From the journal of Naias Von Richter
Having plundered the corpses of the stag lord and his tastelessly dressed gay-emo-rogue lieutenant we took stock of the situation and Aramil healed us a bit. From speaking with the traitor barbarian, whose name we learnt is Akiros Ismort, we learnt that there were other bandits out foraging and raiding, but none remaining in the fort. The unconscious hulk of a man, who we had been referring to as Mongo is apparently called Ocks and is a complete simpleton. That certainly explains his actions. Akiros also told us that there is a hidden chamber in which the stag lord kept some old man locked up. We decided to check this out, leaving our new ally Akiros to watch Falgrin Sneed. Before going down we decided to see which magical items were of use to us. Gorefang took the amulet of natural armour and I took the masterwork broadsword, for when we have to deal with more zombies later. Being the only one who might use such a thing, I also took the camp rogues rapier. Assessing the stag lord’s helmet Cal told me that it was blessed with divine magic, sacred to Erastil. As well as aiding the perception of the wearer it could be used to aid in any ranged attacks a few times a day, but only once by non-followers of Erastil. Although it looks terrible it is clearly more suited to me than to anyone else. Nobody wanted the gimp leather armour and Cal refuses to use the magic bow, which he considers to be beneath the dignity of a paladin.
Down in the dark chamber below we found a great deal of the stag lord’s plunder. A lot of it is too bulky to carry, but we took the chest full of gold and the bag of jewels. Whilst scouting the darkest areas Cal and Gore noticed a crazy looking old man crawling on the ceiling. When he was seen the old git turned into a wolverine. Aramil and I tried to reason with him, me in common and Aramil in a strange language I haven’t heard before. I suspect that it may be a secret druid tongue. The old man started chanting something. We were wary that he might be hostile, but I didn’t want to attack without provocation. This didn’t seem to be the sentiment of Gore or Cal, who jumped up swinging their weapons at the old man, but not reaching. A giant ant suddenly appeared beside myself and Aramil. Aramil and Lick immediately attacked it, whilst I shot the mad druid. I hadn’t realised when it happened but Lick had grown considerably during our time in the fort. He is now a fully grown, and even more formidable leopard. This is clearly some sort of druidic magic making him stronger. Gore may have briefly surpassed lick in terms of combat prowess, but the cat has now grown far more deadly than him. Gore enlarged himself and struck the druid wolverine whilst I shot him again, killing him. I’m still not used to the idea of Gorefang as some sort of spellcaster. I’m certain that this isn’t ranger magic, but I can’t understand what it is. Cal moved to support Aramil and with the aid of Lick, they easily killed the ant, which vanished about thirty seconds later.
Cal pointed out that the crazy old druid and the stag lord bore a distinct resemblance to each other. It wasn’t immediately apparent to me that this ragged, filthy, emaciated guy could look like the burly outlaw chief, but there is some resemblance. Could it be that the stag lord overthrew his father, imprisoning him here beneath his lair. It is perhaps a lesson to me, that a son struggling against his father is in danger of becoming like him. Returning to the surface we explored more, gathering all the valuables. At the back of the camp we found a long disused secret passage out of the fort. We decided to hide the heavier plunder there, so that no returning bandits would find it. We healed Ocks, so as the bring him around and had Akiros talk to him to calm him down. I then tried talking to him, to see if I could make him more friendly. He really is like a small child. Treating him kindly and joining in his games was enough to get him to be more friendly. He loves playing with toy knights and since I told him that we are knights on a knightly quest he seems to like me. The others seem not to have any interest in dealing with a simpleton. Gore lacks the patience, Cal probably considers it beneath him and as for Aramil; who knows. I don’t mind. He could become a useful ally.
After a good night’s rest we cleared the area of zombies. There were only another 4 lying in wait, which was a bit of a surprise. We then explored the area around the north bank of the Tuskwater. We didn’t find anything of interest and Akiros wasn’t very forthcoming with information about the area. The reason he gave for betraying the stag lord was simply because he didn’t want to be on the losing side. I’m trying not to let my feelings be known but I really don’t trust this man. Something tells me that treason is second nature to him and he may well be the most evil of all the stag lord’s band.
Travelling north we reached Sootscale’s tribe and had a chance to catch up with our old friend. The Kobolds seem quite friendly to us, but reluctant to let other strangers stay in their lair. I like these guys. I’m really glad we were able to form a peaceful settlement with them. I just hope whatever Rostlanders settle the area honour our agreement with them. We have decided to bring the stag lord to Nettles before returning to Oleg’s.
We reached Nettles’ crossing and ringing the bell we summoned the zombie Davik Nettles. We showed him the staglord and asked if he needed the whole body or if we could keep the head, so as to claim the bounty on it. Actually Cal said that it was so that others who had suffered from his evil could be put to rest. That was a little white lie, but that is not the sort of thing that a Paladin should do surely. Yet more reason to doubt that he is really a paladin, but if he wants to claim a more noble title than he deserves, who am I to care. He is still clearly a good, honourable man, even if he has fallen from grace. Nettles repeated that we should cast his body into the river, so we decapitated it and threw it into the river. Nettles gave a final ghostly sigh and sank into the water. A few seconds later a ranseur rose out of the water and drifted to the banks. None of us use polearms, but it is an interesting and useful weapon. Clearly this is Nettles’ reward to us for helping his soul gain rest. We then went north a bit, past the lone tree where we found the wizard’s stash, before camping.
Another uneventful and dry night followed and a quiet voyage back to Oleg’s. On the way I decided to ask our prisoner about Kesten Garess. I figure that out of spite he would be likely to spill any dirt he knew about Kesten. He admitted to his theft, as Kesten had told us, and also told an interesting tale. Apparently, Kesten had been cast out from his family for having a relationship with a common born weaver’s daughter. This was why Kesten was working in Restov as a mercenary. I had been wary of his motives before. An aristocrat from house Garess in Rostland might be an obstacle for whoever settles this area, but a man who put’s love before status is ok by me. I wonder what happened to his young lady.
We arrived shortly after midday and handed Falgrim Sneeg over to Kesten. Kesten was glad at having the traitor in his hands and took him away to vent his anger on him, both verbally and physically. We left him for a while before asking about the bounty. Gore asked for a composite bow with a 300lb draw weight, the very limit of the power which he could draw. Cal asked for a greatsword and since I have all the weapons I could need I asked for another powerful bow, for Cal to use on the occasions when he might need to. Aramil insisted that he didn’t need anything and so Kesten very generously offered to pay the cost for the double axe which Gore had just ordered back when we took out the bounty. It seems a bit unfair that Gorefang should get gold and a weapon, whilst Aramil gets nothing, but I guess that worldly belongings mean little to a druid. I really don’t get Aramil. Sometimes he seems like such a selfless idealist, whilst at others he is brutally pragmatic. I’m just glad we had him and Lick around for this quest. There is still no sign of Red Lotus. I wonder where she got to. Oleg had the darkwood shield which I had ordered as well as a note from Jhod saying that we would need a lot more labourers and a proper architect to restore the temple. I think he is having far grander ideas about what to do with the site than I did. I’ll probably return from Restov in a week or so and discuss this with him. I have decided to give Oleg an edited copy of the map, which he is no doubt going to sell to other visitors to the area. Although it is probably worth lots I see no reason to ask anything for it. I may never see him again but it is best to leave a favourable impression when departing an area.
Since we have mapped everywhere that we can, other than a small section beyond an unfordable river we are returning to restov with word of our findings. We should get there in another day. There was a bit of light rain today, but nothing worth worrying about.
Today our quest was completed, but it does seem now that our quest of the last few months was merely the prologue to a far greater undertaking. After arriving at Restov we made our way to the council hall of the swordlords. After waiting a while and explaining to some officials about why it would be a bad idea to leave Lick outside we were met by the same swordlord who gave us our initial charter. I believe he is the lord mayor, although his name escapes me at the moment. He was pleased by the map and by our success. I don’t think he was impressed by Cal ejaculating the stag lords decaying head onto the floor of the palatial building. He gave us a reward of 5000 gold pieces for the defeat of the stag lord. Even more importantly he also decided, based on our success in the area, to give us another charter. This one offered us the right to establish a new country in the Greenbelt, with the recognition and support of Restov. They are giving us supplies, specialists and a large number of colonists, whilst encouraging more to continue to join us. I still don’t feel like it is real but it seems as though I’ve stumbled into getting my own kingdom.
We spent most of the night celebrating (with the stag lord’s booze) and discussing plans for our fledgling kingdom. I don’t want to be a monarch, because it would be too much of a temptation. The others seem happy to establish an oligarchy, run by a council of equals. Or at least they were once Gore realised that an Oligarchy was not an Oleg-archy and that I did not want Oleg to be king. Since Oleg’s post has a lack of natural supplies we realised that the best location to establish a capital for our new country would be at Goreford. Gore definitely liked that idea, and is keen on keeping the name as it is. I then had a wonderful nice warm bath before finally going to sleep. Treasure!
Today was spent shopping. I never enjoyed shopping quite as much as this before. Cal knows the most about the price of gems and jewellery, so we let him haggle with merchants about the value of our assorted treasures. The total value of all our goods, including the magic items, was more again than the bounty on the stag lord. I then set out to convert it into something more portable. My first purchase was a magic quiver. I had hoped to have a quiver of infinite arrows, but the closest any enchanters can make is one which holds 60, but also holds several bows or spears. Since business had been slow he was able to get to work on it right away. One of the enchanters also had an enchanted breastplate in stock., which I bought for myself. I asked him how much it would cost to have a ring of swimming made for myself. Apparently they cost 2500 gold! With that price in mind I persuaded another enchanter to trade my ring in exchange for him enchanting my bow. Since it would only cost him 1000 gold, which is less than half the cost of the ring, and because I have become quite good at reasoned argument, he agreed to do the work for me. It’s nice that this bow which I set out with will continue to be my greatest treasure. Hopefully it will serve me well throughout the forging of our new nation.