Saturday, September 02, 2006

Dorben, Entry 19 ---12th Flamerule (evening) thru 13th Flamerule--- A request for assistance leads us west to the Vaasan Gate

Adventure Journal of Dorben Wainfoster
-12th Flamerule, Addendum, The Year of the Haunting

---We are returned to the Silver Stallion Inn from our recent exploration of the Keep. The recently discovered knowledge of the soul bond that draws us closer together still swirls hither and yon through my mind. It gives some possible explanation as to why I feel so disposed to trust and care for my new friends. For indeed, they are still what most would consider new to my acquaintance as it has been not quite 3 month since we first found ourselves thrown together. To think I have not even known these stalwart friends a full quarter of a year. It seems so much longer. As if I have known them for years and years, and yet at the same time, we are still learning about one another. The Silver Lady be praised for guiding my way to share the path with such brave companions and true. Hints at her wisdom reveal themselves as each step in the trail unfolds.

As I said, we left the Keep after spending some goodly time discussing the discovery of our soul bond and our bond with the Keep as well. I should add that the Keep looked a bit different as we were leaving. The wings which had rebuilt themselves were once again fallen to ruin and the great doors were gone once again. It would seem that the Keep, having finished the bonding process with us, is rebuilding itself from a fresh start. I can only think that the areas of the Keep that had been rebuilt before we entered in our search for Kord may have been in some way tied to the key which Kord carried. It seemed of a much cruder design, perhaps an older design, and mayhap was bonded in some way to Kord.

Also I should make note of one more thing I did notice as we departed from what may one day become our new home here in Bloodstone Vale. I thought to look up and to our rear as we departed the Keep; my eye drawn to the key stone over the main gate of our Keep. Where once the lintel stone had been carved with the leafy hand grasping a longbow, the symbol of Wellend’s Rangers, there was now a blank space. I wonder what the Keep will place there as our symbol? Will it be the candle and snowflake symbol that we have chosen to represent our new company? Perhaps, one day soon this place will be known as the Keep of the Company of Light and Frost? We shall have to wait and see.


Our conversation all during the ride back to Bloodstone revolved largely around the desire to go out and seek more adventures. We determined that we would on the morrow endeavor to find the closest message post and mayhap there find some daring deed which needs be done. We also thought that we might consider moving our digs from the Silver Stallion Inn and make our way to Kord’s house. We were fairly sure that Kord would not be returning soon and it seemed prudent that someone be in residence so as to not leave the building sit vacant lest some ne’er-do-wells make use of it for nefarious ends. We stopped by Kord’s building, explored it as thoroughly as we might on short notice and then made sure it was locked tight as we made our way to the Inn. No need to leave room service, baths and in house entertainment immediately since we were paid up through the end of the tenday after all.

Waiting for us at the Silver Stallion was word that a man had come seeking our Company. Perhaps adventure seeks us rather than us needing to find it? The innkeeper could only describe the fellow who inquired as apparently human and presumably a mage, draped in blue robes as he was. Unfortunately, the fellow left neither his name nor word of where we might find him within the city. The desk man related that the mage in blue only said that he would return on the morrow in hopes of contacting us.

I believe this is as much as I need jot down this eve. My companions and I have gone our separate ways for the nonce. I to my quiet corner of the tavern room to scribble in my journal and they to their own endeavors. Surely Nia has gone off to seek fine companionship for the evening and I can see Sa’d well into his game of cards across the common room. I believe that may be Kaliki’s playing I hear from the stage area but I am unsure where the others have got off to. Ah well, they are grown and hearty adults and well able to call for help if need. I believe one more pipe and a short mug of that good mulled spice wine will finish the evening nicely and then I am to bed. By my Lady’s grace, I shall write again soon.

*****

Adventure Journal of Dorben Wainfoster
-13th Flamerule, The Year of the Haunting

---Today we have traveled some miles, begun to experience a very interesting city and possibly discovered some small tidbits of information about the adventure that has been set before us. Currently we are almost as far west as one may go in this valley without actually entering the hostile neighboring lands of Vaasa. We are brought here at the behest of a mysterious young man in blue robes.

Some of us had yet to rise from our beds when the blue robed fellow presented himself at the inn to plead his case, introducing himself as Barlo. He first met with most of my compatriots while they were breaking their fast in the common room; asking after the Company of the Candle and Flake. I suppose we should not expect much better so early in our career. But at the least he had heard of us and he did mangle the company name only slightly. His misunderstanding was quickly corrected and Nia and I were roused from our beds to hear his request.

Young mister Barlo explained that he recently found his home had been invaded by kobolds storming up through the deep cellars. He traveled with haste to Bloodstone city to find help. Hearing that we were adventurers of some skill and repute, he sought us out in hopes that we might be able to remedy the situation. We at first thought this would be a short trip as Barlo said that his tower was within sight of the west wall. It turned out he was not referring to the western wall of the city of Bloodstone but the wall which seals the west end of Bloodstone Valley which is actually the great fortress known as the Vaasan Gate. So, yes, it is as Barlo said “Technically in Vaasa.” And as we all know, it is “technicalities” that can be the little bugaboos that complicate life. I suppose it is understandable why young Barlo might be hesitant to simply announce that his home rests within shadowed lands such as those. It is entirely possible that he might have found some of lesser spirit who would quail at the idea of entering Vaasa but our company of brave adventurers was simply eager to get on with the adventure that presented itself.

Even though Barlo’s offer of reward was tentative at best, dependant upon how much was left unspoiled after the depredations of the kobold invaders, we were still interested. It is ones’ accomplishments not simply the amassing of treasure which makes a hero. We asked of Barlo what further information he might offer about the tower and the invaders so that we might be better prepared. Barlo related to us that his main concern in the tower was actually the library on the upper floors. He also admitted that he did not remain over long in the tower after the presence of the unwanted guests became known. But he did tell us that he observed some of these kobolds seemed quite different than the average little yappy lizard-dog humanoids of which so many have heard over the years. Although he did not know specific details, he had noticed that some of the kobolds were as big as Aedron. This was quite unusual and led us to suspect that perhaps these kobolds had been joined by some lizardkin or some other such creatures. We will, of course, not know the truth until we have breached the walls of this tower.

We stopped only briefly as we left Bloodstone to make certain that Kord’s home was secured and then made all speed to the west. This time our travel was not hindered by unseasonable snow or winter wolves and since we had gotten an early start we found ourselves within sight of the Vaasan Gate by late in the afternoon. The great fortress framed by the rays of the setting sun was really quite a sight. Perhaps someday I may have an opportunity for a painting.

The town that has grown around the base of the Vaasan Gate, and indeed within its very structure, is a thriving market catering to the adventuring life. Virtually anything that any adventurer might need can be found here somewhere. And the prices have not been artificially elevated. In fact, it is forbidden by royal law to do so. It seems that good King Gareth sees the adventurers as a useful part of his kingdom. The average adventurer does tend to be better equipped and more experienced than the average soldier of the guard. Admittedly, the soldiers of Damara’s army are a bit above average what with the Wars in their recent history, not to mention the experienced veterans. But still, a small city full of adventurers AND garrisoned with able troops seems like a good buffer against the things that may come out of Vaasa.

The guards at the gate recommended that we seek rooming at a place called simply, The Wall, and we have indeed taken his advice. The Wall is an inn, really more like a rooming house actually, that is actually built within the structure of the great fortress wall of the Vaasan Gate. Even though our accommodations are effectively within a lower cellar of the fortress, the place is really quite cozy. Not ostentatious but neither is it plain. Once we had stabled the horses and established our rooms at The Wall, we took a few moments to discuss plans. We decided that we would use the remainder of the day and most likely all of tomorrow to equip and provision ourselves and seek whatever information we might find on Barlo’s tower. With that in mind, we went our separate ways.

I found a goodly temple of my Silver Lady here, made my obeisances and asked where I might request an audience with the commander of the guard. Barlo had mentioned he was on good terms with the guard commander and recommended speaking with him. My brother and sister priests were helpful and I soon had directions and instructions as to where I might contact the commander.

I soon found myself in the office of a Captain Vildorn and I informed him as to our connection with Barlo. As it turned out, his proper name would be Brother Barlo since the tower is actually a local school of some sort for monks. Captain Vildorn informed me that the school was run by a Master Kelso and he suspects that he is still within the tower. He said that nothing has been able to draw Master Kelso outside the environs of his tower in some twenty years and he did not think a tribe of marauding kobolds would be up to the task. Capt. Vildorn also said that he thought that Brother Barlo had most likely taken it upon himself to seek help from outside. He seemed fairly certain that Master Kelso would not have bothered to send him on such an errand.

I asked Capt. Vildorn what he might know about the tower itself, in hopes that we might gain some extra advantage over the kobolds. I had been hoping for some maps or building plans perhaps but none were available. He said that the tower had been built some time before the Wars by dwarves who dwelled somewhere below this region. It is possible these dwarves were not necessarily friendly with Bloodstone at the time their tower was built. The top of the tower is visible from the top of the Gate to the north-west and is part of a signal relay to warn of invasion from Vaasa. With the recent “invasion” of the Blizzard Army making its way to the mine in the north, I wondered as to the coincidence of the possible loss of any early warning outposts. Is it possible there is some connection between these disparate humanoid tribes? From what Capt. Vildorn said about the tower having been built by dwarves from below, I have my suspicions about how the kobolds may have found their way into the cellars. But again, we shall have to wait and see. I will try to arrange for a tour along the top of the Gate on the morrow so that I might attempt to get at least a glimpse of this tower.

My friends have trickled back into The Wall since I have been here and have brought news of their own. Sa’d mentioned in passing that his luck at the gambling tables at the Tymoran temple had not been bad and he had picked up some useful information. Kaliki returned about the same time. She had found a tavern that caters to adventuring bards and it sounded interesting. I didn’t quite understand her correctly as to whether the door of the tavern was guarded by a wooden golem or if the golem was in fact acting as the door. Either way, it sounded quite fascinating. I do not believe I shall be exploring said tavern myself anytime soon however. Kaliki mentioned that one was required to perform musically in order to gain entrance and I am not musically inclined. During her time at the tavern, Kaliki was able to obtain a good deal of information, part of which independently verified much of what I had learned from my conversation with Captain Vildorn.

Illandria returned to our lodging with quite an impressive new pet. Although I believe it is soon to become much more than a mere pet. At first glance it seemed to be an eagle of glossy black color. But upon a second look, it was in actuality a very large raven. It bore some passing resemblance to the giant ravens I’ve seen once or twice when I traveled north of Waterdeep. Although it did look like it might still have some growing to do, I would be surprised if it reached those proportions. It would seem Illandria has progressed to the point in her Ranger career where she will take on what I believe is called a Companion Animal. Luckily enough, she found a purveyor of exotic birds here. She mentioned that she would be undertaking a bonding ceremony on the morrow. I must admit, I don’t think she could have done much better in her choice, especially if her intention is to gain aerial reconnaissance. Ravens are said to be deucedly clever and fierce fighters for their size. And this one is the size of an eagle!

I believe Euphestas has already returned but I cannot be totally sure whether or not he has remained within our temporary residence. He is quick and nimble and knows the ways of stealth so one can never be totally sure. I believe he mentioned that he had found an interesting shop while exploring the town. The items he spoke of in passing sounded interesting and I may have to stop by there myself some time; perhaps for a souvenir if nothing else.

Perhaps the most intriguing development, although apparently totally unrelated to our investigation of the tower, is Nia’s “secret admirer”. Nia returned to our lodgings seemingly a tad disappointed for having found no intriguing companion for the night. As the evening progressed, a single flower was delivered to her with no accompanying note of introduction. The flower was a rose of a vibrant purple color and its bloom fully opened just as it touched her hand. A lovely and striking effect I must say. Although Nia did seem intrigued, her erstwhile admirer did not present himself. He, or she for that matter, may be shy but they certainly seem to have good taste and some flair. I only hope it does not go badly for precious Nia. If some lout or wench plays hob with Nia’s open and loving heart I shall be quite unfortunately overwrought and might find blind to no other recourse but for violent confrontation. And I do not think I would be alone in those feelings. We are all becoming good friends. Whoever they are, they had best treat her well.

It grows dark here early in the evening, so close to the wall. But my body tells me it is time to make ready for my bed, and so I shall. By my Lady’s grace, I shall write again soon.

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