Saturday, July 28, 2007

Dorben, entry 35 ---3rd Eleasis--- Questions about great white lizards and a trip to the city after the blizzard

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Adventure Journal of Dorben Wainfoster
3rd Eleasis, The Year of the Haunting


---Today was full of information and possibilities. We have returned to Bloodstone for the nonce. A few things of definite interest have transpired. Firstly, we were awakened this morn by a representative of the catfolk tribe. I would endeavor to call the people of the Snow Tiger tribe something other than simply “catfolk” but their word for their own species translates more or less as “the People”. So, simply using the easiest reference shall have to suffice for now. Thankfully, Aedron has been able to cobble together some understanding of their language and is able to speak it, after a fashion. I believe the contortions he is forcing upon his voice box may be close to doing him an injury judging by some of the sounds forced from his throat in the pursuit of understanding. As far as I have been able to surmise, most of our “normal” humanoid languages are also all but impossible for the catfolk to pronounce, although some of the tribe have been able to learn an understanding of the Common tongue as well. I believe a hard palate may be the problem in their case and the lack thereof is ours. Although there is little if any chance that I may be able to ever pronounce their language, I shall be doing my best to learn to understand it in the near future.

But our linguistic bridge head is neither here nor there at the moment. As mentioned, one of the tribe came to our “camp” in the gatehouse. Through Aedron’s translation we learned that the envoy brought word that the tribe wished to know if it was acceptable for them to hunt the “great white lizard” they had spotted outside the Keep. Since there are only so many creatures that match that description, and virtually all of them are terribly dangerous, we rose quickly asked for further explanation.

The tribal delegate indicated that they had sighted such a creature not far outside the walls of our Keep during the night. We were led out to where a large tree had been uprooted some time during the hurricane force blizzard. Even I was able to recognize the tracks found around the hole left where the tree’s root ball had ripped free. The claw prints were of a gargantuan scale. Illandria and Aedron identified the tracks as those of a white dragon, which put short shrift to my mistaken impression that most white dragons simply don’t survive long enough to achieve such growth. Obviously and disturbingly, my impressions were faulty. From what evidence we could find, it appeared that the wyrm had flown in, supposedly during the teeth of the blizzard, retrieved something from the root ball hole and then simply flown away once again. Unfortunately, there were no clues within the hole to ascertain with what the dragon has absconded. Aedron advised the tribe that while it would be acceptable for them to hunt white lizards such as this, it would, however, be inadvisable for them to hunt a white wyrm of this size. They decided that they would heed our advice, at least until their shaman returns. These allies of ours are truly formidable creatures.

It struck us as important to bring word to nearby Bloodstone of the presence of a creature such as this gigantic white dragon within their demesne. Aedron used his powers over snow and ice to make a casting of one of the prints and we wrapped it for travel. We secured our areas of the Keep and were soon bound for the nearby city. Even with Aedron’s ability to sweep great swaths of snow from our path, our travel took twice as long as we normally would have expected. The blizzard had left a blanket of snow higher than the belly on a large horse and I hate to think how long it might have taken us without Aedron and his gift.

Paying to keep our rooms at the Silver Stallion on a long term basis has proved to be a useful expense. The possibility of purchasing or leasing a townhome within the city walls has occurred to our group more than once. For now, the Silver Stallion suits our needs. As soon as we arrived, we sent a messenger straightaway to request an audience with the General. With that done, Sa’d decided to pay a visit at the local temple of Tymora and Illandria elected to accompany him, while the rest of us made ourselves comfortable in the Silver Stallions common room.

While we waited, a delivery arrived for Nia. She quickly unwrapped the parcel and found a nicely crafted though plain wooden box within. Within, the box was packed with powdery snow and nestled within that chill embrace was a single rose carved entirely of ice. Nestled within the rose’s bloom was a single red ruby. Quite a nice gem actually. It would seem Nia’s secret admirer has made them self known once again. Nia is thoroughly charmed, and then some.

A return message from the General arrived little more than an hour hence and we made our way to the castle. Illandria and Sa’d were returning to the inn just about that time and joined us. Along the way, Sa’d and Illandria related that the Tymoran temple was currently deserted and surrounded by guards as part of some elaborate wager between their high priest and a member of the local thieves’ guild. The particulars of said wager were not readily available but supposedly the “payoff” will be astronomical. I have no idea, nor is it any of my concern beyond Sa’d’s interest in the matter.

We were ushered soon enough into the General’s office even though his aides looked somewhat askance at the rather large and slowly dribbling bundle Aedron carried in with us. The General and his Bodyguard ascertained the gravity of the situation soon after the casting of the track was unwrapped for viewing. To say that the General seemed less than happy to hear of something of this size and supposed ferocity in the area of his city, is a bit of an understatement. But other than being forewarned to keep a weather eye out for the beast, he agreed that there was little could be done about the matter.

With the matter of the white dragon out of the way, I related to the General the details of the latest dream sending. While I spoke, we noticed that the movements of the Blizzard Army had been marked out on the large map adorning one wall of the General’s office. They had indeed moved NW along the edge of the mountains into Vaasa. When we expressed our sorrow at the loss of the General’s scouts in the mountains, we received quite a surprise. The General disclosed to us that ALL of his scouts were hale and hearty and had sent reports within the last few days. They had no recollection of the time between the rising of the moon on the first night and their recent awakening. It seems that each and every scout had been disabled, kept incommunicado for the three days and nights of the full moon and had shortly thereafter awakened under shelter, none the worse for their long naps. This fairly peaceable way of dealing with “enemy” scouts raised some questions and we excused ourselves for just a moment to speak privately amongst ourselves.

This new turn of events had put a different spin on things. The images we had seen had definitely included some large “monstrous” humanoid outlines. Normally, this would lead us to think that the scouts would have been dealt with in some terrible manner. But we began to think back to our acquaintance with the civilized goblins of Kho’s tribe. The great tempest of snow and ice blasting through the cliff side gate could very well have come from a land under constant assault of cold, as Kho had related to us. So we began to think that perhaps this gate was not a portal for some invading frozen army, but perhaps an exploratory or perhaps refugee expedition instead. After all, it is easier to simply kill an “enemy” scout than it is to incapacitate them and then provide them with shelter from the freezing cold. We discussed this quickly among ourselves and then agreed that we would tell the General of our experience with Kho’s people, although we also agreed that we would NOT mention the volcano.

After relating to the General the story of Kho’s people and their frozen world, we made an offer. Since it seemed to us that there was a possibility that the Blizzard Army were actually refugee’s rather than invaders, we would be willing to volunteer to make the trek into Vaasa to scout out these visitors and ascertain their intent. The General said he wouldn’t try to dissuade us. After all, as he pointed out, he was not in command of us but simply someone to whom we felt the need to report on occasion. Then again, he wasn’t about pick apart a gift when it was offered. He said that he thought we might possibly be mad, but we had been right before. And if we go to scout the Army in Vaasa, that’s a set of troops that he can commit elsewhere.

With our “marching orders” set before us, we made our way back to the Silver Stallion to begin planning for the trip. And that brings my scribblings more or less to the present point. Sa’d and Illandria have set off once again on a “special shopping trip” of some type. I believe they might be looking for some extradimensional storage device so that we might more easily carry supplies and equipment on the forthcoming travail. We have agreed that we will take the horses only so far as the Vaasan Gate and then stable them there while we take foot into Vaasa itself. The temperatures are rapidly returning to the summer norms; which means that a great deal of the land we shall find beyond the Gate will be mud fit to sink a horse to its belly and deeper. Aedron and Illandria agree that we will be better served to simply make our way carefully by foot. If Illandria and Sa’d are able to find one of those wondrous extradimensional bags or packs it should make it that much easier for us on our endeavor.

Nia also set off on a shopping trip of her own; although hers was actually more of a quest for a skilled craftsman. The ice rose which her secret admirer had gifted her had been slowly but surely melting all day. She is hoping to find a master artisan who works in glass or crystal who will be able to duplicate her beautiful clear rose. She seemed confident that she could find one here in Bloodstone city. I hope she is successful. The rose was really lovely work and it would be a shame for the sentiment to be lost.

Hmm, it seems a small bit of a wrinkle has been added. Little more than a small bump in the path really. Kaliki and the Snow Tiger tribe’s shaman just now appeared within the common room. The cascade of rainbow light gave us ample warning to keep the other guests from becoming too alarmed. That calm was almost lost when they almost caught a glimpse at our comrade the Shaman. His instincts proved him true and he quickly made himself invisible and unobtrusive while we calmed the room and made our way to the rooms upstairs. We quickly brought them both up to speed, with no delay for translations since the Shaman has picked up the Common tongue in his absence. Kali was most concerned about the presence of the white dragon as the creature somewhat offends her druidic sensibilities. White dragons do tend to be somewhat of the rapacious type of dragon after all; wreaking havoc and the like. However, as far as we were able to ascertain, the white wyrm had left the area and is not our concern for the moment. We had a bit more of a discussion about our scouting venture into Vaasa, mainly agreeing to stop at the Keep only long enough to reunite Shaman with his tribe.

Sa’d and Illandria have returned from their shopping trip, evidently successful. Almost as soon as they had us in private, they produced a bag and asked that all with spells ready examine the bag’s aura. But it had none that we could detect; yet it was demonstrably larger within than without. The intrepid duo related the story of how they had tracked down a small shop with a bit of an odd reputation. Something within infused Illandria with some abject but unnamed fear upon entry and she could not reenter the store. Sa’d was however able to steel himself and deal with the proprietor, of whom he gave only the vaguest description. Ah well, yet another little mystery for us to ponder while we make our way along our path of adventure. I believe it is time for me to stop for the evening, as we will be making an early start tomorrow. By my Lady’s grace, I shall write again soon.

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