Journal of Redwald Windshadow – A New Chapter, An Old Enemy

70th day of Winter, 59 AD

It has been many days since I last set thoughts to parchment – in truth, I remember not when last I had the time or inclination to do so.  Since my sudden and forced departure from my beloved home of Femo, the days and weeks have blurred together into a long and torturous journey westward, away from the legions of Sithasteni Orcs that have taken away all who I knew, and all that I loved.

And so, on this coldest of Winter nights, I find myself huddled around a low, hooded fire in the depths of a wood near the forgettable attempt at a hamlet that is called Crickton, scribbling notes so as to remember the events of today (I know not why, but feel compelled to record, nonetheless).  Perhaps I may eventually find this useful, perhaps not.

It was in Crickton early this morning (verily, it now seems ages ago) that I came upon a group clearly not of this forsaken place, and felt compelled to join them – out of boredom, or loneliness, or guided by the hand of some unknown godling, I know not, but among their company I now find myself (frozen fingers and all).

The group were in the midst of interrogating the strangest of men (Wizzillim? Villizum?… it matters not) about the nature of a subterranean dwarven complex to be found nearby.  The man was clearly a scholar, and of the very worst kind – I feel he was droning on more to himself than to us, and his uncanny ability to bore us to the edge of unconsciousness rivalled the strongest sleep magicks I have yet encountered.

As with all valuable ores, however, dig deeply enough and you will find a nugget.  The old intellectual confirmed some details of the complex that the party had encountered, and offered tantalizing hints of other, and greater, sections of the ruin that could be explored.  Indeed, the point was made that riches may lie within those dank catacombs!  It was the prospect of securing a few more gold pieces that yanked me from my near-slumber; these many weeks of scarcity, living on game and creek-water, have greatly improved my appreciation for the weighty jingle of a few coins in the belt pouch.

Returning to the hill near the great lake where the entrance to the complex lay, we encountered an organized guard of Orcs – ORCS, DAMNATION BE UPON THEM – securing the portal on top of the hill.  I struggle to record these next words, because my mind reels at the reality of what I witnessed – but we also spied another group with a mixture of Orcs (damnation be upon them) and humans.  Humans.  TOGETHER!  What strange and hellish circumstance brought together Orcs (damnation be upon them) and humans to work in concert will forever lie beyond my ability to understand.  After witnessing with my own eyes the depredations and cruelties that the Orcs of the Sithasten mountains visited on the people of Dawn, the people of Femo, my city, indeed the people of my own family – I tremble with rage at the thought of humans in league with the Orcish devils (damnation be upon them).  I pledge, with these words, that I will exult in watching the spark leave the eyes of these humans as they bleed out upon my sword.  I swear it.

After a failed attempt to split the guard detail in two and draw them into a trap we had set in the woods, we have pulled back to this frigid campsite to regroup and consider our next move.  That we will stay here and find a way to re-enter the complex, I have no doubt.  The bravery of the warriors I have joined is beyond question, after seeing for myself the peril to which they subjected themselves in attempting to draw the Orcs (damnation be upon them) into our trap.  Not since the Thrice-Blessed Stand of Heroes at the doors of Femo Basilica have I seen such valour in the face of evil.  I will do my utmost to reflect this courageousness myself.

And so, as this 70th day of Winter slowly becomes the 71st, I will close this journal and move a little closer to the fire – the ink is beginning to freeze and I can no longer feel my feet.  As always, may the memory of my Orc-slain father warm my soul, harden my heart, and steady my hand.

Journal of Obroam: Into the Ruin

The 57th Day of Winter, 59 AD

My hand shakes as I write this….the Chaos is so strong here….but let me go back. It has been some time since I have written in my journal. Much has happened…..Houdens Funeral, the chief priest of Gyreford being false and in service to Malacai, the claiming of the Venomfang…..but those were then and this is now. Lets stay with the now.

We arrived at the ancient dwarven complex to find the workers murdered by goblins and orcs, whom we have dealt with for the moment at least. We discorvered a small blue glowing orb that was connected to the wizard Willisim, who was scared of those who hunt him. Sadly he had to cut communication before much information was shared. So, leaving our able and wounded followers at the camp, our group entered the complex.

The corridors are clean…possible magically so, though the Blue eye of Tangadorin shows no such magic actively at work. If not, perhaps the work team was rather busy cleaning before the foul ones arrived. The walls bare dwarven script that reads “Pain brings Service”, not sure what that is supposed to mean yet. The first fork lead to a body of a cultist to the right and metal sounds to the left. The corpse was missing half its torso and head….seemingly melted. Our group suspects a trap of some kind, though none is readily visible. So who choose to pursue the metal sounds. The path left has offshoots before the din and not wanting to leave things behind us, our party takes the side paths first.

This turned into a series of bracing, dog legging, and zig-zaging corridors…..I do not care for them…The first set brought us to rusted pips that seemed to whistle and a chest with tiny motes of green light. Like dust in a beam of sunlight…..and still the Blue Eye sees no magic, the Purple eye also had YET to detect any chaos…..a very strange place indeed. Either way, we leave these alone for the moment as they could be trapped and Brother Calandro doesn’t feel confident in dealing with them at the moment.

The next intersection held undead horrors. Littleling apparitions of some kind floated in an alcove that seemed ether a prison or torture area, their unclean touch was a cold as ice and sharp like a knife. Yet Calandro, Rem and I put them back to rest. With Rems final sword stroke with the Venomfang letting out almost a musical note as it dispatched the last of their number. Truly that sword is a tool of use against the Darkones and their ilk. It is good that our party has access to such an blessed item. What followed the fight was letting the skeletons the apparitions were around down and giving them finals rest. The others suggest these could go back to when the dwarves were around and that they could have been the ones to imprison and kill these poor souls. If true, may their Souls find Rest in the All Seeing Light of Tangadorin now.

After this was done, I inspected some sacks that exploded with dust, cause me to cough and sneeze uncontrollably. This could have been humorous if it didn’t possibly alter foes of our presence. But this act did reveal several bottles of powders, liquids and other things our new Mage Phaedra, thinks could be useful. For now they are with her. We moved on to several twisting and turning corridors, leading us to what brings my hands to shake and my stomach to churn. An area OOZING with Chaos, the Purple practically aches in my palm from the strength of it. The Very walls seem to move and writhe with the unclean presence. Down a side chamber stands and alter with a vile and loathsome idol upon it. The very presence of the object fills me with disgust. Its aura is a putrescence that cannot be tolerated. I could not bring myself to approach it….though it shames me to admit it. And even stout Rem could not douse it with holy water as I asked. Nay, the few drops that he managed to shake out evaporated before even making contact. Though Phaedra seems less bothered by its foulness and was able to examine it a bit closer, even making a sketch of the thing…..perhaps though not blessed with protections from a god like I am….perhaps my companions are better able to deal with such things more easily than I due to their lack of a connection to the divine?….I will pray on that later. I stand here, making these notes as my companions discuss our next path of ingress. By the All seeing Light of Tangadorin….i think that is an Idol of an actual Dark One….or as close to a facsimile as can be produced by mortal hands. It must be destroyed…..but how. I am shamed to say that….i dont know if I am capable of this at the moment. When I find the time I will pray on the matter and seek guidance in HIS Brilliance. For now We will continue on. There is a Wizard to save and Feltor MUST be stopped.

The Journal of Brother Calandro – Note to Brothers


I’m sectioning off this part of my journal to record the relevant facts of my party’s expedition into this underground dwarven complex. I can scarcely believe those words even as I write them, such a rare opportunity to recover lost knowledge and history! And my hopes are that this valuable information can one day be added safely to our libraries for protection.

It’s clear from our exploration so far that the dwarves – or perhaps their masters? – designed this complex to confuse or frustrate outsiders, as we have found many dead ends and gotten turned around in our mapping of its maze-like tunnels. The construction is of very well-done stonework in a brick pattern, and seems to be perfectly clean and free of dust, the reason for which we have only been able to speculate on.

Some of the features we’ve discovered so far are as follows:

A short message on the wall near the entrance, written in dwarven script and translated by Obroam: “Pain Brings Service”

A dark-robed body… or rather, half a body, as half of it had seemingly just melted away. We guessed that this was one of the cultusts devoted to Chaos or the Dark Ones

A soft, rhythmic metallic noise

A set of 6 pipes going from floor to ceiling at the end of one tunnel, with a whistling noise that could be heard within – we could only guess at their function, perhaps some gas or smoke escape from somewhere down below?

A strange metal chest with no lock, surrounded by strange colored lights that moved when we approached them. I detected no traps on the chest, but when I tried to gently pry it open I felt a strange resistance, and we decided to leave it for now…

A section of wall with patterns on it that seemed to shift and change as we watched

An idol that gave off such a strong, malevolent aura of Chaos that even from across the corridor I felt the urge to shoot it with a crossbow bolt

Our only resistance so far was encountered in a room that I assume to be a torture chamber, with skeletons chained to the walls. Here we were attacked by what must have been undead creatures, two in animated bodies, and two translucent floating figures. Fortunately, all were susceptible to physical damage enough that we were able to rip them apart in our counterattack, but Obroam reported feeling quite a chill when one of the floating ones had managed to touch him during the battle, and I fear the damage to him might’ve been much more severe if he hadn’t been so resilient.

We’ve been able to collect several items that may be of use or historical value, including a cache of bottles that Phaedra believes contains material used in practicing the arcane arts, and several shaped, flat metal objects with patterns inscribed on them that perhaps a sage could tell us more about.

I must note, as Defender of Tangadorin, Obroam has been empowered with the ability to detect both magical and Chaotic auras, as I’ve written before. Some of our discoveries so far seemed to defy any natural explanation, but neither was Obroam able to detect anything supernatural. Is there some other force at work here, if not magic nor Chaos?

I’m thinking about asking one of the other party members to take this journal back to the monastery for me should I meet my end down here, but I haven’t decided which of them I can trust to do the task. I’m leaning towards Rem, as the companion that of all of us seems to be least beholden to other agendas. Obroam is loyal and has a good heart, but his service to Tangadorin must always come first. Mort, as is appropriate seems to be as the shifting winds; deciding what to do next on the whim of the moment. My other companions Lindin and Phaedra I don’t feel I’ve gotten to know well enough in our travels to ask, though I’m hoping that will change with time.

We’re resting as I’m writing this; hopefully I’ll be able to add more soon but I’m going to suggest that we go back to that chest next in order to try something – I think I may have puzzled out the meaning of “Pain Brings Service”, and I’d like to see if Obroam would be willing to try out a little experiment…

Phaedra’s Journal – Second Entry

The 57th Day of Winter, 59 AD. (2/8/23)

This was it, the beginning of my very first expedition underground, and into a Dwarven outpost no less! What fortune! To think that all my years of studies of the legendary history of the Dwarves had finally come to this moment of actually stepping inside one of their edifices. We were immediately confronted with a choice once down the steps, left or right. On the wall directly ahead was an inscription in Ancient Dwarven, Obroam and myself could actually decipher it: Pain Brings Service. What on earth could it mean?

There was a freshly dead body, presumably of a cultist, laying in the passage to the right side. Something had burned off a third of his upper body, so we opted to go left, following a rhythmic metallic tapping, but finding that many corridors soon branched off the first, creating a twisting maze of tidy flagstone tunnels.

A metal chest was tempting, but seemingly guarded by obscure lights in the passage, and with little to no benefit to be seen from prizing it open, we opted to keep exploring. Around twisting passages some more, past metallic pipes running floor to ceiling that seem to contain a whistling sound. Some minor undead hovered above skeletons shackled to the wall and attacked. Fearful at first, our fighters found them to be easily dispatched, and we investigated the alcove, finding some sacks tucked in the corner. Obroam gave them a poke with his sword, raising a cloud of dust that sent him into a coughing fit.

I inspected the contents of the bags further, find 22 vials of various substances, liquids, powders, that very much resembled some of the magickal accoutrements our school masters instructed with. Stashing them to identify later, Obroam unshackled the skeletons and laid them out, remains of humans and littlings. Brother Calandro reminded us that the Dwarves were not known to have been the good guys, this could be evidence of that.

Pushing deeper into the maze-like passageways, we discovered an alcove housing a pedestal upon which sat the grotesque visage of a foul and loathsome god. Obroam was so offended by the sight of the thing he refused to even approach it. I got close, realizing it must be an idol of some sort of terrible deity, perhaps proof the Dwarves themselves were engaged in such blasphemous worship. Obroam implored Rem to pour holy water on the thing and destroy it, but Rem was so disgusted in his attempt to splash water on the thing and seeing the drops of holy water sizzle and evaporate before even making contact, Rem turned back, handed Obroam his holy water again, and walked away. Shifting Dwarven runes decorated the walls around the idol, but I have not been able to decipher them as of yet.

The Journal of Brother Calandro – Ambushed!

It is with great sadness that I must write of the death of one of our party today, a skilled archer that we hired who deserved a better fate, but died in a bloodthirsty ambush on us by a band of orcs and goblyns.

We were trying to make our way into an underground complex where we believe the mage we were seeking was taken and imprisoned, but that portal was proving difficult to open and we were too late… a flight of arrows was falling upon us before we’d even spotted our enemies. We had suspected that bestials were about, of course… the evidence of the ferociousness of their attack on the camp our guide Bove had led us to was plain to see. But the goblyns wore a rough camouflage and were obviously trained in stealth… while the orcs that were the muscle behind the attackers were hiding in the woods, waiting for their moment to appear and strike, and we were taken by surprise.

I was injured myself early in the battle, struck with an arrow while trying to chase down the nimble goblyn archers. Two other goblyn arrows flew towards me and would have struck me down, but with the help of the Brotherhood’s “Swat the Mosquito” stance, I was able to deflect them away with my bardiche. When the orcs appeared, I ran for the cover of the woods, where I could reposition and fire crossbow bolts at the enemy, rather than face down what appeared to be very capable line of 10 or more orc warriors. From what I could see from the tree line, the only members of our party that had gathered to face those warriors were Grel, Obroam on his mount… and a bear named Lady Cuddlesworth. Things looked grim indeed.

Thankfully, this is also when the tide began to turn due to two of the youngest in our party, Lindin and Phaedra. I’m told that their spells were key to this reversal of fortune, and in fact the leader of the orcs was put to sleep by magic. I was too busy to see any of this at the time, using guerrilla tactics to pick off goblyns with my crossbow as they entered into the forest hunting for me. The hunters became the hunted, and when I saw the last goblyn fleeing into the woods, I knew it was time to return to the main battle.

Taking up my bardiche, I charged into the rear of the orc line and drove the blade through an orc’s back. As the Brotherhood teaches us, sometimes survival depends on attacking from the Night, unseen. The rest of the party was fighting fiercely with the orcs as well, who showed no signs of surrender or retreat. They fought to their deaths, but we prevailed.

So now we must rest and recover from the battle. Rem, Lindin and I have scouted the entry passage, but our venture deeper into the complex and our rescue attempt must wait. I tell you Brothers, I am very much looking forward to being able to explore this area, as we’ve heard that it was once populated by dwarves, who have not been seen in the world in many years. The knowledge I might find down there may be invaluable! I will of course try and relate as much of that knowledge as I can to this journal, and if the Sisters shine on me will be able to return it to the monastery for safekeeping. But for now, I must be patient and hope that we can enter the portal first thing upon the morrow.

Phaedra’s Journal – First Entry

The 56th Day of Winter, 59 AD. (1/18/23)

This was an inauspicious day to join the experienced adventuring party as a fledgling magic-user. We found ourselves backed against an artificial mound, faced off against a line of ten uber-orcs and a handful of goblin archers that had ambushed the party out of the woods. Arrows rained down on us from above, finding their targets in hirelings spread across the mound and sending us scrambling. There was a strangled scream as someone fell behind me, punctured by an arrow. I had never experienced such a sortie before, what excitement!

Then there was a tense moment to see who would make the next move, when I, Phaedra the Prestidigitator stepped up, chanted the arcane words and made the hand passes, and caused a wave of drowsiness to hit the uber-orc leader and two of the goblins, causing them to drop to the ground in place, snoozing peacefully. Snarling in surprise, the rest of the orcs moved in to attack. The violent scrum of melee was all flashing swords, bear claws and sprays of blood, and I was terrified the bestials would overwhelm our line as they swarmed in.

Luckily, with bravery and panache, our fighters held the line, but while this was happening, I looked around in fright, after casting one spell I was utterly defenseless apart from my stave. The young warrior Gustave, seeing my distress, came running down the mound towards us, loudly proclaiming, “Don’t worry Phaedra, I’ll protect you!” before being promptly cut down by a goblin arrow buried deep into his chest. He hit the ground at my feet as I screamed “GUUSTAAVE!” in terror.

Seeing my companion fall at my feet suddenly filled me with a feeling of blinding rage as I unwisely charged into the heart of the battle, fully intent on playing golf with the orc-leader’s head. But alas, my strength failed me, and I was hardly able to dent his skull cap with my mightiest swing. It soon dawned on me how bad of a position I had put myself in, when an orc, wielding a strange weapon attacked me, disarming me of my stave and striking a violent blow across my body. Grievously injured, I reeled back and collapsed near Gustave while my companions bravely fought on and forced the orcish retinue into bloody capitulation.

The battle was over, everyone assessed the dead and the dying, laying on hands and bandaging wounds. Gustave would survive, but just barely, and was so injured as to be unable to move, making the journey back to town seem untenable, but the prospect of entering the dwarven underground with an injured party seems even more ill-advised. What are we to do? As I said, an inauspicious day indeed…

The Journal of Brother Calandro – Entry 1

1st Entry – I will attempt here to record details of my travels, in the hopes that will be of some use to whoever may find this. If recent events are any indication, the party that I’ve aligned myself with will continue to uncover evidence of supernatural evil and Chaos, and if I and the others should meet an untimely end the knowledge may be valuable to anyone after that may also be trying to rid the world of these evils and make it a better place. My only request is that the finder of this eventually return it to the monastery of my Order, the Brotherhood of the Night.

Morning came with a bit of surprise today for Obroam and me, the sight of the rest of our travelling companions shuffling over to greet us, obviously hungover, bruised and battered, and naked as the day they were born.

After taking a moment to recover from this vision (we may never truly recover), we sprung into action, first securing whatever clothes we could get our hands on (Obroam and I chipped in some gold to help but mostly what we found was ill-fitting). Mort offered to go on au naturel, insisting that his own fur was enough of a covering, but I think it’s for the best that he wound up back in actual clothing.

It turns out our companions had left the inn the night before looking for more advanced revelry after our recent victories (I was celebrating in the manner of my Order, with a good bottle of wine). They had wound up at a rough local establishment which we returned to and learned some disturbing news from a poor fellow with very few teeth left in his head… that they had been attacked and robbed from a group that had splintered off from the Woodstalkers but had also kept that name. And through more digging we learned that they may have gone to make base in some very old, dangerous ruins in the area. If only that were the only disturbing news that we were to discover this day!

While checking in at the church on the poor prisoner we had freed from imprisonment & torture, Hazam (whom we also learned was a friend of the local loremaster, Blind Pete), Mila confided in us that she’d seen the head priest Adran acting suspiciously. Inspecting his room, we discovered a box under his bed that was emanating intense warning feelings towards Obroam’s senses as a paladin. I determined that it was trapped with a poison needle, so we wound up taking Mort’s suggestion of opening it with blunt objects rather than toying with the lock.

Inside was an unholy symbol that could only be used in the worship of an evil deity of Chaos.

And so, we now have a new priority: we must hunt down Adran and confront him over this. We were able to convince the local authorities of the need, and the plan is for Obroam and I to go and visit Blind Pete to learn what more we can of this object, while the others complete a mission of their own, and then we give chase to what appears to be a priest that has fallen to the sway of evil. May the Night look kindly upon us!

Obroam’s Journal – 1st Day of Winter, 59AD Cont’d – Page 3

With the enemy on the back heel, we pushed on, attempting to smash through the door. Not an easy endeavor as it was quite study and things were being piled against it.. Before we could breach the door however, the two leaders appeared upon the balcony, wearing plate and bearing unnatural weapons. The robed figured used a smoking implement to summon the thing we feared most in this campaign, the wraith. Saying a prayer to Tangadorin, I left the door to my fellows and went to interpose myself between the unholy abomination and my friends.

As the party worked the door, and unwholesome aura and wailing grew closer until i saw it. Like a thing dredged up from nightmares, part skeletal and part unnatural blackish green energy, a ghostly vestige of a damned soul.  Margo and I readied flasks of holy water and tossed them upon the creature as it approached. This did little to detour it as it reached out with is hand in an attempt to violate me with its touch. But Tangadorin Protects!!! His holy all seeing light shined before me and staved off the creatures boney claws.  Quickly following this Egill was able to turn the undead monstrosity, sending it back to the building it oozed from. 

Turning my attention back to the main building, a skirmish was taking place at the entrance between the last defenders of the dark ones and my team mates. Short work was made of these two and the final push was upon us as the leaders of this group of villains came down the stairs. Unbeknownst to me, Pickles had detained them up stairs for several minutes by jamming a door, buying us the time we needed to turn the dead and defeat the defenders.

With nothing left but them, we advanced to finish this terrible mess. Blows were traded back and forth, their plate armor making it quite difficult to land a decisive blow and even allowing their head priest to push past us and out the door. The necromancer used his magics to puppeteer our priest Egill, having him move in the way of our attacks and defend him, but it was for not as my blade stuck as true as Tangadorins light pierces all darkness, laying him low.

Now we give chase to the last member of this dark coven, he shall not escape justice!

Obroam’s Journal – 1st Day of Winter, 59AD Cont’d

After regrouping, our company advanced upon the den of the Dark Ones with caution. Not knowing if they had more ambushers lying in wait. The abomination that was once Houden shambled to meet us, speaking in a hollow and unwholesome voice, asking us to join them and that we would only perish if we fought. I had his men give it a volley in response. The undead retreated into the building from our fire. With no other deterrent, we set up for the conflict.

We had the charmed orc commander open the doors, and then the fight was on. We gave the forces inside a volley before their clerics told them to advance, what followed was a bloody affair.  A hoard of goblins and a pair of orcs along with Houden, all undead, fell upon us. Blade cut, spears stabbed, blood and ichor ran freely, and people died. Though they knew the risks and their desire to to right by their friend, Houden’s men fell on by one. First Mitch, then Duncan, Larry, and Stew. Each brought down by the foul creatures and their relentless onslaught. Mal, though wounded is still alive and I will do my best to keep him that way, it will already be a sorrowful task to dig five graves tonight. Two of the Dark Ones were also slain in this melee, one being distracted by our Illusionist’s spell, rendering him ineffective for the fight. The Last of their ilk retreated inside and judging from the sounds has mustered a last stand of sorts.

Today shall be the last of this effort. Now is time for the final push, May Tangadorin’s all Seeing Light illuminate our path to victory. 

Obroam’s Journal – Winter 1, 59AD

1st day of Winter, 59AD

Now is the time. We make for what I hope is our final push into Girffin’s Keep. After recovering from our wounds, the party has hardened their will and we are determined. I spoke with Houden’s men and the ones who helped before have agreed to help us deal with these dark ones and reclaim Houden’s body. We have planned to take out the orc bowmen atop the moathouse first. The Men at Arms will provide distractions from range with their slings, while a small team scales the walls to take the fight to them on the roof. Should all go as planned that will leave a small number of Clerics, a Necromancer, and their undead to deal with.

But….we learned they have one true horror for use to contend with, a Wraith. My will is Strong and my Faith in Tangadorin true, may his light that Shines through my blade be enough to vanquish the dread specter should it appear. I fear not for my own life, as it is Tangadorin’s should it be cut short. But Houden’s death still weighs heavily upon my mind. I fear his body has already been turned into a vile undead form. I cannot stomach the thought of more of my companions meeting similar fates. By his all seeing lighted eyes, may Tangadorin protect us.