Echoes of Mourning

Kolgarths Diary Day 2

Day 2: 20 Ollarune 998 YK And so I pick up where I last left off. Years of searching have led me to the freshest trail that I’ve come across yet in my quest to find my family. Strangely, this trail has forced me to cross paths with these infamous faces of my past. Bren ir’Gadden, the scholar I rescued that day on the tower when I felt the prophecy course through me. Since the destruction of my town, that was the only moment I’ve ever felt a pull beyond that of my personal quest. That moment of doubt resonates with me still, the feeling of being drawn in another down another path. I’ve been able to push down that moment of doubt, but seeing these people again is more than coincidence. Luckily, these competing pulls are not a choice I will have to make at this moment, and I’ll have more time to think through my priorities as all trails seem to converge at this hole-in-the wall pub. It seems once more I’ll have to blaze a path for this motley assortment of adventurers. To my right, I see Satoris, the artificer with the strange element thrower. He explained to me the mechanics of his weapon, and I have seen similar on some of the largest ships of my house, but never before have a come across a personal version. It’s a very powerful weapon, and not only can it slash its foes with shards of ice and burn them with fiery wrath, but it can imbue those around it with the power of the elements. While his slight frame and weak constitution may prove a liability if he is thrown into the thick of things, I’ve seen the devastation he can unleash and he flits about on the outskirts of the fight. He is driven by a similar need for me, as he goes about searching for a friend lost in the catastrophe. A worthy ally to have guarding my flanks in the battles to come. The other two members of newly formed party I’m less ecstatic about. Dominaro Walsh and Gabriel, two members of the order of the silver flame. Anyone who allows blind faith to cloud their judgment, that the protection of some divine entity outweighs the benefit of proper discipline and training. It may seem strange to hear a barbarian preach on this, but I’ve been taught extensively how the use of discipline in conjunction to my natural rages can raise my battle prowess considerably. At least Dominaro shows signs of his training, he just has too much of a reliance on his god and his heavy armor to carry him through battle. I have a bad feeling that that will come back to haunt him, and soon. Gabriel, on the other hand, displays no consideration for anything beyond his devotion. Friends, foes, allies, enemies…there does not seem to be much of a distinction between anything for this raving lunatic. Wading into battle in ancient mail, laying all about him with his magic with no regard to who he hits, he is a force to be reckoned with, but also a beacon of power to avoid like the plague. One misstep around him can see me burned to cinders, the way he often leaves his enemies. While I cannot gainsay this power, he’ll need to learn to control and focus this, and temper his belief with restraint. If he can’t do that, I fear he will prove much more of a hindrance than a help in our upcoming assignment. Bren informed us that the key to all of the quests rests in the hands of one Douven Stahl, a man who has gone missing recently. A friend of the scholars, Douven has the information that all of us are seeking, and so the quest to find him falls to us. It seems each time I meet this crowd we’re destined to rush off saving someone. Bren told us to search towards the town of Winterhaven, so I began on my way. As I was walking away though, I heard Satoris asking about Bren’s friend from the tower. Apparently his proximity to the prophecy rune caused him to spawn an aberrant dragonmark. That topic hits much too close to home for my comfort, and hearing my companions’ protests of disgust and contempt, it makes me realize just how careful I have to be, even around my so-called friends. If any of them discover my secret, I might soon find myself on the receiving end of Gabriel’s holy wrath. I used that as my cue to leave, and began the journey to Winterhaven. On the way out, a serving girl stopped us to give us a code to contact a friend in Winterhaven. While I normally have no time for this kind of skulking and trickery, I sense something amiss in our future, and I can appreciate the caution. On the way into town we heard a shrill yell for help, and before we knew it we were being waylaid by kobolds. Rushing in to defend my companions of dubious fortitude, I fell upon these foul beasts with vigor. Looking to my left, I witnessed Dominaro rushing to battle as well, surprisingly fast for his heavy armor. As the battle wore on, however, I began to believe that he may have toned down his mighty plate. Blow after blow rained down upon him, and as the battle progressed I could see him getting more and more battered. Finally, the paladin fell, causing the kobolds to focus their assaults on me. I absorbed the worst of the blows, but they still managed to bloody me. At this point, I could no longer control myself, and I let the dam burst and gave into my primal instincts. I smashed through the frail creatures, waylaying about me to the left and right. When my rage subsided, I looked around me and not a creature stood. Calming myself down, we helped Dominaro regain his feet. Striding off into the forest, we found a young flower girl calling herself Delphina. As we untied her, my internal warnings immediately went off. As one in tune with nature, I have an affinity for things organic, and I recognized the flower beds that she was sitting on as lilies. However, the so called “flower girl” insisted they were violets, a strange mistake for one with her livelihood. My companions became suspicious as well, so we kept her under a close watch as we escorted her back to her village. I realized she was definitely one to keep an eye on. Upon reaching the village, we were informed that there was a man in the tavern who may be able to provide information on Douven Stahl, and that he normally shows up at nightfall. Having some time to kill before we made our contact, I wandered over to the town blacksmith, both to ask after my family and to find peace and comfort in the soothing sound of hammer on anvil. It was what I needed to calm myself after giving into the rage, one of the few things I’ve discovered can put me back in my proper mental mindset. Here I met a friendly dwarf who provided me with the same advice. He had spoken with Douven Stahl before he disappeared, and confirmed the rumors that he might have information about my family. He even went so far as to offer me a place at his forge, an offer I dearly wanted to accept, but the conversation had renewed my need for information, and it was time to approach the tavern. I wished him farewell and told him I would return soon to take him up on his offer. Upon meeting with my companions outside of the establishment, my impatience got the best of me and I burst in, demanding information of Douven Stahl. The response was…underwhelming…to say the least, but I noticed one old man who seemed a bit jumpy at the mention of the name. He quietly motioned us over, and once we exchanged the code phrase told us the situation. He also told us to keep an eye on Delphina, who had been acting strangely recently. His words confirmed my gut suspicion, and we made a plan to learn what we could about her. We chose Gabriel and Satoris to do the investigating, as their smaller size may allow them to slip along undetected, while my large stature would be a sure sign to anyone following. Little did I know they would botch the job so badly. I returned to the smithy to speak with the dwarf some more, and test my hand to see whether my skills had atrophied too much. Before long, I heard a commotion outside. I rushed out of the smithy to see Gabriel running towards me, and a large fire blooming where Delphina’s house used to stand. Unsure what had happened, but with a sinking feeling that I already knew the answer, I asked my companion about the fire. He proceeded to contrive some lie about a kobold following us, and I found myself aghast at how one who can claim to serve such a divine guardian could become so mentally unstable as to light a woman’s house on fire, regardless of her association with evil. Before I could get another word in though, he showed me a note that he had come across. Be very careful to extract the third rib from the sinister side. I want the entire thing; I don’t know how much I’ll need to perform the ritual. -K" Who was this mysterious K? Before I had time to think about it, Satoris came bearing word that Delphina was leaving the village. Quickly, we moved to follow her, putting as much distance between the burning house and ourselves as we could. Soon, the wench led us into the forest, where we could hear the chanting of some sub-human ceremony going on. Looking through the trees, we witnessed a horde of kobolds beside a river and waterfall. Unable to keep his hatred for all things evil in, Dominaro once more rushed into battle, leaving me no choice but to support my brash companion. Soon we began the fight. I began with my normal attacks, but soon I felt my legs start to lose strength, and my legs no longer responded. I had been rooted in place! Even with this disadvantage, I quickly overcame those creatures that came near me, while Satoris and Gabriel handled those further away. Running out of enemies to fight, I drew my throwing hammer and managed to take out another of the beasts. Still unable to move, and with no other resorts, I finally launched my prize maul to stop a kobold shaman’s casting before he could hurl his bolt of acid at Gabriel. This proved to be the creature who had cast the spell on me, and once he was vanquished I was able to move and reclaim my weapons. We had acquitted ourselves admirably in the sprawl, but I knew the worst was still ahead. From the waterfall, we could hear the chitter of little voices, and we realized we had found the kobold warren. Gabriel informed me that one of the shamans had spoken of an “Irontooth” with his dying breath, and we assumed that he must be the leader of these creatures. He may also be able to lead us to the next clue of Douven Stahl’s location. We knew we had to proceed ahead and find this foul best, so we cautiously entered the warren. Immediately we were beset by a number of minions. As I fought, I realized there must be some lingering affect to the shaman’s spells, because I was not able to move my arms quickly enough to hit the agile creatures. He must have sapped my strength, there is no other explanation for the laziness and lack of precision in my swings. Again and again I missed, but thankfully my companions were able to take care of the beasts. Gabriel in particular was able to use his magics to slay hordes of the minions. As we approached victory however, sounds of the struggle alerted the stronger denizens of the caves. When next I looked up, rushing towards us was a goblin-like creature with two dripping axes, and I realized this must be Irontooth. With him came a throng of shaman and denwardens, rushing to protect their brood. My companions and I all fought bravely, with Dominaro rushing in to take the brunt of the smaller creatures’ attacks. I engaged Irontooth myself, and we proceeded to fight toe to toe. However, this creature was even quicker than the others, and my attacks proved nearly as ineffective on him as the smaller ones. Every time he managed to graze me, I felt my life force draining into his axes, and realized they must possess a magical enchantment. Realizing the danger to myself and my companions, I launched a devastating attack, which I managed to connect, and I saw the beast stagger under my blow. In that moment though, I witnessed Dominaro fall under the onslaught of his minions, and that moment of split concentration provided Irontooth the opportunity he needed. As I looked away, I felt the bite of an axe as it hit a critical point in my body, and even my barbarian vigor was not enough to keep me on my feet. Swaying, I took a final swing at the beast and connected, and while he looked as though he may fall soon as well, it was not enough and I crumbled in a heap. Dimly aware of what was going on around me, I saw Satoris fall quickly to the kobold’s blades, and things looked dire for us. The only one standing was Gabriel, surrounded by a fiery nimbus. As he attempted to fight off the hordes, I heard him call to his god, and realized that perhaps I had been too hasty in dismissing his faith. A brilliant light surrounded the fallen body of Dominaro, and to my amazement I watched him regain his feet. Together the two Order members proceeded to finish off the leader of these kobolds, right as he was about to lay down the finishing blows on Satoris and I as we lie helpless. Seeing their leader fall the remainder of the kobolds began to flee. The last thing I remember before consciousness slipped from my grasp was the sight of Gabriel dragging a stunned denwarder to the waterfall, to “wash away his sins”. After that I slipped into the darkness… Kolgarth Stonehammer Barbarian of the Nameless

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