Harleday, 15 Vexulin, 2530
I’ve never been to Buckhorn before. It is not a terrible place. So much has happened since my last entry, it seems like it has been a flipping week, rather than just one day.
I left off yesterday after we discovered the pit, and the body of the wizard within. He was killed by the stirges. I wouldn’t wish that lot on anybody. Well, maybe necromancers and brutes. Yes, I’d wish it and worse on them. See, the necromancer was in a tower, and that is where the tracks of the orcs Cillean was following led us. It was not fun, not at all. We nearly died. We had our asses handed to us, and we almost didn’t make it away from the ruined tower. I have to give it to Tavis, he sure had some handy spells. He’d knocked out a bunch of the brutes with his magic, and called down a nasty-big bird to attack some of the brutes. And when the shit hit the fan and Brother Cal was nearly dead… POOF. A friggin horse shows up, just in time to gallop off carrying Tav and Cal both. I think it saved his life. Sheesh, even Cillean had been spooked off by the might of what later they told me was a necromancer. Zombies and shit. Really? I kinda think I am better off staying in a town. But then again, I am not a coward and my new friends are relying on me to help them out and keep their spirits up. So that is what I do.
Yeah, yesterday was a rough day. I was so lost, out there in the woods, Goblin Wood no less – including REAL GOBLINS! Cillean wasn’t there to guide us, but we did manage to find our way back to the road, then along to Cal’s camp at Shepherd’s Rest. Cillean caught up with us later and healed up Cal. I think Cillean is some sort of Caelic pagan, but I don’t care. He’s straight with us, and seems a good man. Oh yeah, Jacob came out and told them she had boobs.
This morning we saddled up and rode hard to Buckhorn Hold, stopping by the pit to pick up Tavros, the corpse. It was a hard ride, and we were all still tired from our resounding failure last night. I know we are all thinking Cillean’s girl can’t possibly still be alive, but nobody has brought it up. I am not going to be bunging that cask. Someone else can open it.
The sounds of the horses hoofs plodding over the wooden drawbridge, then passing through the large gates of the same, hard wood, was reassuring. Buckhorn is a sturdy fort, and as we rode down the long stretch of cleared land before the gates, I saw scaffolds and evidence that they are building up a stone wall around the existing wooden palisades. It is not as secure as Fallowdown, not by a thousand leagues, but heck… Its better than being exposed like we were last night. I was certain that they were going to follow us, track us down and kill us while we slept. Thats what brutes do. But thank the gods they didn’t. The only thing we heard was a lone rider, pushing his mount hard along the road. We were a little spooked, even if – again – nobody said anything. Watching my companions, it really is amazing how green they really are. But they fared well in the fights, and I am glad to call them allies.
We split off once we arrived in buckhorn. I got us rooms at one of the two inns in town. The Rose is an old place, with the feel of a hunting lodge. It has been expanded many times in its lifetime, and shows signs of wear and fire damage, all of which were repaired with loving skill. The staff there were very nice to us. This is a place I would frequent, if I lived here. I was too tired to ask about maybe exchanging some of my skill for a room discount, and it was a good thing, too. Tavis went and got us all invited to dinner with the Lord. We were only going to report that there was a dark wizard on his lands, and ask him for some men to help us rescue Fiona. But this Lord Buck is a upright fellow, and down to earth. He doesn’t rub noses in his nobility. I like that.
I have to admit I was kind of cool during dinner. At first, I didn’t like the lord. He was too casual, I thought. He told some pretty great jokes too, and I felt he was stealing my thunder. But as the night went on, and the wine flowed freely, I loosened up. I realized he wasn’t putting on airs, he was just being himself. So what if my friends laughed at his jokes a little more than they did mine. Its not a competition. Once I got over the idea that he was an enjoyable person, a noble like me who didn’t flaunt the fact, and that people like him… Nevermind. It still pisses me off. I want them to pay attention to ME. Sheesh, I am pathetic.
As I resist scribbling out that last paragraph, I will just continue. Lord Buck did a number on the rude wizard. The dark guy didn’t play fair to Tavis regarding the dead apprentice. Buck did show his lordliness then, and put the bastardy wizard, Shan something, in his place. Buck also got us a sister from the abby to help us deal with the necromancer from hell. I kind of wished he’d agreed to send some guards, but Lord Buck said he had no men to spare. I was thinking we could hire some locals to come help us, but I’d had enough wine that when we’d left the great hall and were back at the inn, I’d forgotten it. I only just remembered, but its too late to be waking up my friends. I’ll bring it up in the morning if I remember.
Theoday, 16 Vexulin, 2530
Hah. Of course I forgot in the morning. But as things turned out, it would have just been a waste of money. We kicked brute butt, saved the maidens fair (yes, maidens plural – but I will get back to that), and might have been back before dinner, had we not decided to stay and perform my favorite part of adventuring… Looting!
Sister Mercy, the cleric from the abby is easy on the eyes, and very talented with her… arts. Healing us was not even the greatest thing she did during the short fight with the brutes. She used her powers to zap the zombies. They practically melted into mush under the light of her holy radiance. Not having to fight the dead guys freed us up to slaughter the sleeping brutes. Where the evil finger-wiggler, corpse-lover had gone off to, we didn’t know until it was all over. But I for one was perfectly happy for his absence. But oh how sweet it felt to take retribution today for the smack-down we’d received two days ago. Again, nobody mentioned it, but I saw the looks on their faces as they mowed through the brutes.
Once the battle was well and done, beneath the tower, we found the maidens in distress. They were being saved for some ritual, but we got to them well in time. Fiona told us that she eavesdropped a bit on ye old ‘bad in black’ and learned a few of his plans. He was going to sacrifice the ladies, to what end he never told his brutish overlord. But the sweet maids were quickly un-trussed and we came off as quite the heroes. And when I say we, I mean me. All four of the sweet ladies, even Fiona, a most becoming Caelish lass, showed their appreciation by favoring me with winsome smiles, despite the hardships they had endured over the last week.
We searched the place, finding a few trinkets and some coin. There is more to the underground area beneath the tower, but we had all had enough excitement for one day, and of course we had distressed damsels to return to their homes and families. One can only hope those families would wreath us with rewards for their daughters and wives safe return. One of the ladies was a religious lass, and we all know how rich the church is. I will, of course, leave Fiona alone, as it is obvious that she and Cillean have eyes for each other, despite his insistence that she is his cousin. I don’t know. Do Caelts marry cousins? They are backwards enough that it would make perfect sense.
We are now back at the good brother’s camp in Shepherd’s Rest. Not sure what the plans are. We were going to help him build his shrine, but he called off that project. Sees he lost a famous sword the other day during our first foray against the tower. He claims it is the sword of Prince Mark, and would prove its owner’s birthright. Cal did not say it was his, and again, nobody asked. He wants our help to retrieve it. I’m game. It looks like we may be traveling into Waelund. Funny, I have lived a stone’s throw from the border for most of my life, yet I’ve never crossed the Stone Way over the Ash Flow. We think the necromancer has the sword, and that he is from Waelund, taking the weapon to his master, or whoever has ordered him to set up a stronghold there at that tower.
If this guy, Calumbias is really Prince Mark, words cannot express how important it is that we help him. Not only is he an agreeable and trustworthy man, but if he is the rightful heir to Lakeland’s throne, he would be an asset as a contact. An asset. I amuse myself sometimes. It would be the luckiest stroke of luck. The ‘may lightning strike me on the head and I live’ kind of luck. There is no telling how far an idiot like me could rise, how rich we all could become, if this brother with the pooch was actually the son of the late king.
Ack, the candle is sputtering and I don’t feel like digging out a fresh one.