Week 6-11 (Author’s Note: This was prior to getting skins for the different classes, some genders and names may be off. Example, Elli is actually Grames in the previous stream, but now has been corrected)
They found me, weeping and screaming, clawing at my eyes in the ruins of the manor. I can recall the faintest bits, but sending my mind to remember what I found sends panic through my very being, and I fear losing what little meals I have had previously even thinking about the entrance to the hell below. Perhaps in time I will be able to remember without the madness overcoming me, but that option fills me with almost as much dread as remembering
As I recovered, I met some new faces. Koryander, a woman of the barbarian tribes far to the North, Vae’gaun, one of the responders from Acele’s and Arialynn’s letters, who is also an extremist among the church. He and others like him believe that faith and pain is the true path to the Light, to bear that burden the suffering that is life.. Worrisome fellow.
Alongside him arrived Elli, a woman cursed with terrifying abilities and bound in chains across her body, Novina, a collector of rare antiquities and valuable artifacts with a keen eye, and Silverdawn, a priestess of the light much like Arialynn. The last to arrive was Sigmah, a masked warrior afflicted with leprosy, wishing to make a positive contribution to the world before he was consumed by his affliction.
Trusting Arialynn to reign in some of the new group should they become troublesome, I sent her, Pyri, Vae’gaun, and Elli into the Warrens, in an attempt to deal with some of the Pig Men.
They returned, successful, however Vae’gaun was raving, a rapturous zealousness that unnerved the rest of the group. Arialynn reported that Pyri performed well, and Elli, while a cursed being, managed to maintain focus in her human and… other form, slaughtering many of the pig men. Vae’gaun, she reported, was obsessed with the pain that he inflicted, on others as well as himself. We will need to keep an eye on him, but he was managed to be directed to the Penance chamber of the abbey. I have charged Acele to keep an eye on him while he remains in the hamlet, to be ensure that his brand of faith does not harm others.
Confidence surging, Koryander, Silverdawn, Kormok, and Aslene volunteered to go into the Warrens as well… and were met with a foul ambush of the pig men and their corpse eater allies. Kormok described it as one of the closest battles of his career, as the pig men were viciously slashing, their aberrant forms giving unnatural strength and speed. In the end, Koryander fell, the victim of the ambush, screaming and slashing in a fiery death rage against the monsters. Silverdawn was beside herself in anger that she was not able to provide the healing light that was needed to keep Koryander alive, and Kormok blamed himself for leading the expedition. Aslene had helped carry the body back, and we buried her in the graveyard. I have prepared a letter, and sent it to her home to the tribes in the North. Kormok believed she had family and sisters who would wish to know what had happened.
A brief service, with the others attending, and my confidence, now at a low ebb, looked at the other volunteers gathered. This must be truly an army…. And I must be ready to lose many before the war is completed. But with the loss of Koryander and the retreat of the others, there was little cash flow to continue the repairs of the buildings and the upgrading of what my blacksmith calls a substandard set of arms and armor for these adventurers.
Choosing to investigate the Weald, Aunne, Razas, Sigmah and Novina took the fight to the the mushroom people and bandits of the fields and forests near the estate, hoping to find bandits flush with cash to maintain and upgrade the arms, armor, and training of the army we were growing. Sigmah and Aunne worked well in unison, hacking down the spore afflicted monstrosities and a number of the bandits. Novina was able to locate a number of objects to sell to restore the emptied coffers of the manor, and other building materials that were able to be used for the Hamlet. They brought back news of a Coven of Hags, and that the bandit forces that we had fought, however, the multiple days there were gone led to some skipped meals and weakness.
With the artifacts and coin they managed to bring back, however, this growing army’s march will no longer be on empty stomachs.
Privately, I began to consider the ramifications of perhaps taking untested men and women and sending them to their deaths to retrieve what we could… only one is truly needed to bring back the haul, the goal completed or not… but I am not that desperate, and I am not my grandfather, to waste lives in pursuit of a goal, noble or heinous that it may be.
To restore some sense of camaraderie and to see if any of the hamlet possessed some skill of arms, Pyri organized a contest of archery and musketry, unfortunately none were to be found. She out shot them all, though the competition restored much of her confidence in herself, as well as successful. There is an idea, however, to be had there. Something perhaps to think about for the future.
Cautious despite the success, Vae’gaun, Arialynn, Donari and Elli ventured also into the Weald, wary of any possible ambushes. One ambush was found, but Donari was able to guide the rest around it, and reverse the ambush on the hapless but professional brigands. Vae’gaun and Elli tore into the bandits, with bloody abandon. With Arialynn’s guidance from the Light and Donari’s constant jests, they were able to keep Vae’gaun from berserking, and successfully struck into the Weald, bringing back more information on the Hag Coven and the Bandit army. I am hoping that soon we will be able to strike against the Coven, who seem to guide the eldritch growth around the Weald.
Another new face arrived from the Church, Ambrosine, another crusader much like Acele. As much as I may have despised the church previously, at least they are making a token effort in sending some to help.
Hearing the news of the battle in the Weald, and the stark unholiness within the Ruins of the manor, Ambrosine requested Razas, Elli, and Novina to accompany her into the Ruins near the manor, where the undead rose, to smite the unholy. They were successful, finding enough to gold, jewels, and building materials provide food and lodging and the beginning of training, despite the problems of many undead to flush the coffers of the estate. Progress, thank goodness.
A new arrival showed up, a houndmaster, Akaiatana, who brought their faithful dog to help assault the beasts and criminals of the hamlet. Silverdawn, recovered from the disastrous attempt into the Warrens, requested to take Sigmah, Vae’gaun, and Akaitana into the Weald, to find and eliminate more enemies. Trusting the young woman, and the Houndmaster and the stoic warrior Sigmah to reign in the excesses of Vae’gaun’s faith, they ventured deep to eliminate as many enemies as possible, slaughtering many. The combined assault of Akaiatana’s hound, the whips of Vae’gaun, and the heavy sword of Sigmah proved to be a terrifying force against the cults and monsters of the Weald, with Akaiatana providing surprising resourcefulness and encouragement to the others.
Despite the setbacks…. The outlook is getting better. We must persevere. I have a sense of what lies beneath the manor, and that all that we have seen is but a taste. In this last week, I have begun to remember the maddening horror that I witnessed. There is much to be done, and the hamlet must be restored. But something for the future, I must note: Akaiatana noticed that the gates to the grand courtyard were rusted and locked, the hound whimpered and whined at something that was out of the range of Akaiatana’s hearing. I had hoped the Courtyard had been untouched by my grandfather’s excesses… but perhaps it is just another new horror awaiting to be unlocked there. As my grandfather said in his many ravings…. overconfidence can be a slow, and insidious killer.