Blackmire Marches

Laughter and Shadows

From the Memoirs of Amras Sáralondë

I began my next adventure in blackmire working under the Wizard Bernardo again, with the fleet Khaidu, Isidren, who had recently acquired a warhound, and a new face, a warrior known as Ba’zou, who was quite handy with a shield, though only on the defense as I do not recall him landing a blow.

We were returning to the Coppice lakes, in search of an old Verundian outpost. I am not entirely sure what the Verundian were, maybe I will find out in the weeks to come if Bernardo hires to assist again.

The journey to the lakes was mostly quiet, we encountered a black bear, which Khaidu struck down after a fierce group effort of missed crossbow bolts and other such tomfoolery.

Upon arriving in the area in which the outpost of rumored to be, we were quickly able to pinpoint its location, though it seemed it was currently inhabited and not as forsaken as we were led to believe.

I personally volunteered to scout the building, noting that the rest of the party where less then ideal for such a task, and in my scouting I happened upon a gnoll, snoozing underneath an overturned wagon. Removing that problem quietly, I returned to the group to relay my findings, unfortunately not finding a proper entrance that wasn’t boarded up. Isidren has his raven scout the rest of the perimeter of the building and found a smaller boarded up entrance.

Coming to the decision that this is where we would penetrate the building, Khaidu, with the rest of us covering, carved out enough wood in two mighty blows for a singler person to move through the gap unhindered. He was immediately set upon by some kind of wild dog, not sure what kind, doesn’t really matter. The beast managed to push Khaidu to the ground, though Khaidu promptly responded by cleaving the animals legs from its body, even as he laid on the ground. (Note to Self: Don’t attack Khaidu without some fodder if I’m ever forced to take him down.)

The party entered the building, a gnoll having ducked out of sight after his pet dog was slain, alot of good that did it, as Khaidu chased him down and decapitated the creature. We moved past the entrance hall into the building proper, and and things started to go down hill from here.

Khaidu was holding off a flood of Gnolls from entering through another room when I decided to move into a vulnerable position to distract a gnoll whom Ba’zou was having difficult landing a solid hit on, though in doing so the beast landed a solid blow on me. Unfortunately not my best decision, but you know what they say about hindsight.

Another pair of gnolls erupted from the shadows of a hallway and struck at me and Ba’zou as Isidren ordered his warhound to assault the same Gnoll me and Ba’zou were fighting. One of the new gnolls gave me a rather nasty wound, and I was forced to retreat, and the amount of gnolls that started showing up after I withdrew from the combat also forced a full retreat from the rest of the group.

Khaidu and me where the only ones to take any wounds on this venture, I shall endeavor in the future to come out of these scrapes as bloodless as possible, though I suppose I’ll have to work with the others on such alien things as tactics.

The Paper is torn here, as though hastily ripped from a book.

Comments

Isidren bar Turion
Personal Log : Blackmire Year 1st, Month 1st, Week 4th Expedition 2nd
**
Location: Coppice Lake Verundian Outpost
Party Members: Isidren, Bernardo, Khaidu, Armas, and Ba’zou

Two expeditions in a week and both were utter failures. First, we didn’t discover the source of the mysterious silver coins from the orcs. Second we did not learn any new lore, magical or otherwise, from the Verundian outpost due to gnoll interference. I am however, far from discouraged. Perhaps due to encountering increasingly dire situations in these expeditions, I have noticed that I am now able to cast more spells in a day and have also mastered new spells that have eluded my understanding before. This in itself is worth more than gold, having gained no further treasure for sometime though, is beginning to be worrisome. While far from mendicancy, my recent purchase of my guard dog, Panzer, and his new custom barding has made a dent on my rather meager fortune. Despite that, I am of firm belief that Panzer was worth the cost and has proven his loyalty, combat prowess and general usefulness.

“and cuddliness, don’t forget that part”.
Orev said looking over from his perch near his master’s table, reading the log entry as Isidren was busy writing.

The sorcerer pointedly ignored his familiar and continued writing on his journal. As if nothing happened, the raven flew down from his perch towards the sleeping dog and started pecking on its tail and hopping on its head whenever it tried to grab him with its mouth.

Now where was I… ah yes.

Our party, once again led by the beardy Bernardo arrived at the Verundian outpost without encountering any hostile wildlife or bandits or other unsavory things (except for a lone bear that Khaidu dispatched efficiently). The structure was of a decent size and upon inspection by the nimble Armras (who associates some of his skills with appropriate animals), was found to have a caved-in roof. The rogue also spotted a gnoll hanging around a ruined cart. No doubt channelling another of his animal instincts, the rogued sneaked upon the filthy creature and ended it’s existence. This was the first sign of our coming troubles. Having found no front entrance, I sent Orev to fly around the structure and scout for any possibilities. He reported that there was a small door situated on the outpost’s back. With Khaidu and Ba’zou (the shield toting new comer) leading the way, we headed to the back entrance and found it boarded with several pieces of scrap wood. Khaidu made short work of the door and we entered the ruin. Bernardo and I separately casted our light spells before entering, he on Khaidu and me on myself. Inside we were immediately assaulted by a hyena and after that several gnolls. Khaidu held a doorway where several gnolls were attempting to pass while Armras assisted Ba’zou in fending of gnolls coming from a different corridor. Both bernardo and I used our crossbows to add to the our groups fire power while I commanded Panzer to attack the nearest gnoll. During the course of combat, Armras was severely injured by one of the gnolls and was forced to withdraw outside. It was then that several more gnolls appeared and the rest of our party decided to retreat. We were able to return to Blackmire by nightfall and was fortunate enough to not encounter any hostile forces on the way back. I am certain that we will be back to explore those ruins once again. I hope that we will be better prepared next time and have a more fruitful result.

End Log

Satisfied with his work, Isidren turned his attention towards the two animals running and hopping around the room. When he first bought Panzzer, the sorcerer wasn’t quite sure how his familiar will react. Orev was a reserved bird who rarely talks and is usually satisfied in merely observing. In hindsight Isidren should not have been surprised that the raven shared his fondness of dogs. His familiar was, after all, almost an extension of himself and shares most of his interest.

The hopping raven felt his master’s attention turned toward him and looked into the man’s direction. This short moment of distraction was all Panzer needed and the familiar spent a good part of an hour ridding his feathers of drool while his master watched him bemusedly.

Laughter and Shadows
 

A Loose Scrap of Parchment
(The paper appears torn and only contains the ending of the brief letter)

…. Gnoll Jerky!, I knew i’d figure something out to make of those hideous beasts and as I said before some brown bear steaks would probably taste quite nice too. However I digress, Blackmire is as much the untamed wilds as I once thought and while dangerous maybe I can reaffirm my own faith in my ability to protect others.

I must admit though, even in combat i’m still not the same… My skills have diminished my blade become shaky, I must improve and quickly or I might lose myself further to such insecurities. Thank god for those I traveled with the other day, for it was by my own incompetence that I almost watched another under my charge die. Enough for now though, the oil in the lantern grows dim… I’ll think more on this matter in the morning.

Sincerely yours,
A letter to myself

Laughter and Shadows
IVOLBeast

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