Journal Entry 1
After packing my things – but leaving a healthy supply of holy symbol-tipped branding irons to encourage the next generation of young inquisitors – I departed the monastery with no small sense of wistfulness. From the time that Mother Francesca (still just sister at the time) brought me to stone archways and unwalled gardens of the compound, it has been the only place that ever truly felt like home.
Now I leave, to return to the only other place I have called such.
My return to Westcrown was about as I expected. The city has changed little from what I remember from my childhood here – a pity, since those memories consist primarily of how it feels to be hungry, how much sliver makes for an appropriate bribe, and what a week-old decaying corpse smells like.
At least there weren’t any corpses in plain sight. So there’s that.
Still, the Wiscroni have not lost their religious tolerance – the Dreamer’s Temple stood, and seemed relatively unharried, and in as good repair as any building in the district. The head cleric is… how shall I put this? It is like her head is full of adolescent squirrels, and they cannot agree on which direction to look. Verwyn embodies many of the goddess’ traits, not least of which her desire to see everything, all at once. Alas, being a gnome, and not a goddess, this means that she is incredibly prone to distraction. Still, she seems a good soul, kind of temperament, if a little overwhelmed at times.
A minor altercation broke out over a dice game – goddess, but it was good to be in a Desnian temple again – and I managed to keep it from escalating through practiced application of Sister Imrijka’s Disapproving Glare of the Mother Basilisk Technique. I believe one of the individuals may have slightly soiled himself.
Imrijka would have been so proud.
At Francesca’s request, I endeavored to look up an old traveling companion of hers while at the temple; one Zannon by name. Unfortunately, it seems that he had passed on not long ago. I found this out through one of the goddess’ remarkable coincidences, as his widow happened to be in the temple at the time.
She told me that, unfortunately, the Puritanum Primum was very much alive and well in Westcrown, and had set upon her husband in the night for the unforgivable crime of being a Tiefling.
I was right to come back here. There is much work to be done.
I told the woman, a human by the name of Janiven, that I was no stranger to the Primum’s accursed work – their blades had claimed my parents some 12 years ago, and I told her as much.
Then I asked if she knew where they lived, as I had certainly brought enough branding irons to share. She said that if I wanted to help the citizens of the city, I should meet her at her tavern, later in the afternoon. If I have learned anything from tales of wandering adventurers, it is that these stories often begin in taverns, and one should not attempt to buck such a storied tradition.
Besides, I suddenly felt entirely too sober.
Meeting there, I encountered an unusual sight – a hunter, seeming fresh from the wilderness, marveling at the construction of the place, and the fact that ale could be tapped in such a marvelous fashion. I spoke with him at some length – his name is Crowfeather, this has some manner of totemic significance to him that we have not yet elaborated upon. Still, he follows them – crows, or ravens, that is – considering them good omens. He followed one such crow not long ago, one that led him to the bandits who slew his tribe’s shaman.
He provided it with an ample lunch of carrion, in repayment.
After this, he followed another such bird which seemed to be guiding him to the city, and he followed, though he feels ill-equipped to navigate this odd new terrain.
I must say, he has a point. I have seldom met such an ill-mannered fellow that yet retained such noble spirit and redeeming qualities. It strikes me that he truly has little idea how to conduct himself in society, and as such, I did not attempt to bash his skull in as he showed surprise that I am, in fact, female.
Feh. This armor is not supposed to be flattering, it is supposed to be armor. Stupid human.
Another human came in, an absent-minded fellow carrying a large sack of what were certainly not explosives, and he was certainly not selling them or anything, and proceeded to gleefully drop the sack in the corner, much to the terror of our hostess. He introduced himself as Dr. Erik von Wundras, though I get the feeling he hadn’t studied at an accredited university.
I liked him immediately.
To summarize what happened next; our hostess greeted everyone, fed me the best beef stew I’d had in my life, and attempted to recruit us into some kind of organized rebellion.
This was cut somewhat short by a boy of about nine bursting in, terrified that Hellknights – the thrice-dammed house of Thrune’s most respected law enforcers – were in pursuit, and in fact headed to the bar.
I didn’t really care what the child had done to earn their ire, or if they were simply on to Janiven’s conspiracy – the kid was nine, and I was in no mood to explain myself to a Hellknight. So while he made good his escape, I overturned tables, excitedly bracing them against the door, while Dr. von Wundras merrily placed his explosives about the bar, tying fuses together and humming to himself.
I think Crowfeather thought us mad. He’s probably not wrong.
With that, we fled through a trapdoor into the sewers, decimating Janiven’s tavern in the process. I hope she wasn’t too attached to it. We encountered some goblins, clearly affected by some manner of intoxicant, and brandishing weapons at us. I attempted to parley with them – they decided that I was far too short to be a half-orc, and must be a half-goblin/half-human.
We murdered them with impunity, after that. I’m not that short.
Janiven split off to survey what had become of her tavern, with a slightly depressed look in her eye, and we continued following the signs her group had left to guide one through the convoluted maze beneath the city.
We came across a stray pair of Zombies, which Dr. Wundras assured me were not his. How they came to be there is a matter I will investigate later – but as one proceeded to take a bite out of the good doctor’s shoulder, I believe his claim of non-ownership, especially as once Crowfeather’s arrows and my crossbow bolts had felled one zombie, he proceeded to use the recently re-deceased zombie to bash the other into a gooey paste.
I’m actually fairly certain he didn’t study at an accredited university.
After mending his wounds, and cleaning the splattered bits of necrotic flesh off of my face, we emerged from a trapdoor to the city streets, and found a run-down temple of Aroden – the dead god of humanity – before us. We knocked, I gave the password, and we entered the temple; which is certainly in better repair than its exterior suggests.
We took a moment to catch our collective breath – I will write more on those we met inside, and what was said, next time. For now, there is the matter of washing the stench of innards and sewage out of my hair.