Fifthday, 25 Janus 1143
Today the initiates were very excited when news came from town that a yellow robed mage was visiting Headwaters. I must confess that I was rather giddy myself. My own interest in alchemy always had me curious as to the differences between my hobby and the arcane. Had I lived closer to the influence of the Mage’s Guild I might have chosen a different vocation.
Imagine everyone’s surprise and delight when the mage himself showed up at the monastery with a letter of introduction asking for an audience with Fr. Valinor. Lord forgive me, but my curiosity got the better of me and I went to see the man himself as he waited on our kindly village priest.
Despite being travel-worn, he seemed a rather respectable fellow whose ruffled appearance could not hide what many would consider to be a handsome countenance. The most striking thing about the man, however, was the owl that so calmly sat upon his shoulder. There was a majesty and intelligence behind those eyes I had never seen in an animal. It made me wonder if the rumors of mages having magical animal servants were true.
Lord, forgive me for eavesdropping, but I managed to overhear Fr. Valinor exclaim something about his friend Tarlo as he was glancing at the letter and leading the yellow mage into his chambers.
In our excitement at such an event, many of the initiates (including myself, I am afraid to say) were speculating why Fr. Valinor had chosen Cuinn to be the yellow mage’s chaperon. The half-elf had long abandoned the path of an initiate to help the Rangers of the Order of the Archangels patrol the area for any humanoid incursions. Were they planning some kind of expedition?
Why, Lord, couldn’t I have been chosen?
Sixthday, 26 Janus 1143
Why, Lord, did you have to listen to my prayer?
I have been asked by Fr. Valinor to accompany Cuinn and the yellow mage to Redwraith on a fact-finding mission. There was a great battle there a few months ago and no one knows what is happening now. When I protested, Fr. Valinor insisted that it was time for me to get out and see the wider-world before I settled down into my lab and take my vows. When I insisted that I was still needed because of the disease that still afflicted the camel herds, he reminded me that we had plenty of my elixirs in storage. He even insisted that I take one with me!
O Lord, please let me see beloved lab again. I promise I will watch my tongue and not let gossipy excitement get the better of me ever again…
Seventhday, Janus 27 1143
The monastery is abuzz getting our supplies ready for the journey. We must carry all of our own equipment and food, since the camels are not healthy. This doesn’t seem to bother either Cuinn or the yellow mage, whose name I have discovered is Morivam. He hails from Trisagia and has the habit of finishing my sentences, as if he knows what I am about to say. It might seem rude, but he has never misconstrued any of my intentions.
Our band of explorers has picked up two additions. Tenel of the Delver Clan will add his sword and halfling expertise with a sling to our endeavor (which makes me feel slightly less anxious about the coming days); however, I cannot say that I am happy about a mysterious fellow who only showed up in town recently. His name is Holton and despite having a chronic cough, boasts that he know the wilderness area around Headwaters well.
Lord, forgive me for being suspicious, but I have heard rumor that a bandit crew was recently put down by the Paladins of the Order but one or two managed to escape. I wonder if that is not the real story behind this fellow.
We leave tomorrow early. I must admit, the part of me that isn’t terrified is rather excited.
Thirdday, Janus 30 1143
Oh, what a terrifying and exhausting three days this has been! After an feet-stinging first day of trudging through the hill country north of Headwaters, Cuinn asked me to take the second watch, considering I was used to getting up in the middle of the night to pray. Not long after wiping the sleep from my eyes, I realized that there was movement all around the camp, beyond my ability to see clearly. I woke Cuinn, knowing that his elven blood allowed him to see more clearly at night than I. He quickly roused everyone from sleep and insisted that we retreat post-haste.
Just as I began to realize that we were in danger, arrows came raining in from the sky, and we heard a battlecry and the sounds of metal on metal. It took me several moments to realize that two of the arrows had hit their mark, both into the back of poor Tenel. Thank Isten he was still breathing, but he was in no shape to move. If he were to survive, we had to make a stand, at least long enough for me to use my magical healing.
I did not see what happened next, but when I had done my work on Tenel and he was back from the brink of death, there were several sleeping goblins around us and I heard the sound of several more retreating into the dark.
Unsurprisingly, Holton was ready to slit the creatures throats when Cuinn and (surprisingly) Morivam stayed his hand. It was decided that we would disarm the goblins and then put as much distance between us and them during the rest of the night.
When the sun rose, it revealed to us a camp of gnolls punishing a group of goblins (were they the same that attacked us the previous night?) They did not spy us, so it was our turn to rain missile fire. One was felled, and the goblins turned tail. As the gnolls charged, Holton appeared behind one and managed to kill it with one well-placed thrust of his blade. Their charge thus blunted, the rest fell easily to our own blades.
Realizing we were still not safe from the roving band of humanoids, we wandered far and wide looking for a defensible piece of ground we could use as a camp and some much needed rest. Cuinn reported that he had found something suitable, but it was already occupied (something about leaving a hippogriff mother alone being the better part of valor).
Now, finally, three days on we are weary but watchful in a rocky recess of a hill overlooking a small valley. Lord, I have never been so tired in my whole life. Thanks be to Isten that we all live to tell this tale…
Fourthday, 1 Februa
Lord, give me strength! If I thought the last several days were frightening, I was sorely mistaken. Cuinn noticed movement ahead of us today, which turned out to be three giant spiders. This was a strange sight. Not that no one hadn’t heard of the existence of such creatures. On the contrary, they are quite common in the jungles south of Headwaters. Seeing them out in the open, so far north concerned us all. The half-elf warned us that these creatures were known to be surprisingly intelligent, so when they split off in three directions, Cuinn was not only not surprised, but surmised that they might be circling around to flank us. We decided to follow the trail of one that veered of to the East.
We came upon the creature clinging to a rock face. I was not prepared for its size: the abdomen was likely five feet long, but then it began to speak!
It accused us of spying on them for the elves, noting that he could smell Cuinn’s elven blood. Fortunately, it seemed uninterested in a fight unless we insisted on one. We were able to convince it we were not the spies it suspected us to be.
None of us were prepared for the realization that these creatures were intelligent enough to have language. Knowing that they also appeared to be going toward Redwraith has us all worried about what exactly we are heading into.