populace could very well starve during the coming winter. The General said that the only way to assure the crop yield would be with the assistance of the druids occupying the woodlands to the north. We readily agreed to the mission. The General was careful to make sure that we understood that the druids would most likely require a “favor” of some sort in exchange for their help. Again, we assured him that we were ready to undertake the quest. The General pointed out the small forestland where the druids he mentioned were said to reside and we left posthaste.
Once again, Nia used her abilities to speed ahead of us as we departed the Castle. And so, our horses were saddled and ready when we arrived back at the Silver Stallion, allowing us to set out almost immediately. There is something to be said for the services of street cleaners within a civilized city. I mention this because we found the roads beyond the walls of Bloodstone to be covered with slushy half melting snow. As messy as it was it was still a heartening sight as it meant that the valley might return to their already short warm season.
We made our best possible speed, the road conditions slowing us only somewhat. I estimate our travel time would have been at least twice as long should we have left the hard packed road and gone cross country. As it was the trip took us over half the day just to get to the woods where the druids were said to reside.
Kaliki and Illandria led us into the forest, Kaliki strongly warning us to keep our weapons sheathed and to cut no tree in this wood. The growth of the trees was dense enough that we were unable to ride. We had gone in some distance and began to notice that the grip of cold did not seem to hold sway as strong within this forest. I believe it was about the time we began to notice the difference in the ambient temperature that a person appearing to be a middle-aged human male stepped into our path. He spoke with Kaliki and Illandria and then he turned to lead us deeper into the woods.
I have just realized that I do not recall this man introducing himself by name and for some reason that does not bother me in this case. Perhaps this is an example of the stories I have heard in which druids have become so in touch with nature that they give up their names. It did seem that he stepped out FROM a tree, not out from AMONGST the trees when he crossed our path. For now, I shall refer to him simply as the Druid.
As I said, the Druid led us deeper into the forest, until we came to what I believe may have been the center of those woods. It was wonderful and beautiful. A clearing of soft plants and summer time that never knew the touch of winter and what animals we could see did not so much as bare their teeth or flinch at our entrance to their glade. I for one was more than happy to feel summer sunshine upon my face once more. But the beauty of this glade is not the point here of course. The point is that we were able to speak with this Druid gentleman and present the request on behalf of the General and the people of Bloodstone Valley.
The Druid listened closely to the request and our description of the circumstances leading to this meeting. He said that it would be possible for them to help with the crop failures but in return he had a quest for us. He told us of a cave a half day travel up the mountains to the north. Within that cave was some sort of taint upon the land. He was never too exact as to the cause of this taint nor how we should deal with it. He said that we would know the taint when we found it and that the taint needed to be stopped so that balance returned to the land. This seemed a thing that we might undertake of our own volition so doing it as a favor to assure the survival of the people of the vale was amenable. A silent look of agreement passed between us quickly and we told the Druid that we would do this thing for him and the people of Damara.
The Druid bade us make camp here in the glade since the day was waning short. He bade Kaliki walk with him alone for a few moments, to discuss some private business of druids no doubt. He departed the glade telling us that we could make a fire if we used only deadfall wood and were very careful. We were welcome to eat whatever rations had been brought with us and pick the fruits and berries at hand but we would not be allowed to hunt. All understandable requests from a druid within his glade; protecting his home and those guested within its walls. We questioned whether or not it was forbidden to drive tent stakes into the ground but the Druid said that would be allowable. As it was, we made sure to move one stake when we noticed it might strike a thick tree root. Not that we really needed the tents for anything other than privacy’s sake. The temperature here is comfortable and has wavered only slightly lower with the waning of the daylight. It is quite lovely here I must admit. The trappings of civilization I do enjoy, but I could become readily use to living within such a beautiful pocket of nature. I think I shall to my bed roll soon enough. More steps on the path to adventure present themselves on the morrow and I should be rested. By my Lady’s grace, I shall write again soon.