From the traveling journal of Griven:
The past few days have been trying for me. It’s difficult for me to meet the gaze of many of those I travel with.
Over the past week, creatures I’d only heard pub tales about have assaulted our group. Spear-wielding Goblins, some on foot and others riding wolves, along with their magic wielding shaman, have continually crossed our path. Most recently we found refuge for the night at a homestead surrounded on all sides by a raised mound and wooden barricade. The families within showed each of us an incredible amount of hospitality and kindness, accepting us all without hesitation or concern. They shared their food, shelter and lives with us. And their blood…
Before dawn broke and the morning light could ascend over the heights of the mountains, another Goblin force, along with an Ogre warrior, came upon the homestead and attacked within the shrouding cover of darkness. The battle was incredibly fierce, the power of a single Ogre simply stunning to behold! When silence once again descended, only the crackle of the burning barn and the pained gasps of many a new and old friend could be heard. Hama, the village elder who founded the homestead, fell during the battle. Thankfully I was able to save his son.
It was truly difficult and I thought I would have lost him to the spirits but luck was with me this day. I’ve never had someone so close to death relying on my abilities to bring them back from the brink. I hope that no one else could see the concern and nervousness that I’m certain was written on my face. I tried to stay focused on the task at hand, to remember what the militia healers taught me. My own worry was almost his undoing, my fear for his people and the loss of another of their figureheads distracting me from what needed to be done.
The homestead held council that morning and it was decided they would not abandon their home despite the urging of my companions and myself. I can understand their fear in traveling unprotected by the walls of their homes but should another band attack it will be their end. They have agreed, however, that should we return with help or discover the fate of the homestead to the west then they shall revisit the decision. I pray that they change their minds.
The homestead to the west fared even worse. Another band of goblins and an ogre attacked the unprepared folk of the settlement and truly laid waste to the area. When we arrived, only the smoking remnants of collapsed buildings and the cooling embers of past lives remained. A few who had been out hunting when the attack took place survived; yet again they would not leave their homes behind like the last homestead. The fort we journeyed to lays but two days ride to the west. It was hoped that perhaps we could find help for these people there from the Knights who reside.
More concerning to me is the tale the remaining folk of this homestead told. The force took prisoners with them when they left! We were able to determine that the group traveled back to the northwest, the same way they came, out into the hilled countryside.
I might be young, but I know when something is right to do and when something is wrong! I can’t believe how many of our traveling group have an absolute void of interest in helping the ones taken by force from their homes and family. The devastation we’ve encountered and the generosity shown by these people should be enough to dissuade any doubt in the minds of a sane person. Instead my arguments fall on deaf ears. “This is not our task” and similar statements continue to ring hollow in my ears as we traveled to the fort.
I admit that my own eagerness would have been true folly, though. I know that I’m inexperienced and that many of those that Emeric and I travel with are much more experienced with the world and its’ ways. It would have been foolish to rush in and try and rescue them on our own, they are right in that assessment. I feared that if we did not attend to the matter with immediacy then the previous arguments would win out and our journey south would continue without concern for those captured.
The Knights in the fort have agreed to supply us with a guide and provide an escort for those at the homesteads to journey safely here. I have to admit I was torn. I am relieved that the group has finally seen the right path and that we are preparing to set out and determine the fate of those stolen away. Each of us has a power within them, a resolve and aptitude, fierce nature and unrelenting might. In my mind if we should have these capabilities and aspects, it is our duty to lend help where it is needed! Perhaps this stems from the beliefs of Myre, from the time spent in the militia and the understanding that we fight to protect our own every day. I’m glad I didn’t have to make the decision to stay. It would have hurt to have to say goodbye to Emeric.