[Suggested] Journals of Donovan Part 1 - 10

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[Suggested] Journals of Donovan Part 1 - 10

Post  Kiel Reid on Tue Mar 08, 2011 2:18 pm

(As a note I found these journal were given to Garrett Maevers via the forums. Credit should go to the players who created them for all I did was copy and paste.)

Part I: A Phantastic Welcome.

As I sit now to write this, I wonder at all that has transpired since my arrival in these lands. What had at first appeared to be my salvation was instead nearly my destruction and now stands as my source of greatest hope. Endless days of wandering the blasted wasteland have marred the memory of the life I once knew, and perhaps the shroud that covers much of my past brings clarity to that which I have experienced. I will attempt to recall the myriad events of the past few days. Should this malaise that covers my memory creep further through my mind, I will have some record of my introduction to the people of Phanterra.

The haze of pain and hardship covered my thoughts as surely as the dust of the road covered my boots when I first set eyes upon the distant glades of Phanterra. For a moment I thought my eyes had been deceived, but as the twisted trees surrounding me began to give way to healthier oaks and pines I came to my senses once again. The limitless expanse I had wandered had finally surrendered something new, and for that alone I was grateful. Running my hands through the cool grass and seeing the creatures of the forest once again was more than I had ever hoped for, and my sudden fortune made me wonder if I had succumbed to the wastes and was walking the fields of Elysium. Little did I know my newfound paradise was not a heaven, but a haven. A haven where a casual misstep might beckon heaven soon enough...

Following a trail that soon became a road, I happened upon a warrior donning his armor. It seemed he had spent the night in the open and was preparing to journey to the town I had spied just over the next hill. I took his willingness to rest exposed to mean that the lands were safe, and only later did I consider the idea that the woods might be perilous, but the town even more so. His manner was pleasant enough, and he introduced himself as Ben. He certainly looked an able fighter, and by the pack he carried one used to living on the move. I did find his sword to be a curious object. It's many bright colors were in contrast to the rest of his equipment, but I chose not to comment on it. Even in my garbled memory warriors are often sensitive to comments about their swords, and I didn't want to risk offending the first person I met. I was eager to see a town unspoiled by the cataclysm, so I left Ben to his gear and walked on ahead.

Setting my sights on what appeared to be the Inn, I made my way into civilization. The Inn itself was unremarkable, though the two gentlemen seemingly guarding it caught my attention immediately. One, I would later come to learn, was a Valkyn'Vi, and the other a Tsunotaur. Both were dressed for fighting, and I was suddenly very aware of the absence of my sword. Trying to put on the best face I could, I politely inquired about their health and the welfare of the town. The Tsunotaur barely acknowledged my presence, but the Valkyn'Vi took an immediate interest in my unannounced arrival. Though neither seemed the type for small talk, we spoke for a few moments before an awkward silence signaled to me the time for my departure. Fearing a bit for my safety, I turned away from the Inn and up a well traveled trail. It wound through the woods for a while and deposited me between two guildhalls. Both were dark, and I thought it best to observe things from a distance for a time, lest I meet with a colder welcome then I had at the Inn. A short distance into the woods I came upon a rusty but serviceable sword lying in the underbrush. A few moments of scrubbing revealed a respectable weapon, and I decided to take my chances at the Inn once again.

Upon my return both the Tsunotaur and the Valkyn'Vi were gone, and I made my way into the Inn. The few townsfolk in attendance quickly explained to me that there was no Barkeep, as he had met the same violent end seen by each of the Barkeeps before him. Once again concerned for my safety, I made my way outside courtesy of the back door.

Part II: A Matter of Time...

In the rear courtyard of the Inn I found a group of adventurers and several peasants discussing some sort of rescue operation. Among the adventurers stood Ben, who was by far the most friendly sort I had encountered since my arrival. The concept of rescuing someone in need appealed me greatly; not only as an honorable deed but also as a chance to gain some much needed allies. Wary of another chilly reception, I settled back against the Inn and listened to the conversation. Some confusion was evident between the peasants and the adventurers, as the peasants were thanking the adventurers for a deed that the adventurers claimed they had not done. The peasants were adamant that the deed had been done, and by the adventurers in question. Somewhere among the din, I heard the words "sorcery" and "time" uttered, and I began to realize that this town was more than it appeared. Until that very moment, my curiosity about this place being spared the ravages of the cataclysm had lain dormant within my mind, but their words awakened questions for which I had no answers.

Not wanting to be credited for something they had not done (or perhaps wanting not to neglect something they had already been given credit for) the adventurers made ready to set off into the forest. Deciding to take a chance, I caught Ben's eye and motioned for him to join me by the Inn. He did so, and I asked him about the group and their intentions. Seeing what I was hinting at, he invited me to join them on their trek, and I quickly agreed. Being in the company of several sturdy fellows did much to raise my spirits, even though we were marching into the unknown. Several of them, including the Lady Kathryn, the healer Dallid, a hunter known as Gideon, a mage named Eli, an elf called Corbyn, and Ben himself would become known to me as members of the Guild of Light. I found them to be excellent company, and was impressed by the way they investigated all that we discovered.

We found a series of arcane symbols etched into the earth, and received a clue concerning a couple of local farmers who may have been involved. We made a quick journey to the village to learn where we might find these farmers, and as several of us waited for information I noticed two figures making their way up the trail. The first caught my eye as the sunlight glinted off his armor, making him a beacon of steel in the otherwise soft scenery of the woods. He was dwarven, and clearly a man who knew his way around a battlefield. Next to him stood a woman who was everything he was not. As much as he glistened in his armor, she seemed to drink the light into her ebon skin. As much as he was barrel-wide and gruff, she was willow-thin and soft. She smiled from under her veil, and I was moved to speak with her. Her name was Nuk, which considering her Dark Elf heritage is likely short for something far more complicated. The Dwarf was called Kiel, and he was apparently in her employ as a bodyguard. Our brief conversation was pleasant, and as our group left I found myself thinking of Lady Nuk and her escort. My time in the wastes had dashed any thought of true companionship, but as we set out to find Farmer Johnny I found myself hoping that Kiel was indeed just a bodyguard...

Part III: Fertile Lands.

Our party decided to split into two groups in order to investigate both farmers in question at the same time. The Lady Kathryn, Dallid, Ben, Eli, and myself went in search of Farmer Johnny, and it wasn't long before we found ourselves greeting a plainly clothed man walking up the road to meet us. In talking to him, we discovered that his three children had been taken mysteriously a short time ago, and that he was eager to gain our aid in their recovery. From the discussion among my companions, some effort had already been undertaken to recover the children with no success. Farmer Johnny showed us the area where his children were supposedly drug away, but seemed to grow uneasy when we began to investigate nearer to his home and outbuildings. Seeing his change in demeanor, my companions began to grow suspicious of the good farmer, and I shared in their concern. We pressed him to allow us to search his barn, and after a time he reluctantly agreed.

Our initial search gained us nothing, but when we inquired about a passage we discovered behind a haystack, the farmer attacked. He fell upon Dallid first, but soon Ben, Kathryn, and I found ourselves fighting the farmer in earnest. The farmer quickly saw his disadvantage and fled, leaving us to explore his barn. Mere moments later he returned, seemingly dazed and wondering what was happening. Not trusting the situation, we confronted the farmer with the passageway once again, and once again he attacked. Kathryn fought him bravely, and I rushed to her aid. Time and again I delivered blows to the crazed farmer, but still he fought on. Kathryn, who had already taken such wounds as to lay me low twice over, stood against him and cut at him without mercy. His staff did not fail to find my flesh either, but in the end it was Eli's magic that ended the struggle. I took up the farmer's staff and our group returned to search the barn. Eli remained behind to see to the farmer, and I felt no guilt when I learned the farmer had died in his care.

The hidden passage revealed a strange machine to which the farmer's wife and children were attached. Their blood was being... harvested... from them and stored in vials and buckets around the room. It appeared that the farmer was keeping them alive in order to fertilize his crops with their vitae. We freed the mother and her children from the machine, and Dallid set about healing them. They all recovered, but the knowledge of her husband’s actions was too much for the woman, and she broke into fits of weeping and wailing. We were eventually able to comfort her enough to bring them all back to town, though their lives will never be the same. As we left the farm, we noticed just how well the crops in the area were flourishing. Not only the land owned by the late Farmer Johnny, but also all the surrounding farms seemed to be enjoying unprecedented prosperity. Curiosity got the better of me, and I took a bit of the crops and the soil they grew in. I suspected some kind of evil, but had not the skills to look into it further. Saving the samples in case I found someone who did, I followed my companions back to town.

Part IV: In Search of Answers... and a Root?

On our return, we discovered that the investigation of the other farmer had been fruitful as well. Though I never learned the exact details, some enchantment had been supposedly cast over the area, and the recovery of a very specific root would facilitate the removal of the spell. This spell was reportedly responsible for the strange disturbances in time that had been plaguing the area. Though I had no idea who was responsible for either the information or the spell, I already felt a sense of duty to the town and the people who lived there. I didn't particularly cherish the thought of the woman and children we just rescued meeting an "untimely" end either, so I joined the expedition to find the root. My spirits were raised to a great degree by the addition of Nuk, Kiel, and the Tsunotaur to our party. Both Kiel and the Tsunotaur were superb warriors, and I certainly had no objections to Nuk's company. As we set out, however, I couldn't help but feel that trek was going to be more than any of us bargained for.

Just as we put the town behind us and entered the forest, the people leading our party caught sight of figures ahead of us in the wood line. As we neared them, we saw more shapes drifting through the trees in an attempt to flank our position. Correctly assuming that the intentions of these folk were not friendly, we took up a defensive position and prepared to face the enemy. Shouts at the front of our column indicated bandits, and we engaged them swiftly. As luck would have it, we dispatched all but a few swiftly as well. The remaining few were no match for my companions, and soon we were on our way again. I took the opportunity to acquire some equipment from the fallen brigands, and I felt a great deal better with some extra steel hanging on my hip. I still was wielding the staff I had retrieved from the farmer, and I found the advantage of reach to be a great asset when fighting along the trails. Still, the feel of a sword on each hip is the kind of weight that makes the rest of the world seem lighter.

The bandits continued to harry us as we made our way deeper into the forest, and as they did I couldn't shake the feeling that they were keeping us from something. My fears were later confirmed when a brigand parlayed with us and confessed that he was just buying time for his friends. Sickened by their toying with us so, I took the lead and tried to urge my companions further into the woods. A short time later, we came across a group of townsfolk hunting for some great beast. At first I believed them to be in league with the bandits, but after hearing their story I simply thought them crazy. Again I took the lead, though my assertiveness nearly cost me my life.

A small distance up the trail I came upon a small clearing, and a second later my eyes caught the shape of an archer kneeling at the tree line. The Archer loosed his arrow, and only luck and fear saved me from its strike. My panic caused me to jump back, and the deadly shaft struck the ground where I had been standing. The Archer's eyes met mine, and for an instant we were frozen, trapped in that endless moment that has been the domain of footmen and bowmen since the earliest of days. I was here, with no means of harming him; he was there, with his bow unstrung and his next arrow at his hip. The stillness was broken by the motion of his hand and the beginning of my stride, both moving in concert to bring death upon the other. I felt a cry escape my throat as the short distance between us blurred into motion. As he drew back the bow I was upon him, though his arrow still struck true. Pain raged through my shoulder as my sword arm brought steel raining down upon him. Though I hewed at him, he found the strength to run. I chased him into the wood line as I heard the shouts of my companions racing up the path. The Archer chanced a look back at me, and in that moment a shape emerged from the brush the likes of which I had never seen. A huge beast, much like a dog or wolf, seized the Archer in its jaws and rent him asunder with one swift, horrible bite. Stunned, I considered attacking the creature, though I knew to do so would likely net me a share of the Archer's fate. As fortune would have it, the beast disappeared moments later. It let loose a roar that shook the woods and sped into the trees with alacrity that took my breath away.

It was in that state that my companions found me, aghast and staring into the woods. I described my encounter as best I could, but words could do no justice to the creature's size and power. It was decided to press on, though we had not seen the last of the beast. It killed twice again before it finally saw fit to deal with us as a group. Time and time again the strongest among us struck at it, and though its fur became drenched with blood it battled on. Finally we realized that only magic and enchanted weapons were having any effect, and as a whole we concentrated our efforts in that direction. Slowly, gradually, the beast weakened and fell; though we continued to strike at it well after it had ceased to move. Several minutes of trial with an enchanted weapon were required to free its head from its shoulders, but it was a task none of us wanted to leave unattended.

The fight with the beast had left us all wounded and many of us without the protection of our armor, so as a whole we opted to rest and try to patch ourselves up before continuing on. Dallid proved his worth yet again by using his healing arts to restore us to health, and both Keil and Eli used their armor working skills to make us ready for combat once more. As we made ready to continue, those who had gone ahead to scout reported that there were more figures among the trees ahead. Having seen the abilities of my companions, I made a decision. I was by far the most expendable of our number, and so I offered to take the lead. I planned on walking directly into whatever trap lie ahead, in hopes that when it sprung my companions would be better suited to defeat the enemy. Of all the things I expected to face, I was unprepared for a massive glowing wall.

As things happened, the wall was the least of our problems. Several statues were arrayed beyond it, and a circle with six stones lay before us. Knowing we needed to proceed, we began to examine the stones and cautiously manipulate them in hopes of removing the wall. As many of us had feared, the only thing we succeeded in doing was activating the trap into which we had so readily walked. The glowing walls surrounded us and the statues came to life and attacked. Our weapons were almost useless, and soon I realized the futility of the struggle. As I battled one of the stone monsters, I spied Gideon still crouching over the circle and stones. Seeing how poorly the fight was going, I dared to hope whatever he was doing might provide some reprieve from the statues' relentless assault. Spurred on by the chance of survival, I renewed my attacks on the stature before me. The thrill of battle was singing in my heart right up until I felt the blade pierce my skin. Breath abandoned my chest as the point of the statue's sword plunged into my side once again. One by once my senses retreated: first the pain of my wounds vanished, then the din of battle subsided, and finally, mercifully, the world went away.

When my eyes opened, it was Dallid's face I saw as he removed the empty salve from my lips. Seeing that I was awake, he nodded quickly and rushed off to tend to more of our injured. I lay silently for a moment, tending to my wounds as best I could. It pained me to watch my companions fighting without me, but I knew to rush back in would be foolish. One strike would send me back into the warm embrace of the earth, and Dallid might not be there to rouse me from that slumber once again. As soon as I thought I was able, I lurched to my feet and skirted the fighting to where I had seen Gideon working with the stones. He appeared to be placing them in some sort of pattern, and I had no interest in interrupting him. I turned my back to him and decided to offer what protection I could in case the statues saw fit to stop his puzzling. As I stood guard, I heard a cry of triumph from behind me. An instant later, the statues and walls all vanished as if they had never been. A cheer rose from my companions, and I added my voice to their celebration.

After some healing and repairs, we wearily made our way down the trail. We had fought battle after battle, but still lacked the object for which we came. I had to wonder if our quarry even existed when we rounded a bend and saw the object of our quest. Choosing to retrieve it as quickly as possible, several of our number surged forward to the spot in the trail where the root stood waiting. As they approached, monsters from within the earth itself rose up against them. Massive mole-like creatures tore at them from all sides, and soon we were fighting for our lives once again. The creatures were blind, though their keen sense of hearing and ability to dig within the earth made them dangerous enough a foe even without the gift of sight. Once again I found myself bleeding from countless wounds and doubting if I would survive. Fortune smiled upon me, however, and one of my companions managed to retrieve the root; therein allowing us to escape. We fled through the woods and up a steep hill until the mole-beasts were well behind us. Never before have I found the sight of an unfriendly Inn so welcome, but my eyes were glad to behold it once again as we staggered back into town. Exhausted, I sought rest and food near one of the Guildhalls apart from the Inn. Having nearly perished twice, I thought it best to cease the day’s exploits and think on my situation. Little did I know the realm of Phanterra had other plans...

Part V: A Visitor at Dinner.

I made a fire to cook some of the meager stores I had managed to retain during my travels and thought greatly about the things I had seen. I had left my companions almost immediately upon reaching town and had not even bothered to learn of the results of our journey. I was alive, and thereby counted the quest a successful endeavor. I was also tired, hungry, and in great need of time to sort out my opinions of Phanterra. Some much needed food and a few minutes off of my feet were all I could manage before I saw a silhouette approaching through the fading light. Silently hoping to avoid a fight, I invited the man to join me at the fire and share in my meal. He dressed the part of a warrior, though some of the gear he sported made me wonder what sort of fighter he was. A few moments of conversation revealed that he was a Vampire Hunter, which served both to confirm my suspicions about his manner of dress and worry me greatly.

Though I knew very little about Vampire Hunters, it seemed likely that their primary occupation would be hunting vampires; thereby suggesting that the presence of a Vampire Hunter might indicate the presence of a Vampire. I immediately explained the scene I had witnessed at Farmer Johnny's earlier that day. Perhaps the farmer's machine and the vampire were simply coincidence, but there seemed to be a lot of blood-related dangers cropping up, and I preferred to err on the side of caution. Remembering a conversation from earlier that day, I also explained that the Valkyn'Vi I had seen outside the Inn was planning on destroying the farmer's blood harvesting device. The Hunter seemed intrigued, and asked me to inform him if I heard or saw anything else. I answered that I would be more than happy to do so, provided he keep me informed as well. While I didn't particularly want to know the intricate details of a vampire hunt, I thought it better than not knowing and being in the wrong place at the wrong time. As I watched him meld back into the darkness from whence he came, I couldn't shake the feeling that the night was far from over. In what I remember of my past I had always been the type to embrace whatever fate threw at me, and with that in mind I donned my sword and returned to town.

Part VI: New Friends, New Enemies.

The Inn was nearly deserted when I arrived a short time later, but a fire had been lit in the pit outside and I settled in to warm myself at its flames. A female Valkyn'Vi was tending to the blaze but seemed absorbed in her own thoughts and none too receptive to conversation. The last glimmer of twilight gave way to true night as I sat relishing the sweet mix of cool air and soft heat that can only be found around a fire. Deprived of any illumination save the fire and the heavens, the forest took on a visage of slumber. Peaceful to the eye, but certainly alive and cloaking all sorts amidst its branches. Such were my thoughts when I saw the Vampire Hunter striding into the firelight. I greeted him, and he joined me at the table. He had yet to find his Vampire, but he had a couple of parchments that he said I might find of interest. The story he told was that he had acquired them from a dwarf after a night of drinking, and both seemed to be cryptic in nature. One was penned in a language I had never seen before, while the other was written in an archaic form of the language spoken in the lands of my birth. The archaic scroll spoke of a prophecy, and its lines told of a Wyrm and the means of its destruction. I could make no sense of the other, but the first intrigued me greatly.

We were discussing the possibilities the scrolls suggested when the adventurers began streaming into the clearing. Many were members of the Guild of Light, but others I had never seen. Of particular interest was a group of Orcs that seemed to be bickering with each other about the exact events of the battle they were returning from. The short female Orc was arguing with the large male Orc about his performance in battle (and, disturbingly, in other areas best left unmentioned). After speaking with a few of them, I discovered that they had gone off to deal with a Dragon and had entered into some sort of arrangement with it to aid the town. The Orcs vehemently denied having anything to do with the deal brokered with the Dragon, though the members of the Guild of Light indicated that some promise had indeed been made. Though I wouldn't learn of it till later, the guild apparently promised to provide the Dragon with gold, silver, and quicksilver for some sort of ritual. My mind turned immediately to the Vampire Hunters' scroll, and seeing that some of the Guild members might be able to provide further insight, the Hunter proffered it for them to examine. Among the adventurers was the male Valkyn'Vi I had seen when I first arrived, and he seemed to take great interest in the Vampire Hunter and his reasons for traveling to these lands. While neither the Vampire Hunter nor the Valkyn'Vi were willing to speak openly, they did speak of the machine in Farmer Johnny's barn. The Valkyn'Vi reported that the machine had been disassembled and scattered throughout the forest. When the Vampire Hunter asked the location of the pieces, a palpable tension entered the air. Fearing conflict, I attempted to outline the many serious threats that had arrayed themselves against the people of this realm and point out that unity would be necessary to overcome them. The Vampire Hunter left without incident, but the Valkyn'Vi remained and shared his suspicions about the Hunter with me. For a moment, I felt relieved that a fight had been avoided and grateful that the Valkyn'Vi felt comfortable enough to speak to me of such things, but as I spoke to him I sensed a darkness about him that had nothing to do with the time of day. He left shortly afterwards, and I was happy to see him go.

The remaining members of the Guild of Light excused themselves and returned to their Guildhall, leaving myself, the Orcs, and the female Valkyn'Vi at the fire. The female Orc had overheard my conversation with the Vampire Hunter and had mistaken me for a scholar. Laughing, I explained to her that I was not a truly learned man, but just a fellow who chose to listen to the wisdom around me. She responded by asking me where to find such wisdom, and I answered by saying that wisdom could be found anywhere. During our conversation, I discovered that Orcs are full of questions. They take nothing for granted, and in doing so see things that more "civilized" people might miss. It struck me that lying to an Orc would be a difficult (and likely painful) proposition. As we spoke, the simple honesty of their Orcish ways made me glad of their company. Their observations held nothing back, and I dubbed the female my "font of Orcish wisdom"; a moniker that pleased her greatly. I learned that she was called Grok, and that the larger of the two males was known as Jux. The third Orc, Vug, who may have been Grok’s brother, had introduced them and both Grok and her husband appeared unhappy about their union. I got the impression that their constant quarreling might be some form of Orcish affection, but I wouldn't hazard a guess as to the real nature of their relationship. My name was quickly shortened from "Donovan" to "Dono", and it was explained to me that Human names were too complex for Orcish tastes. I took the new name as a measure of their friendship, and as such was happy to be "Dono" in their minds.

Part VII: From Smoke and Light...

We were still seated by the fire when Grok made some comment about smoke and red lights among the trees. Thinking her to be speaking about the firelight, I agreed and thought little more of it. When she mentioned them again, however, I noticed that she was looking over my shoulder and away from the fire. Glancing behind me, I saw the end of the field opposite the Inn was shrouded in smoke. Billowing white waves were rising from the center of the clearing, and flashes of light appeared from within the massing clouds. Rising from the table, I told my companions I intended to get a closer look. The Orcs needed no invitation and fell in behind me as we walked toward the strange phenomenon. We had only gone a few paces when the flashes of light became more frequent, and seconds later the entire cloud was bright with pulsing white light. With the smell of brimstone in the air, I felt my grip tightening on my sword. A shrill cry broke the night like glass, and from the smoke and light creatures spilled onto the field. Beastly cats, dogs, and lizards that walked like men poured out of the haze and charged all of those who stood before the Inn. Though none of us had been in these lands more than a day, we met their charge as one and sought to defend the inn from any who would assail it. My Orcish friends proved powerful allies indeed, and they butchered all who came before them. My sword sang as well, and time and again I buried it into the bodies of the frenzied beasts. As we fought, I realized that numbers were against us. The blood on my blade was minimal matched to the blood spilling from my skin, and I knew it to be folly to remain. Sparing a last look at my Orcish friends, I turned and ran into the night.

Weak though I was, I feared that my allies would fall without aid. I had no idea what other beasts might lie within the smoke, and I knew even a minor wound would lay me low. Through the night I ran, blindly seeking the trail that would take me to the Guildhalls atop the hill. I trusted fate to keep me safe within the darkness and let my feet carry me as swiftly as they were able. Seeing the light of the Guildhalls, I stopped at the first and pulled open the door. Two men, (who I would later come to know as Atrum and Roland) leapt to their feet as I told them of the creatures besieging the Inn. Leaving them, I ran to the second Guildhall and pounded on the door. This guild, the Guild of Light, quickly sent its members to my aid, and soon a number of warriors were following me back to town. As the light of the fire became visible through the trees, my heart sank in my chest. I could hear nothing of the sounds of battle and feared my friends had fallen before the creatures assault. The smoke was still thick, and the acrid smell of sulfur permeated the night air. As fortune would have it, my estimation of the Orcs fighting abilities was greatly understated. They had turned back the creatures and saved the Inn, and I was filled with pride in my new friends. Dallid, who along with Gideon and several others had come from the Guild of Light, healed all the wounds taken in defense of the Inn. Gideon set out to track down the source of the creatures, and all of us took a moment to regroup.

Part VIII: Waves of Death.

Just when we began to think the worst was over; more shapes became visible in the distance. Unlike the creatures before, these did not speed across the field; but instead came on slowly. From one of the townspeople the cry of "Skeletons!" was heard, and I then knew we faced the walking dead. Once again I took up my sword, and once again I fought to defend a land of strangers. As my blade met bone and rotten sinew, I felt something stir within me for the first time since my arrival. Seeing my Orcish friends lay about with their clubs and bludgeons, seeing the Guildsmen fighting for their home, I felt a sense of belonging; a sense of duty and kinship to those at my side. I again felt the blood seeping from my flesh, but fought on uncaring. I could not fail those around me, and to fall here, in defense of something good, was a better fate than a lifetime spent in search of something worth dying for. With one skeleton on either side I knew it was only a matter of time before they struck true, but I stood my ground regardless. I could hear Grok fighting behind me, and knew that to run or escape would be to leave her back undefended. Accepting my fate, I lashed out at the skeletons until the earth rose up to meet me. Content, I waited for the darkness to claim me, knowing that I had given my life for something worthy, but the darkness never came. I felt the warmth of healing energy flow through me, and Dallid once again secured the spark within my soul.

I rose to find many of my companions wounded from the fighting, but all were still alive. The joy I knew at seeing them was short lived, however, as yet another mob of skeletons descended upon the town. Like great waves of death they met our blades, each crest of grinning skulls wearing away at us and promising a rising tide of blood and bone. Again my wounds overcame me, and again Dallid held me fast to this mortal coil. The salve he poured into me gave me the strength to stand, but little more. When I regained my feet, I heard the call to retreat to the Inn.

Staggering, I evaded the blows of the undead hordes and nearly fell through the back door. I saw Corbyn and two town guards fighting against still more undead outside, and though I wished to help them, I instead stumbled to a bunk and began to treat my wounds. Corbyn joined me moment later, followed by a group of skeletons slashing at his heels. We fought among the bunks, with his spear keeping the skeletons at bay and my sword keeping them from stopping his spear. After a perilous battle we dispatched the last of them and sealed the Inn. As I tried once again to treat my wounds, I heard the sound of fists hammering on the walls of the Inn. The undead had surrounded the building and were letting us know that we were trapped within its walls. Beams of light sliced through the windows and held anyone they touched motionless for as long as they continued to shine. It was decided that our only hope was to annihilate the creatures completely, and as soon as we were healed we marched out the front door.

The undead had fallen back into yet another wave, and we met them with a crash of steel. Seeing the futility of battling wave after wave of walking dead, I skirted the fighting and ran to the far side of the field. I was hoping to discover where the undead were coming from, and there among the shadows walked a man in thick robes. Not knowing who he was, I warned him of the dangers in the night and asked his name. When he answered, I could hear the madness and power in his voice. I demanded that he return with me to the Inn, but he flatly refused. I gave him a final warning and told him that I would not ask again, after which he called up skeletons from the earth to fight against me. Knowing that I could not stand alone against so many, I called to my companions that I had found the source of the undead horde and ran to meet them. We fought through the skeletons as swiftly as we could and made ready to face their master. We struck at him, but he only laughed and vanished into a column of smoke and fire. He left us with many wounds, but more painful still was the knowledge that we had not seen the last of him.

Part IX: Murder Most Foul.

Retiring to the Inn once again, many of us felt the urge for strong drink. Resting for a moment in comparative safety, I had the chance to speak with some of my companions for the first time. I found them to be warmer than I had just that very morning, and perhaps that speaks to the brotherhood one feels when fighting alongside someone. A call of an attack outside sent many of us scrambling towards the fire pit, but was mercifully only a strange man coming to warm himself by the fire. As I turned back towards the Inn in hopes of continuing my conversation inside, I spied Arthos and Corbyn talking to an Elf near the fire. Curious, I approached them and heard word of a possible attack by the Dark Elves before the night was out. We spoke for a moment before the Elf excused himself and Arthos made his way back to the guildhall.

I still stood outside the Inn speaking with Corbyn and Gideon when a town guardsman ran into view. He spoke of an attack near the Guildhalls, and suddenly we were on the move again. We ran up the trail to the Guildhalls and found another town guard arguing with the male Valkyn'Vi and some of his companions. It appeared at first to be an attempted arrest, but the tone of their voices carried more than just the rule of law. There was something significant transpiring, and fighting broke out among those gathered there. In the darkness I saw little of what happened, but I later spoke to many who were present and pieced together what occurred. It seems that the night before I arrived in these lands a murder took place. A woman named Elus was killed by several men for reasons unknown, but the consequences of this heinous crime were more severe than any of her killers had bargained on.

Though I know not how, it appeared that Elus had been restored to life and had described the details of her own murder to her allies. Rumors abounded about how she had been restored to life, (some even said that she had been reincarnated as a man!), but the knowledge that four murderers were stalking the night had been too much for a man called Roland. It was explained to me that Roland was the head of a house to which much of the town belonged, and that he had some connection to the lady Elus. He and Atrum (the master of the third guild) had set out to avenge Elus' murder in the guise of town guardsmen. They had been able to track down three of the four men responsible when the fight to which I was witness occurred. I also learned that the male Valkyn'Vi had been one of those responsible for the murder, and that he had been incapacitated during the combat. As Roland and Atrum fought on, Dallid happened upon the fallen Valkyn'Vi and healed him, allowing him to escape. When he learned of this, Roland attacked Dallid in a fury. Only the interference of the townspeople en masse stopped Roland from killing Dallid, who is a truly pacifistic healer. In the end, Roland regained his senses and a tally was taken. One of the four men was held prisoner within the Guild of the Light, but two others had escaped. Of the fourth, I am not certain, but I believe that he met justice at the hands of Roland and Atrum. Sadly, the dark elf Nuk was also held prisoner within the guildhall. She later told me she was traveling with the male Valkyn'Vi when Roland and Atrum made their arrest, and had attacked Roland in an attempt to defend her so-called friends. Though she was later released, her situation made clear to me the need for unity among the good people of these lands. As we waited to hear of the fate of the killers, I spoke to the Orcs, Nuk, Gideon, and later both Roland and Atrum about the need for agreement between the guilds and cooperation among the people. All agreed, and I remembered something that Arthos had said about a council. I suggested that some sort of council be convened to address the myriad threats to the land, and offered to aid such an effort in any way I could. Many nodded their agreement, but no one spoke of making it a reality.

Part X: The Seed is planted.

On Roland's suggestion we returned to the Inn, and we encountered Dallid on the path back to town. He and Roland spoke of the fight with the Valkyn'Vi, and in the end they agreed to disagree. I remained a moment after the others had gone, as I had wanted to speak to Dallid alone. The man had saved my life no fewer than three times since the last rising of the sun, and I wanted him to know I understood what he had done. His belief makes him who he is, and though I may believe otherwise, I respect him for his convictions. After I had said my piece I continued on to the Inn, where the taste of wine was sweeter than ever. Given the chance for conversation, I spoke with Gideon at great length, and discovered him to be a truly unique man among men. His ways, while foreign to me, ring of a truth unmarred by conditions or politics. I quickly grew to admire him, and he seemed among the most receptive to my call for a council. Later, during a conversation with Arthos and Corbyn near the fire pit, he advocated my proposal and nominated me to serve as a mediator. I had offered to perform such a duty earlier in the night, but his bringing it forward honored me greatly. Atrum later joined our discussion, along with a man called Leeland and his cousin Ashe. As we tried to figure out a course of action for the town, the idea of creating an office to unite the people was suggested. This individual would serve as an elder and constable, ensuring justice and cooperation between the citizens and guilds. Though the exact duties and powers were left vague, all were in agreement that such a person was needed. Once again Gideon nominated me to fill the role, and to my great surprise many nodded their assent. My lack of allegiance to a guild, friendship with the Orcs, and actions in defense of the town that day had made me an attractive selection in the eyes of those gathered there. It was agreed that a council be convened in the morning to establish such a position, with the idea that I fill it.

I slept that night, and though my dreams were filled with nightmares they paled in comparison to the horrors that awaited me in the waking world. Arguing townspeople, time warping magic, bloodletting farmers, missing murders, Dark Elf raiders, Vampires, and a favor owed to a Dragon stalked the day, and nothing my slumbering mind could conjure was as frightening as the day promised to be. When I awoke, I made my way to the Inn and shortly afterwards the council was called. It was brief, but it was agreed that I be made constable/elder of the land. I quickly enlisted the aid of my Orcish friends as my men- (and woman) at-arms, and now find myself writing this journal. I have gone from stranger, to protector, to chosen defender with the passing of a single day. Likewise, Phanterra has gone from a world unknown, to a land of peril, to my home. I don't know if I have the strength to see these people through the times ahead, but I am certain of this: any who would threaten the people or the peace of Phanterra. will find me in their way. By my heart, by my name, by my very soul, I swear it so. More of my blood lies within this land than within my body, and I will not cede an inch to darkness. May the light once again shine...

Kiel Reid

Posts : 47
Join date : 2011-02-01
Age : 32
Location : Naperville IL

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