Erna

The Story so Far
Boss Richard's Log

25th of Kame, 2872

As we approach the end of the third month of our travels, I look back on all that has occurred thus far. I have come to realize that, while slower than it could be, we have been quite lucky so far and have only had a few small raids. There are a few reasons for this.

We leave earlier than most heading to the Kanchana festival do, this way there are fewer raiders watching the roads. We are also a more formidable caravan this time, as our guild has grown much this past year. This has allowed us to hire more guards, some of which have proven to be quite skilled. A couple even skilled in the Craft (luckily they haven’t bothered me much), and they seem a bit more pleasant than the stories I’ve heard of them, like the guy that got turned into a newt (he got better).

We were attacked by a few trolls shortly after leaving Marentha. We were only able to ignite one on fire though, so the others got away. Then, just outside of Cerulia, some goblins attacked in the night. They tried to burn one of the wagons, but we were able to put it out and scatter them before any real damage was done.

I swear it was as soon as we crossed the border into Yamas that some bandits hit us. They managed to kill a few guards, but weren’t able to make off with any of the goods, so no real harm was done. It was the goblins that attacked us just outside of Haven that were the most annoying. They made off with half a herd of goats before we managed to scatter them. I wish we could take that loss just out of the pay of the guards who were supposed to be watching them, as they claim there was a bugbear, and they just froze. But rules are rules…

Its been fairly steady going since then though, and even with those losses, we are still more well off than usual. This has put the guards into good spirits, and they have each (well, almost) earned the sack of gold waiting for them. I even think Ringnald will want to hire a few of them on as regulars.

Looking forward, we are nearing Lut Gholein, our last real stop before Faraday. The merchants seem eager to kep moving, and most will wait for the better prices at Kanchana. We will have to spend a few days in Lut Gholein anyway, as we need fresh supplies and to rest the herds for this last leg of our trip.

I always do look forward to Kanchana, even thou g the dryness of Sych makes it my least favorit season.

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Excerpt from Eva's journal
26th of Kame, 2872

I am told that the ever growing glow we are approaching is called Lut Gholein. I dined with the red violet Elnor and orange Charlie this night. Both were pleasing energies, and the orange one asked about my sight. It is comforting to converse with voices that are not speaking in riddles. I told her of the lights and the whispers, how even now, she is dancing in her own river of light. She seemed uncomforted at the thought, and quickly changed the topic to being ready to stretch and start our patrol. Though he did not speak, I could see that the red violet one was listening and watching, and also seemed eager to venture out. The shimmers of our caravan glowed softly as we began our watch. It was calm, the whispers spoke soothing words, almost as if to prepare those who slumbered for the next dawn glow. As I basked in the soft ember of the night, my companions only found one rustling in our patol, which quickly skittered away upon drawing near. Our night was without incident.

Upon dawn glow, the usual bubbling and swiftness of our caravan’s current began. It was a pleasant energy which I have grown fond of, full of a comradeship of long travel. The sun was in the middle of the sky when the city Lut Golain was in sight. It was with renewed vigor, that the view of our current destination, ignited in our company. I found great interest in the glittering of joy that emanated throughout the caravan. As we drew near the city I was told to help patrol the caravan and stay alert. Sparks of unease about the south forest jumped from person to person. Our company’s speed was hastened, and the energy that rushed upon the worn road was full of echos. Many had traveled this path and I find myself lost to the buzzing of it all, it was overwhelming. Suddenly, I could smell smoke, and a familiar filth associated with deviants who we had snuffed in the past. I then realize I am being lead by the orange one, north, away from the caravan. She tells me we are investigating a fire, and as I look I see many greenish brown streaks ahead, and there are goblin voices. As I look back toward the caravan I see a commotion of green brown lights, most of them going dim. We see a hastening fire to the north east and rush to its path. Oil had been trailed to draw it’s path, and as the red violet Elnor and I dry up its tracks, Charlie quickly extinguished a goblin foe on the end of her mighty pole arm. With a swiftness a second goblin was lost, a cross bolt between his eyes, from Elnor’s hand. I focus my attention on the third goblin, I could feel it welling up inside of me wrapping my whole body in swirling electricity. I hear the whispers screaming in my ears like a whirlwind, I find the word “missile”. The blue energy surged through my soul and cracked through the air piercing the fiend in the arm, wounding him. Suddenly, I feel a pain in my side, a rusty glow of a goblin dog’s teeth had found my flesh. I react and slam my staff into the hound’s face. I hear another pained gasp as I see 3 goblins and a dog attacking Charlie. Elnor shoots another cross bolt at the goblins attacking the orange one, and forces himself between me and the new foes. Before another volley from the vile beasts errupts, arrows slay down the goblins and fend off the rusty hued dogs. We find room on the caravan, just as burning arrows start to catch in its sides. I’m able to sooth the energy from a few and put them out, but Elnor seems to have a fear of the flames, and while he is able to put out a few, he almost falls from the carriage. Charlie’s wounds were effecting her more than she was willing to admit, and before she can extinguish any flames, she falls from the caravan before the bridge. I hear the thunder of hooves coming from the great city before us, and see there are bright silver beams emanating from soldiers and their mounts coming to our aid. I look back to see the orange one safely across the bridge and being helped onto another cart.

The city is impressive, full of colors and many lights. The palisade wall is a comfort for the city, cool and glowing soft in its constance. Our caravan was the first to this bustling city, and quickly filled in its camp grounds. I could smell the crispness of lumber, and see the echos of the light that used to surge though the mighty trees. I dress my wounds, the many forests I have visited, taught me how to be resilient, to cure my throbbing pains. Coldness pulled my attention to one of the many tents, upon entering I found a pale Charlie. She had dressed her wounds but I could see her pains still pulsing from her. I reached out to her, a warmth filling my body, I could feel my father’s light fill my own like a burning fire. I felt her relief, though she quickly pulled from me, and offered a quick thank you. I smile again, it is nice to hear a voice that is not a whisper, or a scream of fear. I tell her about the whispers and their excitement of the festival. The road ahead is an awakening, all the glowing rivers are leading there. She is kind to listen, I am greatful for her company. A buzzing calls to me, a sweet serenade of life and energy. I find myself in the city’s market, the day’s glow calming in the sky. The busy patrons gossip of neighboring county’s unease, and who the favorites of the tournaments in the up and coming festival. After basking in the energies and watching the sparks of the people, I find my way to my back to the campground. I watch Elnor, an ember of red, find his own tent and stumble in. The softness of my pillow and the over stimulation of the day lulls me into a gentle state, and I find myself dreaming of what it would be like to worry about who wins the tournament, about what a normal life would be, and then I find the void.

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A Day in the Life of Finkle Herdcaller
27th of Kame, 2872

Finkle Herdcaller woke to the rooster’s crow in the predawn light. He rolled over and whispered in Kaarhi’s ear, “Wake My Love, a new day is dawning.” She was already awake, having heard the rooster herself, but she enjoyed her part in their little ritual, and groaned, “Five more minutes My Heart.”

After pulling on his trousers, Finkle shifted over to the boy’s bed and shook the foot of Gelkon, his first born, as he was to continue his education of a Master of the Farm. The attack on the caravan the previous day had caused Finkle quite a bit of concern as he had not heard of so many coming that close to the city in a very long time. He decided he would spend the morning inspecting the fence for wear or weakness while Gelkon organized the harvest.

Stepping outside, he breathed in the earthy scent of his farm and headed to the barn. Even though he had enough hands to tend to this sort of task, Finkle still preferred to milk the aurochs himself. He found the simple repetition of the job to be calming and helped him organize his thoughts. He had an odd feeling this morning, but he felt a little eased when he finished a couple hours later.

He left the barn with the bright morning sun full on his face, which meant it was time for the final part of his pre-breakfast routine and he prayed to Chauntea, asking for a bountiful final harvest and for the good health of his herd through the dry months ahead. He then took one of the buckets of milk to the kitchen where he could already smell the baking bread. He devoured a hardy breakfast of eggs, warm bread and smoky sausage. Sieko, their youngest daughter, insisted that she get to sit on daddy’s lap as she had fallen sleep during dinner the previous night so, “Tha’ didn’ coun’.”

After breakfast, Finkle saddled his favorite horse, Dimena, and whistled for the dogs. He took anything he might need to make minor repairs to the fence, but if there was anything major, he would have to come back. He headed to the North section first, since that was the most likely direction from which trouble would come. He was relieved when he found only the usual wear and tear and that he only needed to make some minor repairs. It is one of the larger farms so it still took all morning, and as he was approaching the farmhouse, it was already past midday.

He noticed that Essoth and some of the other guards from the city were paying a visit. Finkles first thought was, “Did I miss something?” and he almost turned back. Realizing it might be his brother making an unexpected visit, he spurred Dimena on. When he came close, he noticed that Kaarhi was crying and that Essoth was trying to console her. Dread overtook Finkle as he realized that something most have happened to his brother Resmuk. His fear was confirmed when Essoth began, “I’m so sorry, Finkle, there’s no easy way to say this…”

Essoth explained how they had been trying to split the Cube, but it had gotten bigger than they realized and that Resmuk had fallen in the line of duty while he was saving a mother, and her little girl who had become too curious. He also told of how some idiots from the West got overzealous (one of them an Elven Witch even!) and killed the cube before they could split it. He and the guards offered their condolences and asked if there was anything they could do.

Finkle insisted on seeing his brother before The End, even though they were recommending strongly against it. It was a quick ride to the Temple of Urogolan, where Resmuk’s body had been moved to. The sight was almost more than Finkle could handle, it was much more horrific than they had described, or at least more than he had been willing to hear. He regretted not being closer, they only saw each other a few times a year, even though they lived so near each other. They had often fought when they were young, and even as adults, they rarely shared the same point of view. He did think his brother fit well in the guard though. As Resmuk had no other family, it would fall to Finkle to make arrangements for Resmuk’s End. So he said a silent prayer to Waukeen thanking her that he had been more prosperous than most over the last several years.

A few moments later, Essoth returned and with an uneasy look on his face. “I know you hav-“

“Just out with it, Essoth” interrupted Finkle.

“Well The Counselors have decided to send those idiots to retrieve a new cube, so we will need someone to drive the cage and an aurochs. I was thinking Gelkon might be able to.”

“No, I’ll drive; Gelkon can run the farm for a day. I want to meet those fools anyway.” After a pause, he continued, “You know, they probably saved some of your lives, even if they did take it too far.” With that, Finkle hustled off to prepare for the journey.

As he approached the meeting house, he noticed a couple elves an attractive woman and a man standing in an awkward silence among some of the city guard. Most of the guards had an uneasy look about them, and were eyeing the elven Witch with caution; she didn’t seem to notice and was the only one smiling. The guards escorted them all to the gate, which Finkle thought odd, so he presumed the four must have pissed them off somehow.

It was nice to be in the wild though the elf “Witch” (if she really was) seemed to be unusually interested in the aurochs. They made some small talk and the elf male seemed very concerned about a particular herd of elephants they passed. They also seemed to struggle with how the cube helps keep the city clean and how the city maintains them. The Beautiful one even thought that Finkle farmed them. He had thought of asking how it was done where they are from, but he forgot to, he did appreciate the distraction though.

They made good time and arrived at the cave shortly before sunset. They finally came up with a plan to catch the cube and they asked Finkle to shovel some elephant shit into the cage, seeming to think that the smellier it was, the better it would attract the Cube. As he had never seen a nose on a Cube, he wondered how it could smell, but they are from the West, so maybe they knew something he didn’t.

Suddenly, the Witch revealed her power and instilled a bright light into their equipment! None of the others seemed alarmed by this, so Finkle tried not to draw her attention as he did not want to become a newt, like in the stories he’s heard. It was the most terrifying and yet beautiful thing he had ever seen. He stood there stunned as the three ventured into the cave. The Man stayed with Finkle and the cage in case something came along while the others were in the cave.

Finkle soon came to his senses (with the help of a fine whiskey the man reluctantly offered) and soon, the cage was full of odorous manure. Finkle climbed onto the top of the cage and watched the moons float across the sky. Just as he fell asleep, the three returned from the cave dragging a corpse of someone they killed, luring a smaller Cube than Finkle had expected. He presumed that the one they had brought here last time must have split on its own somehow.

They still didn’t seem to have a plan to get the cube into the cage and asked Finkle to throw the corpse into the cage once the cube got close enough. This instantly brought back visions of his brother to the mind’s eye and it was all he could do to remain standing. He managed to get out that he couldn’t do it and they decided to just throw in the body and close the cage behind the cube.

The elven male shared some letter they found in the cave to the Man, though he didn’t seem to have much to say about it. It was late, and Finkle was tired but he wanted to leave as he didn’t like the idea of the cube’s “brother” coming out looking for food; or whatever else may be “coming home.” They decided to push on to Lut Gholein that night.
About two hours later, they were set on by some goblins! The Four made quick work of them though, and the elven woman made some more amazing things happen using her Gift.

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