This morning Diakris raised Faelyn and Jalen at my request. Everyone but my brother and myself are very weak from our trials. We can’t return to Grenadier today. I had forgotten that Faelyn would also need to spend time in study, reading over his spells before he would be able to transport us back to the city. We briefly considered riding, as Faelyn insisted that it would be nearly impossible for him to get all of us and the horses too in one day. Nuan Shu, however, has grown far too attached to her horse to leave it behind. Faelyn promised to do what he could, but he’d need another day in order to cast anything.
We decided that it would be wise to put some more distance between ourselves and the tower before setting camp. We knew of at least one powerful vampire that we had not been able to destroy.
Around Noon, Tanka found us a nice Sunny place near a stream. Faelyn had no dome for us, so we made do with tents and a fire. It was nice to be able to just sit and rest as we talked about what had just happened in the tower. I brushed over it in my last entry, but Jalen’s sacrifice had really saved the day. Our whole purpose for entering the tower had been to find and return with the dagger. Had he not been able to find and gain access to the vault then our trip would have been for nought. No…not for nothing. We did manage to release Mortimer’s spirit. That was a noble purpose by itself.
We also had a chance to really look at the other items that had been in Mortimer’s collection. Although Faelyn couldn’t cast much today, he was able identify the nature of the various items. Many of the items benefited Jalen the most and will likely make him quite effective in the future.
Not surprisingly, Faelyn figured out a way to get us all back to Grinadier today. It took him 7 trips to get us and the horses too. Something about the size of a horse makes them harder to bring. It also took Tanka’s skill to calm the horses as they appeared suddenly within our compound. Teleportation is alarming even when you understand what is happening to you. For a horse it must be traumatic.
We spoke with Westin at length and discussed the need to destroy the dagger. He promised to use his contacts to find an answer to the riddle.
I went to the temple and spoke with Gamedes about what had happened and tithed while I was there. I’m not sure how I feel about it, but I sense that there is less and less guidance that my old mentor is able to provide these days. He still has insight and wisdom, but it seems like much of what I’m doing lately is over his head. Nevertheless, I still appreciate his wisdom.
After a day of rest yesterday, today we began to train again. It seems that life is now long periods of training interspersed with bright flashes of danger and excitement. I guess this is the life of an adventurer.
This evening I went with Nuan Shu and Tanka and we found buyers for our unneeded gear at the usual shops. The coin will come in handy as we prepare for whatever our next adventure throws at us.
I visited Bjorn’s Fine Armors this evening and arranged to have the enchantments on my armor and shield strengthened. I know that there are several arcanists in the city that could do the job, but Bjorn likes to see his handiwork come back to visit and he doesn’t charge any more than if I went to a wizard directly. I imagine that he has a business arrangement that enables everyone to share the profits.
Ingvar, who did a lot of the detail work on my armor, has apparently been named a master now. Apparently he has no immediate plans to set off on his own and will keep working for Bjorn for a while.
Also, Dayton stopped by to visit today. He seems to be doing much better after a few months of recovery. However, despite his physical injuries being healed, he still seems to need some time for his psychological trauma to work its way out. Speaking of which, it was really fascinating to see Nuan Shu being so respectful to Dayton during his visit. I asked her about it later and she said that she was impressed by the courage he displayed while being tortured.
“Biting off your own tongue to keep from talking…that’s dedication.”
Everyone did their best to make him feel welcome. Hopefully he’ll spend some time with us while we’re in town.
I heard an odd rumor today. Or rather, Jalen returned from one his trips into the city with strange news. Apparently there was an attack on a priest of Chellos outside of Fallham. He didn’t have many details, but for some reason it got me to thinking.
Was the Syndicate involved? Did this have anything to do with our recent presence there? Was he attacked because he disappointed the Syndicate, or because he was transporting some dark items that our enemies wanted?
Westin visited us at our manor today with some interesting news. He believes that Baron Hawthorne is still alive. He seems to know more than he would tell us, but I got the impression that the Baron was not in a good situation. I will be praying for the Baron.
He also mentioned that it appeared that either Radley or Jacinth were responsible for Stewart Bowman’s murder. Seems like either one of them had motive, though for different reasons. Westin agreed.
It’s interesting to see him confiding in us more.
The Earl invited us to dinner this evening. He’s been in and out lately. It was nice to have a chance to chat with Millie again. After a few glasses of wine she let slip that the Earl’s recent travels related to Baron Hawthorne’s rediscovery. Hopefully he’ll be able to get him back.
The dinner turned out to be more like a private party. The food was incredible, the company engaging, and the music sublime. The best part, however, was the feeling of respect and acceptance from such esteemed people. Jalen seems like he can fit in anywhere, but it was great to see everyone having fun. Even Tanka seemed to be enjoying himself. Nuan Shu spent most of the night talking to Dayton. She seemed almost protective of him.
The Highguard feels that we’re ready to move on now.
Our next stop will be the Dwarven city of Rengar. Onyx should be pleased to hear that Mortimer’s spirit was given peace. Hopefully he’ll be able to make good on his offer to get us access to the library.
As we were preparing for our trip, Jalen brought a friend to meet us. Hawthorne seems like a competent warrior, but I’m not sure if he’s up to the the kinds of challenges that we so often face. Jalen was insistent that he come along and Hawthorn seemed eager too despite my warnings of the kinds of deadly dangers ahead of us. It will be nice to have another melee fighter, however. Talus’ departure left an unfortunate void in our combat team.
Faelyn teleported us to just outside of Rengar. Our travels are less dangerous and much faster now. However, the roads will be less safe with the HighGuard no longer traveling them. The guards either recognized us, or knew of us. In no time at all we were ushered into the waiting area while someone went to find Onyx.
Onyx joined us in short order and brought with him a young dwarf that he introduced as ‘Rand’. Onyx was most interested in the story of our trip to Mortimer’s tower, and much relieved to learn that his ghost had been put to rest. I had assumed that we would be quickly admitted to the library, and was a bit surprised to learn that Onyx had not been being modest when he had offered only ‘to use his influence’ to get us access. I think I hid my disappointment well, but I hadn’t realized how jealously the dwarves guarded their knowledge. For his part, Faelyn didn’t seem terribly put out. I half expected him to make some complaint that would have been unhelpful in speeding things along.
Onyx accompanied us as far as the guest quarters where we would be made comfortable while we waited. Rand, however, was to stay with us and actively host us. That was a nice touch and did much to make us feel more like guests and less like prisoners. Of the other 4 of us…5 counting Hawthorne, only my brother seemed bothered by the arrangement. I asked him about it later and he said he didn’t like being penned in and didn’t like being underground and especially didn’t like being kept away from Ko, but that he would be ok.
No sign of Onyx, but Rand has been showing us around Rengar. Apparently it’s much larger than just this city, however. The young dwarf was bothered when I referred to it that way. The tunnels stretch long and far and contain other towns and cities and is in fact an entire underground kingdom.
The architecture here is amazing. So much detail. But the most impressive sight I’ve seen so far is the Temple of Diakris. Soaring and vast and strong. It is a tribute to the faith and the work ethic of these people, and a fitting offering to the god of justice and valor.
The food here is palatable and plentiful, but a bit strange to our tastes. Faelyn especially, has been grumbling about it. I’ve decided that a good compromise would be to prepare Diakris’ table each morning. It will help us stay fit and also provide the foods that we topsiders are more comfortable with. I have invited Rand to join us and he graciously accepted.
Breakfast went over well. Rand especially was impressed with the feast and has invited us to join his family for dinner. It’s nice making friends.
Rand’s family was quite welcoming, but the food left a lot to be desired. It seems local cuisine is heavy on cave fungus, and that Rand’s wife, while a proper hostess, is not a good cook. Still, we all had a good time.
Still no sign of Onyx. Rand explained that the library was controlled by groups that were hard to gather and that this delay didn’t seem unusual given the request.
Onyx visited us today and explained that he was making progress, but that it would take time. I don’t pretend to understand Dwarven culture, but it really sounds like they don’t like to be rushed. The library is controlled by a council of librarians that normally wouldn’t meet for another 8 months. However, Onyx promised to try to get us an audience sooner. This was still likely to mean several weeks at the least and that was only if he managed to convince the powers that be that this was important. He did mention that if we could be deemed ‘dwarf friends’ that we would be given almost immediate access. He couldn’t think of a good way to make that happen though. I guess there’s nothing to do but wait.
Jalen was given access to another library however. One which contains mostly histories and such. He and Faelyn spent much of the day researching the Grey Cabal.
Still waiting. After a few days of research Jalen and Faelyn learned all that they thought that they were going to be able to about the Grey Cabal. They definitely sound like a potential problem. They are actively gathering all the pre-cataclysm artifacts that they can for no other reason than to have all the power.
Everyone is getting bored and about the only thing to look forward to now is Diakris’ daily feast. I understand now why they build the ceilings so high. It would feel oppressive otherwise. Tanka seems to be handling it better, but he’s also gone out a few times to ‘check on Ko’.
It seems that no matter where we go trouble manages to find us. Jalen is dead.
We were touring the mines earlier with Rand when we heard sounds of fighting ahead. Rand seemed torn between wanting to rush ahead to help his people and taking us back to safety. I suggested that we might be able to help in the combat, but he was under strick orders to keep us safe, so we turned around to return to the city.
However, as we were passing through a nexus, a group of giants charged toward us from one of the tunnels. The cave giants (it turns out) were fearsome, but no real match for Nuan Shu, Hawthorne and myself. It appears that they were a decoy, however, as moments after we engaged them I heard Tanka cry out. Rand had spoken a few weeks ago about a renegade Dwarf named Ferrick that was causing some problems for them. I had sympathized, but hadn’t though much about it after that.
Ferrick had sneaked up behind Tanka invisibly and nearly killed him before we even knew what was going on. With the giants being held up in the tunnel by Nuan Shu and Hawthorn it fell to the rest of us to try to stop the mad dwarf. We soon learned that he was protected by layers and layers of enchantments making it all but impossible to strike him. He was having no such difficulty getting past our own defenses. Finally our warriors killed the last giant and came to help us. The combination of our efforts gravely injured Ferrick, but he managed to escape by tunneling into the stone floor of the cave.
Hopefully we saved many of Rengar’s miners by confronting their traitor, but in the meantime, I must see to our own casualties.