Friday, October 12, 2007

Dorben, entry 39 ---7th Eleasis thru 12th Eleasis--- Into the wilds of Vaasa… Where did this road come from?


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Adventure Journal of Dorben Wainfoster
7th Eleasis, The Year of the Haunting


---Well then, the first day of our expedition into Vaasa is drawing to a close. I must say this is a cold and miserable place. Frozen muddy tundra as far as the eye can see and most of it currently covered with some three inches of rapidly melting snow. Aedron had a personal encounter with the frozen bogs some time back, which led to his prior demise, and none of us care to share that experience. It sounds as if these bogs are almost on par with planned traps; frozen crust just thick enough to carry ones weight for a handful of steps before giving way and dropping you into the depths of nearly frozen muddy slurry below. It sounds to me like some terrible cross between drowning and being buried alive. I shudder just thinking about it. The bogs are, of course, a large part of the reason we elected to board our mounts back at the Gate and proceed on foot.

Despite being boot leather bound, which is freeing in its own right in a way, we have made decent speed. We moved northeasterly as soon as feasible so that we might skirt the edge of the foothills to find more solid ground. By our estimation we have made perhaps 10 miles distance from the Gate. For the most part, the day has passed without incident and we have made camp in a good sheltered spot. I will admit that my back and legs ache a bit from carrying the burdens which would normally be entrusted to my faithful steed. But it is a healthy ache, honestly earned from a good day’s hike. My watch comes soon enough. By my Lady’s grace, I shall write again soon.

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Adventure Journal of Dorben Wainfoster
8th Eleasis, The Year of the Haunting


---We have been fortunate enough to have another day of uneventful travel and made decent speed once again. We have gained another 8 miles into Vaasa along the base of the foot hills. Illandria cast a Lay of the Land spell to try and gain some idea of what the path ahead might hold. She said that the spell revealed little of use to her at this time however; just what we assume to be the predominantly half-orc settlement of Palischuk to the northeast. She said she would try again tomorrow or perhaps the next day.

One other small development. Since Nia’s Soulbound weapon has given us the ability to psionically enhance our weapons she has been instructing us in how to gain psionic focus and maintain it. Some of the others have gained their focus almost effortlessly while others struggle. Thus far I have been unable t0 turn my mind to the correct path to find success in this endeavor. I think tomorrow evening I shall gaze upon the flame of one of Emah’s candles. I believe that perhaps the positive energy from the candle may help me find my concentration. By my Lady’s grace, I shall write again soon.

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Adventure Journal of Dorben Wainfoster
9th Eleasis, The Year of the Haunting


---Another day, another glorious walk with friends. There are times that I wish I could feel the breezes of nature more fully but then I remember all the times my wonderful armor has saved my skin and turn my face to the breeze to more fully enjoy what I may. We again made good time today and we estimate we have traveled perhaps 12 miles this day. The scenery has changed little if at all; hills and mountains on our right and flat, frozen bogs to our left. Only the open sky looks inviting.

Illandria cast Lay of the Land once again this morn. She explained that the radius of the spell spreads out some fifty miles and we were not close enough for the spell to detect Talagbar before now. Her spell showed that there is definitely a sizeable settlement in the area where we believe Talagbar to be.

We encountered another traveler about midday. We were just cresting a rise that swept down and then up again in the distance. It was along the crest of that further rise that we spotted somebody approaching. It did not appear that this newcomer had spotted us and we took cover. As this traveler came closer we were able to make out more details. He appeared to be a much larger than average orc wearing rough outdoorsman garb and armor, well splattered with mud, and sporting one of those double battle axes slung across his back. At first I believe the general guess might have been that this newcomer was a half-orc with ogre blood, but as he approached more closely, it seemed that he must have been of stone giant blood.

There was a bit of whispered conversation before the traveler got too close and we decided that this person was most likely from the half-orc settlement of Palischuk to the northeast. After Aedron rose to make himself known and hailed the traveler we soon learned that our thinking was accurate. They conversed at first in some Giantish tongue but switched to the Common parlance soon enough.

Our new acquaintance is named Golschuk and he is indeed from Palischuk. He is something of a fast footed scout/messenger, making his way to the Vaasan Gate to bring word of a great horde that passed by their territory and is even now making itself comfortable in the ruins of Talagbar. Golschuk related that one thing that stood out as strange was that the horde was moving a large stone obelisk with them through the tundra. Reportedly, the obelisk was carved over virtually its entire surface with the symbols of many different gods. Being as how these things can sometimes become important, the obelisk was described as being 5 feet by 10 feet by 45 feet long, cut of an unknown stone. After passing on his information, Golschuk bid us fare well and continued on his way to the Vaasan Gate.

The rest of our day passed with no incident of any significance. The scenery is lovely in its own austere way I suppose. I have hazarded a few sketches but nothing of great detail really. After all, there is only so much one can do with the brown and gray palettes. We estimate our travel has covered some 12 miles today and I give all credit for that accomplishment to Aedron, Illandria and Meg. Together, they are most likely as close to the perfect trail blazing team as one is likely to find. I believe I would recommend any of them to Father to lead the protection team on any of the family’s caravans. Well, I suppose that problems could very well arise due to some of the… personal details of Aedron and Meg’s lives, but they are both greatly skilled in their own right and definitely good people. Despite any questions any of us might have, we trust them with our lives on a more or less daily basis. I think that is enough for this evening. By my Lady’s grace, I shall write again soon.

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Adventure Journal of Dorben Wainfoster
10th Eleasis, The Year of the Haunting


---We came across the back trail of the Blizzard Army before midday today. Indeed, it would have been difficult to miss even had we not been looking for it. Where our course intersected the trail was where they had departed from the foothills and turned northerly along the edge of the fens. The trail is the width of a large and regularly traveled trade route, pounded down by many myriad boot soles, carts and wagons and one very large sledge. Other than the fact that their boot tracks looked to be of more solid “civilized manufacture” rather than what we consider “typical rough humanoid make”, we still have little clue as to whether this is an invading force or refugees from Kho’s world.

Only further travel and exploration will show us what we need to know. We believe our feet trod some 10 miles this day. Except for the new trail, the scenery continues to be more of the same. By my Lady’s grace, I shall write again soon.

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Adventure Journal of Dorben Wainfoster
11th Eleasis, The Year of the Haunting


---We continued to follow the Blizzard Army’s trail until we were within what we judged to be approximately 10 miles of Talagbar. At that point a second trail departed from the main, turning westerly out into the bogs. The trail out into the bog appeared to be that of the sledge and perhaps 100 beings of various sizes. After some deliberation, we decided to follow the trail out into the bog. Our decision was at least partially predicated upon curiosity as to what they were planning to do with the monolith carried upon that sledge.

It soon came to our realization that the trail we were following was not simply bog matter trampled down into some semblance of a trail; no, this was an actual path of firm dry ground. Our conjecture is that they are using some sort of Mud to Earth spell variant; perhaps there is an enchantment upon the transport sledge?

However it is that they are making their way, the sledge and accompanying entourage seems to be covering only about 5 miles per day. We came to the departure of the trails a short time before nightfall and so, despite moving at some double their speed, we were only able to gain a bit of distance on our quarry before needing to make camp. In fact, we are using what certainly seems to be a former camping site of the sledge part some several nights ago. Illandria has found several unshod prints and was able to identify at least a kobold and several giants among the other “average” humanoids. One might presume that these were members of the entourage who shed their footgear while relaxing around the campsite at the end of a full day’s trek. The fact that Illandria has estimated one of the giants at the size of a large cloud giant or perhaps a storm giant has me hoping more and more that these are peaceable refugees. I do not relish the thought of a pitched battle that includes several creatures larger and nastier than Aedron. I suppose one can always live in hope. This is enough for today; my turn at watch will come soon enough. Oh yes, one last thing. I believe we covered about 10 miles again today, although part of that in a northerly direction and then the last bit more westerly, as close as we can figure. By my Lady’s grace, I shall write again soon.

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Adventure Journal of Dorben Wainfoster
11th Eleasis, The Year of the Haunting


---Evening Addendum
---We were roused from our beds during first watch by a trio of strange wraiths attacking from the bogs. Cooperation between more or less mindless undead creatures seems simply impossible these creatures certainly did seem to be doing just that. On the other hand, it could have been nothing so much as their close proximity that produced the effect we observed. And what we observed was greenish balefire similar to that which we have observed before but these were not the same as the last creatures we encountered that used balefire. We did presume that the effects of the green fire would be the same as last time and took precautions against contact. Our compatriot from the cat tribe, whom we have been referring to as Junior because of his apparent youth and eagerness, was the only one amongst us to suffer the corrupted wounds. He was not too grievously hurt and I his wounds should recover quickly. One strange thing to add about this encounter; these bale-wraiths, if that be the proper term, were attacking us with psionic powers. Nia recognized the “feel” of their powers. Phah! As if undead weren’t bad enough; now the bloody bedamnable things are using psionics!? Ah well, morning shall be here soon. By my Lady’s grace, I shall write again soon.

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Adventure Journal of Dorben Wainfoster
12th Eleasis, The Year of the Haunting


---We have stopped again at one of the sledge team’s way stops. We should make contact with the troops accompanying the Obelisk on the morrow. Thanks to Illandria and her companion Onyx, I have had a bit of a closer look at our objective. Shortly after we arose this morn, Illandria cast Speak with Animals so that the language barrier did not impede her giving instructions to Onyx. She asked Onyx to fly ahead and look for the Obelisk and sledge and I would be able to see through her by using a Chain of Eyes spell.

Scouting through Onyx’s eyes proved quite useful and instructive. She found the Obelisk and its entourage some 20 miles ahead of our position. It would appear that they are in the process of raising the Obelisk into an upright position through use of some magic but largely through main force and engineering. Even from the heights where Onyx rode the winds high above, I was able to easily make out some half dozen or more giants among the work gangs.

Onyx was able to get close enough for me to make out some VERY interesting details from the site. The first thing to catch my eye, so to speak, was a gnoll wearing the holy symbol of Angharradh, the elven triune goddess. And it did not appear that this creature was simply sporting a war trophy taken from some unfortunate. In fact, the gnoll appeared to be wearing the symbol with all proper reverence, at least as far as I understand from my studies of elvish religious trappings.

Also, the Obelisk was carved over virtually its entire surface with the symbols of many gods which I recognized. I was able to identify the symbols of Chauntea, Kossuth, Lathander, Mielikki, Mystral, Silvanus, Eldath, Lliira, Shiallia, Sharindlar, Thard Harr, Angharradh, Rillifane Rallathil, Baervan Wildwanderer, Sheela Peryol, Yondalla and Luthic. There were others which I was unable to make out and still others that were blocked from my sight by position or strappings and such. It seems to me that all the gods represented carried Spring, Nature, Growth, Fertility and the like within their areas of influence.

It would certainly seem that these beings have plans to build a community. Perhaps the Obelisk is to serve as some type of protection or way-marker? The specifics still remain unclear at this time. It does seem obvious that while there was not much magic being used in the raising of the Obelisk, there was a fair amount of magic active within the stone itself. Even as I watched through good Onyx’s eyes, several of the holy symbols kindled and lit with a magical glow. Something is happening with that Obelisk but I have no feeling of wrong from what I have seen. Some of the beings we spotted did seem to be wearing clothing similar to the make and style worn by Kho’s people, so again, I am fairly certain that we are dealing with refugees from that frozen world. Whether this proves to be for good or ill is still to be seen.

I continue to pray that we will have a peaceful first meeting. My hopes are at least partially pragmatic and selfish. In that, I would like to continue to live and enjoy the company of my good friends. For in all truth and frankness, I do not believe we would long survive a pitched fight with the forces which I have observed. We could perhaps make some dent in their numbers through use of hit-and-run guerilla tactics but we would be doomed if we were to fight them en masse. We should finally find out for certain some time tomorrow. There was no way for us to catch up to the Obelisk raising site before dark. We shall camp and martial ourselves for our meeting upon the morn. By my Lady’s grace, I shall write again soon.

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