Queenmaker

MISSION JOURNAL OF SISTER SCARLET ENTRY #37
Wealday, 6 Gozran, 4716AR

A quiet night for once. We headed west once again, and the trees remained thinner, but switched to sycamores and poplars (B5). There were also numerous blackberry bushes. We also came upon a den of foxes, and decided to let them be. There are plenty of fearsome creatures in the woods that need culling or outright eradication, but foxes aren’t among them. Provided they stay far enough away from any farmsteads the locals set up of course.

Reaching the far western border of our charter area once again, we dog-legged back to the southeast. What awaited us was truly horrifying. The thick woods concealed a large swamp, which was even more foul-smelling and infested than expected (B6). The source of the added corruption quickly became apparent – the body of a slain unicorn, killed by foul necromantic powers, and robbed of its horn. Whoever did this is a foul and evil soul, deserving of neither mercy nor quarter. We sent Poe to fetch Jhod Kaven. We have withdrawn back to the sycamore woods rather than camp in an area so polluted by evil. We will await his coming tomorrow evening.

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MISSION JOURNAL OF SISTER SCARLET ENTRY #36
Toilday, 5 Gozran, 4716AR

Headed southwest this morning, remaining in the deep woods while following the Skunk River (B3). Based on the number of salmon and trout practically leaping out of the river, this area would make for very good fishing.

We continued westward until the forest thinned somewhat (B4). Still, the area turned out to be infested with swarms of spiders. Through liberal and careful application of magic and mundane fire we were able to clear them out. Following that we have made camp for the night.

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MISSION JOURNAL OF SISTER SCARLET ENTRY #35
Moonday, 4 Gozran, 4716AR

Several down days quickly became none. Once Jhod Kaven learned of the temple, he would tolerate no delay. We returned to the Temple as quick as our mounts could bear us. Jhod seemed very happy with the find, and we are spending the night here.

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MISSION JOURNAL OF SISTER SCARLET ENTRY #34
Sunday, 3 Gozran, 4716AR

In the interest of completeness, we journeyed east before beginning the northerly journey back to Oleg’s. We came across a small crystal clear pond (B2). The application of light magicks revealed it was some 60’ deep, with a cave at the bottom. Ce Me No proved himself invaluable once again, tying my rope around his waist and plunging to the bottom of the pool in stillness and silence. He was able to slip into the cave without being detected by the monster within, and came out bearing a half dozen precious treasures, including two lovely gems, a pair of wands, a hat, and a ring.

As for the monster in question? A great mudbug of some sort – I volunteered to serve as bait on the end of the rope. The monster’s great reach proved problematic, and even when I pulled to the clinch, it was still able to bleed me quite effectively. Fortunately, the waters of the temple of Erastil provided us with the necessary healing magic to have another go at it… though Entem did abandon us at that point, giving us up for deranged lunatics. Let him think as he likes I suppose – for me it was the principle of the thing. If I am ever to help bring order and civilization to these lands, then I must begin by bringing the wild animals of these lands to heel. And it would not do to leave such a tempting swimming hole and water source as a lethal death trap.

Our second foray proved more effective, with Nishi’s lizard Deen bringing us back to the surface of the water after I grabbed hold. The toughening up with Kesten proved invaluable in keeping conscious, and through the aggregation of our strikes and magic, we finally slew the beast. There was a moment of brief panic when a dozen of its young also came up from the depths, but they swam away without incident. Of course, this opens the possibility of another monster growing up in this lake if left along for too long. With any luck, not a dozen, as the clarity of the pool suggests that the creatures are either cannibals, or are depending on gullible swimmers for the sustenance required to reach their mother’s size. To that end, Ce Me No put up a sign with “No Swimming” written on it in Goblin.

Following that, we headed back to Oleg’s, reaching it by nightfall. We sold all of the treasures, splitting the bounty evenly. All told, it came up to 3,417 gold crowns, eight silver links and five copper bits for each of us. Also remembered to ask Svetlana if she wanted any of the albino raspberries we previously came upon (A14). She expressed great enthusiasm for the idea, so next time we pass through we’ll pick some.

Suspect we may spend several down days here either this time or next. Tōgg has had a breakthrough in terms of his ability to craft items of magical power. All he needs is time. And copious amounts of gold of course. In the meantime, I intend to get back to sparring with Kesten and his men-at-arms. That said, we can’t neglect the continuing threat of bandits to the region, and shouldn’t wait too long to get back out onto the road. The occasional dissonance of the universe makes itself apparent once again – apparently a tiger that understands Goblin is perfectly easy to find, but well-made fleshgem spikes will require a further two weeks to obtain.

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MISSION JOURNAL OF SISTER SCARLET ENTRY #33
Starday, 2 Gozran, 4716AR

Apparently being close to their lair has reawakened the mischievous streak in the fey. That and the fact that they never made nice with Nishi. I woke up in Nishi’s somewhat smelly clothes, and she woke up in mine, while the fey laughed themselves silly over “bigginses.” Perhaps it is necessary to lean upon Morrigan’s magical talents to lay a harmless but embarrassing booby trap for them – not to harm them, but simply to discourage them. And to drive home the point that the “bigginses” are perhaps not as easy of a mark as they think.

After exchanging clothes (and giving mine a thorough scrubbing), we continued southwest. Came upon a river (the locals call it the “Skunk River”), and the surrounding area was thick with nodules made of flint and limestone, which made the ground sharp and hazardous in places.

We followed the river until we came upon a gigantic boulder shaped like an elk (B1). This obvious shrine to Erastil led to a cave which appeared to be the ruins of a temple. Poe quickly explored the cave, and saw both a gigantic bear and a nebbish Halfling. The Halfling warned us that the bear was psychotic, so of course Nishi felt the need to try and use her druidic powers to bring it to heel. This proved a miserable failure. Her lizard also charged in, getting mangled in the process.

Naturally I piled in afterwards. Despite my newfound devotion to Falayna, it evaded my attempt to grab it, and dropped me in a heap in a single pass of claws and teeth, and then tried to repeat the process with Nishi and the wolf. The frustration continues to grow. Apparently I need to grapple something and then rip its ears off, if only to get the tension to abate.

Nishi’s healing was sufficient to get me back on my feet in a matter of seconds, and I was able to hold the creature in place long enough for Morrigan and Ce Me No to put it down at a distance. The Halfling revealed himself to be a Bard by the name of Entem Guile. Despite his bookish appearance and demeanor, he is apparently somewhat more seasoned than we are. His inspiring song proved useful in the latter stages of the fight. I think he intends to move on, but he is going to at least spend the evening with us.

After dropping the bear, Nishi got it in her head to try and communicate with the creature, given its obvious intelligence. Entem was “kind” enough to get it back on its feet after I had tied it up. The creature’s raw strength was enough for it to immediately burst some of the rope. With no other choice, we kept it from breaking free and put it down for good. As it died, it transformed into a wizened old man, and from there almost immediately crumbled into bones and dust. Clearly some ancient and powerful magic held sway over the man. Though it remains a mystery to me, I am hopeful Jhod Kaven will have some answers for us open our return to Oleg’s.

In addition to the body reverting to dust, the foulness in the pool outside the temple lifted. Not only did it become very sweet and clear, but it took on magical properties, healing the rest of the wounds I and my compatriots had suffered, even the wolf. We shall fill our skins with it, and journey onward on the morrow.

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MISSION JOURNAL OF SISTER SCARLET ENTRY #32
Fireday, 1 Gozran, 4716AR

Having fully healed, we headed back out on the road. The fey and the wolf immediately rejoined us. We headed west and south, deep into the woods for the first time, where we came upon a large forest of oak and birch. There was an especially large pecan tree in the center, some 200’ in height (A24). It turns out this is the lair of the two little fey.

After exploring the area we set up camp for the night.


Ce Me No is no longer allowed to stand watch unsupervised. We were set upon once again during his watch. Our foe this time was a glowing ball of electricity – I am told the locals call it a will-o’-wisp. I was able to grab it several times, though the creature proved very squirmy – and painfully electric. Nishi was able to heal me well enough to keep me up and menacing it, and it eventually decided that we were not the soft target it had anticipated, retreating off into the woods.

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MISSION JOURNAL OF SISTER SCARLET ENTRY #31
Oathday, 31 Pharast, 4716AR

The last three days seemed to fly by – such is the intoxicating pain and pleasure of being toughened up. Kesten was kind enough to provide me with extra training as my wounds mended, and I feel slightly hardier as a result. I will be coming back for seconds.

Oleg has also expanded his staff as business picks up. He has hired on an extra barmaid by the name of Sofia Silver, and a chef by the name of Dolkan Shanks. The latter has aspirations of opening his own shop one day. The former can best be described with a single adjective: buxom. Sadly, given my dietary restrictions, it seems unlikely I will interact much with either of them in the course of their official duties.

We likewise placed several special orders with Oleg. The party has collectively ordered a wand of healing. Ce Me No apparently wants a trained tiger that speaks Goblin. Oleg took his money, but I will be very interested to see how this plays out. Nishi put in an order for a dungeoneer’s kit. I reconfirmed my request for Oleg to obtain an expertly made set of fleshgem spikes.

Nishi confided to us that Jhod spoke with her about a lost temple of Erastil in the areas we have not yet explored. Once we find and clear it, he would like us to return to him and lead him there. As thanks, he has offered to provide us with healing and shamanic services free of charge beyond the sometimes costly components.

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MISSION JOURNAL OF SISTER SCARLET ENTRY #30
Moonday, 28 Pharast, 4716AR

Oleg’s trading post is indeed a welcome sight. We made it back this evening, “entertained” by the friendly fey. One can see how people might tire of them after more than a small helping. We shall rest for a further three days to finish mending our wounds and to file the necessary reports. All in all, the gear and trophies from this last trip out netted each of us 543 gold crowns. Again, I feel like we are on the precipice of insight, but not quite there. I intend to ask Kesten if I might train with him and his men while we “convalesce,” as it appears I will be taking my fair share of punishment on this campaign, and need to make myself more durable of and receptive to pain.

I have also placed an order with Oleg for a set of expertly made fleshgem spikes. Such an item might take him some time to find, but I have no doubt they will be worth more than their weight in gold moving forward. When next we head out, we will likely head southwest and return to where we were headed before we ran afoul of the worgs.

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MISSION JOURNAL OF SISTER SCARLET ENTRY #29
Sunday, 27 Pharast, 4716AR

The pain is considerable. Rather than a pack of wolves, we were beset by a much larger and fiercer pack of worgs. The battle with them did not go well at all, though all four of us yet live. While we quickly built a fire and set up a defensive position, a combination of terrible mathematics and poor execution on our part meant the worgs were more easily able to get through the bear traps we set out. Once they did so, they firmly put the stick to us. Tōgg’s cat Emily died in the fight, though his raven Poe survived. A small gnome came out of the woods to play good Samaritan on our behalf, but ultimately paid with his own life. Sadly, there was not even enough of him left to bury. The friendly wolf likewise came to our aid, and while both he and I (and Tōgg and Ce Me No and Morrigan, indeed, every one of us) dropped during the battle, through some minor miracle Morrigan regained her feet and drove the last worg in the pack off, and we lived to reawaken after a full day and a half’s rest.

On the whole, I would consider the battle a great blunder rather than a glorious victory. In particular, I found my strikes repeatedly going wide of the mark. Greater training and discipline are required – as are the services of a healer. We intend to limp back to Oleg’s now that we are all back on our feet. Poe will ensure that Nishi meets us there. We are taking the less direct route and following the edge of the woods.

The fey have accepted our additional peace offering, and all of our items have been returned in varying degrees of repair. They gave me back my cookpot, and a half a bar of soap, so one assumes this means they care about hygiene too. Tōgg got back “just the tip” of his javelin. Morrigan has calmed somewhat with the return of her necklace. They introduced themselves as Perlivash (a small fairy dragon with butterfly wings) and Tyg-Titter-Tut, who is something called a “grig,” roughly the size of a cat with vaguely cricket-like legs. She loves music, and seemed particularly enamored of the “song of the Oread” when listening to the cadence of my heartbeat.

The rest of the party also managed a bit of work and exploration while the rest of us convalesced. Of the six worgs we killed, we were able to salvage four pelts. We travelled halfway back to Oleg’s before making camp. The fey have decided to accompany us on our trip back.

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MISSION JOURNAL OF SISTER SCARLET ENTRY #28
Fireday, 25 Pharast, 4716AR

A tatzlwyrm ambushed us in the night on Ce Me No’s watch, attempting to eat Tōgg’s cat Emily. I grabbed a hold of it, but it proved adept at breaking free, biting me in the process. The brute also spit out some sort of poison gas when grappled, but we were able to shake it off. Morrigan was able to hypnotize the beast, and given the bounty on the creature’s head, we relieved him of it. Tōgg also skinned and dressed the carcass. It may fetch a decent price from some collector.

The fey made off with the candy and the letter. They are likely somewhat mollified, as they returned my chopsticks. The rest of our goods have yet to reappear however, so further “gifts” may be required. We travelled northeast and came upon a great valley of more than a thousand sunflowers (A22). After exploring the area, we travelled on to the southeast. The sound of a pack of howling wolves has just come up out of the hills, and the rate at which they approach suggests this is a fight we cannot avoid…

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