John Calder's Journal
I am taking the time to write of my experiences so that one day in the future when the worship of Huatl is commonplace among all cultures, church historians can look back on the humble beginnings of the New Church of Huatl. Copies of these writings will be sent back to Marboo to the care of my secretary Dane Southers and may be obtained on request by any follower of the church by writing to Mr. Southers and requesting them.
Arrived in Tela to find myself immediately recruited by the town watch for some pro-bono investigation work. Since I have found that towns and cities are much more receptive to the actions of preachers if the preacher has demonstrated some value in aiding the community I was pleased to help in any way I could. I had hoped that whatever errand we were sent on might give me a chance to aid and interact with potential converts, but unfortunately most of our dealings were with soldiers and mercenaries. These men and women are rarely receptive to what Huatl can offer; they tend to die fighting or drinking far before they’d ever reach their old age. Hopefully after the errand is done I can find my way to some sort of retirement home to speak with those that are usually interested in what I have to offer. Although this strategy only compounds the problem that my most willing followers are the ones who are not long for this world, and thus my subscriber base has trouble sustaining its numbers.
I encountered another two travellers who I teamed up with to solve this minor problem. One claimed to be a performer, which I immediately saw as a valuable ally. People like to sing and carouse, and happy people are receptive people. Unfortunately his first performance was… less than inspired. The other companion was a young woman who, although charming, is not the wisest individual I have encountered. I almost feel that if I don’t keep her around she’ll be dead within the week.
An exciting day in which nothing went the way it was supposed to… We were recruited by a wanderer named Isaac to fetch some supplies from a nearby abandoned warehouse; myself, Norah and three other warriors were up to the task, and after some cajoling we managed to drag our recruiter along with us. I considered his presence to be good insurance that he wasn’t sending us into a trap or a hopeless fight… but unfortunately bringing him along spelled the end of our mission. Along the way we were waylaid by a few orcs. Most of my companions proved woefully inadequate in a fight; I was forced to abandon my fight against the creatures several times to rouse fallen allies. The girl, Norah, however turned out to have some ability with magic, and some real fight in her! I knew it was a good idea to keep her around. At any rate, Isaac fell in battle, and I was unable to revive him. No one could repair that wound. Our recruiter having fallen, we returned to town unsuccessful.
The battle did give me a chance to collect a few of the fallen enemies hearts for use in a ritual sacrifice later. I admit my willingness to go on the mission in the first place was because it looked like a ready chance to dedicate the deaths of some foul creatures to Huatl; the weapons cache was said to be inhabited by some evil crow beasts. No moral quandary there!
A huge step forward was made in my quest to resurrect the glory that is Huatl on this day. I believe that in the far future when the church has spread across all lands that this will be one of the stories that is told on holy days to all loyal adherents. This journal entry will be only a short summation of the event, a more detailed account will soon follow.
An apprentice of the Duke of Dreams (a seer of great power, so I understand) met with me in town, after recognizing me. It turns out he had a great deal of knowledge about the artifact that I have been carrying, known as the Black Tear. Apparently it is used as a catalyst for prescient dreaming, a use that fits perfectly with Huatl’s dominion over time. In my readings I came across notes about followers of Huatl who were able to step forward in time and see their own future, perhaps they had the aid of artifacts such as these to do so.
The apprentice informed me that my particular artifact was not yet activated though, and would be of no use to me until I brought it to a sacred place. So I gathered my intrepid band of followers and set out towards where the apprentice had directed me. Danger awaited us in the ruins that we found there, but we were able to brave past the foul creatures and reach what appeared to be the epicentre of the dungeon.
Upon entering the pool that we found there, I was visited by a number of visions. Firstly, I found myself in a small cabin or shack, with some unseeable but clearly horrifying force trying to gain entry. Another showed a burning tree. The last showed me a group of bandits waiting for us as we exited the very ruins we were now in.
Leaving the caverns where I witnessed Huatl’s miracle was not nearly as easy as entering it. We faced multiple threats as we tried to return ourselves to the surface: first was a couple of very strange beings that I can only assume were guardians of whatever ruins we had found ourself in. They were very interested in the Black Tear, and full of questions about my motives. They also seemed to be guarding some other sort of beast that was set loose on us as we made our final escape. However we managed to return to the elevating platform as raise it quickly enough to seal the creatures inside.
As my visions had told me, there was a group of bandits waiting for us above the platform. We attempted to resolve things diplomatically, but it was obvious that they were very prepared to meet us with force, and so we met them first. The bandits mage hunters and were after Norah, aiming to bring her in on some sort of ransom to the Orcs of all things. Only the bandits’ leader had any real ability in a battle though; we dispatched his henchmen with ease. We captured the leader and interrogated him for information, and even tested his mettle with an offer of freedom if he would promise not to betray us. But of course betray us he did… we were forced to fell him as he fled so that he couldn’t hurt any more innocents.