It is my own bias, I realized this some time ago, but I am incensed. Enraged. Apoplectic. I do and do not know how such things can come to be, but I shall touch on this later as I make my report. Many have asked why I do this, keep this journal. Previously, it was a way to organize my thoughts, putting words to paper, to recall and organize myself Now, more than ever, it is a calming influence. I can only imagine the horrors that these brave men and women go through, but I feel it seeping into my mind. Perhaps… well, that is a theory for another time, there is much to write.
Tybalt, Novina, Ambrosine, and Athalia went into the Warrens, as there was rumor that some of the villagers had seen great mountains of food. With the extra sacks and the surprise surplus, along with a surprising amount of seed and preserved goods,, the backbreaking work of the farmers was slightly alleviated. So relieved were the farmers at the extra seed to be provided, a quick negotiation was had that in exchange for the seed and provisions, the Farm could afford to give the supplies free of charge for the next expedition.
What Athalia and Novina didn’t note to the farmers is that all this material was apparently gathered in idol worship to what appeared to be a misshapen creature. Tybalt claimed he saw a slithering, ever changing mass lurking in the shadows. Without knowledge of what they were going to fight, the group retreated, with the spoils in tow. Athalia was quiet about this creature, neither afraid nor over eager to meet it in battle, but Ambrosine swore she’d slay it the next time she saw it. I had research to do, and swore I would do what research I could, to see if this was another of my grandfathers terrible experiments.
While I did that, my research into the sirens had not paid off, unfortunately. I asked for Volunteers. Acele was one of the first to volunteer, Aslene as well. Insein decided that a new specimen would be perfect, and Silverdawn to round the rest out. Silverdawn wanted to see what this Siren was about, as she related tales that were far different than what I had discovered regarding the monster.
It was by chance or providence that they group found a detailed map on one of the fishmen bodies, of the section of the Cove they were to hunt in, and blasphemous worship of the Siren was labeled in one of the distant caves by one of the fishmen. With this map, they were able to avoid many of the traps set by the nightmarish creatures, and even discovered another hiding place of the yellow wraith. Armed with the foreknowledge, they made their way quickly there, stopping their ears with wax so as not to be enchanted by the song. The siren was hideous and terrifying, according to the group, and a vicious fighter. However, because of the wax, her song was able to be resisted by all but Aslene, whose wax was apparently not strong enough to drown out the sound,. For a brief time, she fought at the side of the Siren, at least until Insein brought the creature down with a number of well placed jars of acid and poison.
With their success came great relief among the other heroes. Success is infectious for morale, but I unfortunately had to temper their jubilation with news of the strange flesh. The creature was nothing more than the waste by product of heinous blood rituals that my grandfather had performed, dumped into the sewers and left to rot. Death did not claim the eternally beating heart of whatever originally was this creature., and it rose higher and became stronger Confident from the success of slaughtering the Siren, Vae’gaun, Donari, Akaiatana, and Athalia decided to hunt down the strange flesh creature, swearing that they too would be as successful as the other team. I chuckled to myself slightly, Donari’s quips and Aakaiatana’s endless puns would likely drive Vae’gaun insane. Perhaps I should have asked Tybalt to go, instead, his temperament matches much better than the gallows humor that the other two have.
It was during this departure that I witnessed Athalia and Kormok speaking quietly with Athalia as she prepared to leave. Donari quipped as he sharpened his blade, “They make a cute couple, despite the differences.”
I had not realized, but of course others would have relationships. Apparently all of this had been going on behind my back, hidden from me. Now, of all times?! Perhaps I am being irrational, and biased from my own experiences, but I investigated more throughout the hamlet, and indeed, there have been tales that the heroes have been engaging in relationships. I understand using the brothel as a stress relief, and the madam there is paid well to keep the men and women healthy, safe, and cared for but… love.
Love will do nothing but make this worse, I am sure of it. It was only through Arialynn’s counsel as she saw me storming off that I did not have Kormok and the others I have found out to be hauled off to Nurse Ratched, to be corrected.
Breaking them of their relationships, however done, would also hurt morale, and cause the others to lose faith in this cause. I didn’t see how, but there was a firmness in her words that made me listen. As long as it does not get in the way of this mission.
Thankfully, Vae’gaun, Donari, Akaiatana, and Athalia returned whole, but only mostly successful. They reported that the horrid creation detached most of its mass in an effort to flee from the onslaught of the group, slithering into the deeper sewers of the Warrens that the group could not follow. We will be free of it for a time, I suppose.
Akhania volunteered to visit the Cove next, taking with her Etsiyona, Vael, and Novina to recover more artifacts and replenish our coffers some as the payments for materials and work becomes ever so much more costly for the training and blacksmithing of new arms and armor. It was another excellent success, with Estiyona sniffing out one of the secret rooms of the Wraith Collector, and hauling back a number of the strange (and extremely expensive) crystals. With this extra money and supplies I have been able to provide a number of better weapons and armor for the adventurers. Next, if at all possible, I will provide Kormok the necessary materials to continue his training regimens for the rest.
It was during this time, however, that the group heard the clanging of a bell, and saw a ghostly ship docking into the cove, a number of these undead sailors singing haunting songs and preparing themselves. They seemed to work with the fishmen, hauling goods and feeding the abominations, as the team was able to notice. Packs already heavily laden with loot, and short on supplies, they retreated from the area.
Ambrosine volunteered to lead this expedition, her bloodthirst apparently finally getting the better of her (The madam of the Brothel said Ambrosine had been insatiable for the last week or so. I need to double my standing order of bourbon for this month). Tybalt also volunteered, and he managed to convince Jander and Athalia to attend as well.
The jester was instrumental once again in keeping the sanity of the group together, making light of the horror of what the undead crew was. Some were more or less attached to the ship, and their strange shanties and magic caught all of them by surprise, nearly drowning Tybalt in a magical sort of despair.
Eventually the group succeeded, and returned, alive, wet, and horrified. Jander attempted to keep spirits light, but privately took me aside and mentioned that he’d heard something else in the songs, a promise to return. I thanked him for the information, and somewhat surprised that he could be serious even for a moment, promised I’d look into the matter to see what could be done.
To buy some time, I asked Idella and Vael to light wards, however temporary, in the Cove, to stave off further undead, and bolster any resolve for the next team.
It was a lucky thing that we did, for as they exited, another siren’s song was echoing through the caverns. Damnation., there is no end to them, it seems… gods save us.