Undecided Thule

Black Book Journal III

I was wrong. Death and Undeath haunt this caravan. It will be a sleepless night defending the town from those who have been wakened from the dream that is death.

Trinkets have betrayed the town leader found hidden in boxes, but could it be Zolor who has brought the plague of living death with him to this town. It was only savage men before the caravan. Perhaps the savage man who walks among us is the necromancer himself. I know now that he walks the path of the magi, but I still do not trust him. Should I tell the others of his secret? Will he tell the others first of my powers?

I feel ashamed I have stolen a pillow from the guild hall, but I will enjoy the sleep it shall bring me. Tonight may be my last, for tomorrow we raid the cemetery in search of clues to this Undeath.

A New Threat

After briefly interrogating the captured beastman, Zolor turned him over to the Dhari hunters. Aklaq asks the questions, Kakortok seems happy to apply persuasion, and Onartok just sits and feeds bites of fresh red meat to her tiger.

Hearing a disturbance from the east wall, Jenetta goes to check it out. She finds both guards and freemen on the wall, shooting arrows at humanoid shapes coming out of the darkness. Jenetta drops a rope over the wall and climbs down to examine the bodies of their foes. What she finds chills her blood like ice; the cursed settlement is besieged by the walking dead! She quickly scampers back up the rope as more zombies trudge into the radius of light thrown by the torches.

Word of their undead foe races through the settlement like brushfire. Even those who were able to stand firm against human foes start to quail when they learn that the foes are already dead. This provokes an all-out revolt in the slave quarters, and the post’s defenders must now split their attention between enemies both within and without the walls.

Jorik Bejko, the Guild’s second-in-command in Majanele, leads the forces against the slaves with brutal efficiency. Jenetta, meanwhile, tries instead to calm down the revolt by pacifying the leaders.

While this chaos is distracting the Guild leadership, Anotisa and Valan decide to break into the Guildhouse to look for evidence of the traitor. After Anotisa fails to convince the lone guard to let them pass, Valan slits the guard’s throat. They first check the basement, and find packages marked as wool for shipment to Katagia that have artifacts hidden within, both savage fetishes and what appear to be Atlantean objects. From there, they head to Darek’s chambers. Anotisa steals a pillow, and Valan finds what appears to be a voodoo doll resembling Zolor.

Jenetta climbs down the eastern wall again, and finds a slave brand on one of the dead zombies. She climbs back up with this clue to the source of the plague.

The party reunites and goes to the shrine of Asura next to the Guildhouse. They find the shrine to be in poor condition, with threadbare tapestries and brass fixtures where they would expect gold. The priest is missing, but they find a volume sacred to Tiamat on the bookshelf of his humble room.

After the slave revolt is quieted, they take their clues to Zolor. He explains that the priest, Pelionian Krizi, has been in the slave quarter tending to the wounded. He also tells the party that the graveyard for the slaves and free workers is a few miles to the east. He seems most bothered by the voodoo doll, and swears that Darek will answer for that.

Black Book Journal II
Entry II

Gloom and death haunt this caravan. The ground is red with the blood of the fallen. The vultures stir memories of lifeless warriors that littered unnamed battlefields. Their faces still linger in the back of my mind. A peaceful horror. Yet, like the wild man before, another soul survived where one should not. A man of the far North. Death does not take those men so easily. Suffering is a way of life for those far realms. Yet, I do not take ease in knowing he lived through such butchery.

The broken body of the North Man was restored with aid from the Dwarf. Ah, the Dwarf. I may have judged too quickly on “its” profession. I know not whether it is man or of the fairer race, nor does it truly matter. It is only a dwarf and the minstrel may not have yet shown its true colors.

Like the blessed Black Book in times before, a gift from a mage. His robes will do me service, though it strange to see his cold, sallow skin stained with the putrid mud. A green blade and a nameless salve are added as well. I’m sure as the caravan took its leave the tearing of flesh ensued from the black feathered beasts that had lingered overhead.

The town brought no more comfort than the trail before. The townsfolk are set on edge from constant waves of beastmen crashing against the village. Hired hunters have done little to stem the tide through no fault of their own. As the caravan rests within the tavern, I will choose a more reclusive site to rest. Beloved Kirmizi gave warmth where none is to be found, body and soul alike.


Our ambush was met with fierce foes, yet we sang of victory. Our ill fated sheep scattered to the four winds. I dare say I have not shown my nature to the fellow adventures, yet my heart yearns for me to do more. Can I risk letting them know? Has this world turned my fear of death into a crazed paranoia? The wild man, Valan, has magic much the same as I, and that fills me with more dread. I must confront him soon, lest my fears consume me.

The inquiry of the captured wild man unsettled me. I have seen this before, but he is not an innocent. Will my past ever fade from my memories?

Arrival at Majanele

The caravan continues on toward Majanele, but the beastmen encounters have taken there toll, on the emotions of the caravan and also seemingly on the weather itself. The wind shifts; a cold breeze starts blowing from the north and the sky is overcast and grey.

A few days travel have passed uneventfully when Zolor’s chief scout returns with reports that something has attracted the attention of a huge flock of carrion birds a few miles ahead. Jenetta, Sigrath, Anotisa, and Valan scout ahead to check it out while Zolor brings in the rest of his mercenaries to protect the caravan.

The scouts find the scene of another massacre. There were numerous beastmen as well as a black-robed man and several humans who appeared to be mercenary guards. In addition to wounds from bronze blades, stone weapons, and some form of possibly magical fire, several combatants on both sides were apparently brutally bludgeoned to death.

Not everyone was dead, though. Seeing a dead vulture, Jenetta notices that one of the mercenaries still breathed. She has Sigrath heal him enough to question him, and he claims to be a Nimothian mercenary named Vlthor. He was hired by a wizard of Thran’s Black Circle to act as a bodyguard on an expedition, but they were attacked by beastmen. They fought back with blade and the wizard’s magic, but he apparently was hurt and could not remember the rest of the fight. The scouts take a few weapons from the dead, along with a handful of coins, and wait for Zolor to arrive.

Zolor leads his caravan to the battle site and allows the newly-unemployed Vlthor to accompany them to Majanele. The mood is even more tense the remaining trip; everyone sees beastmen behind every bush, but the caravan manages to safely arrive at the trading post.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Majanele more resembles a fortress than a normal marketplace. It is surrounded by a high octagonal palisade of logs, with eight towers marking the corners. Outside the walls are fields and pastures, but no one seems to be working the crops and the herds are guarded by armed men. Nearer to the walls are burned-out ruins, with charred wood and occasional stone chimneys marking where men once lived. The shepherds claim that no one will go into the forests because of beastman attacks, and that they need to protect the flocks from wolves. When Jenetta tried to question them further, they just refer her to the “boss” in Majanele.

They find the trading post itself to be an armed camp. The guards at the wall admit Zolor and the caravan, but hostile eyes stare at them as they make their way inside (except for a fan of the Bride of Tarhun who recognizes her). Zolor leads them to the guildhouse and they meet the man the guild left in charge of the post, Darek Earo. While surprised to see the caravan, Darek explains that the post has been plagued by beastman attacks and that the workers are refusing to go into the woods.

The mercenaries go to the guild tavern to find relax while Zolor and Darek remain in the guildhall to review the post’s books. In the tavern (between arm wrestling matches), they decide they want to capture a beastman alive for interrogation. They learn that there is a trio of Dhari hunters who have been hired to cull the local beastmen, and set out to talk to the hunters, finding them in the small shanty they share near the town wall.

The hunters’ leader, Aklaq, hesitantly invites them in around the fire, while the other two hunters, Kakortok and Onartok watch silently from the shadows. After warming up to the party, Aklaq shares that he suspects that the beastmen are being fed information from within Majanele, and mentions that their best hunt was a day that they went the opposite direction from the guildhall’s orders. He suggests that if the company wants to capture a live beastman, that they should set a trap in one of the meadows, pretending to graze a flock of sheep. He says that his hunting ground the next day will be west of Majanele, so he suggests that the trap should be set to the east.

The next morning, the company gathers about twenty sheep and takes them west, before cutting back to an eastern pasture. As expected, a group of wolves and beastmen attack; the fight is bitter and somewhat desperate, but through the use of enlargement magic the beastmen are defeated, and one, a young brave, is taken alive, though nearly all of the sheep are lost.

The captive, while initially not responsive, is persuaded to answer a few questions. He does acknowledge that his tribesmen seem to be receiving orders from somewhere else, though he does not know from whence they come.

Sig's Journal:
Back on Solid Ground
Day 1 -

I’m finally off that blasted boat and got my feet on actually earth again. Months aboard the Rulac Moore did nothing but knot up my stomach. I’m ingratiated to Captain Kreel for the hospitality, but I earned my keep. With a few coins in my pocket I headed into town to resupply. I was able to sell the iron chains for a hefty sum – these filthy lowlanders treat common iron like it’s their mother’s milk. I was able to grab a passable blade (bronze ick) some armor and a battered shield. I considered staying in the city for a while. Perhaps getting work in the smithy. But..the dreams…the dreams call me north. I’ll check and see if any caravans are heading out of town in the morning.

Day 2. Found a caravan. Heading north to investigate some missing goods or somesuch. Seems like a good way to make some scratch and hopefully get the lay of the land. There’s a large female warrior with a finely worked blade. She fights well, and could be a worthy ally….or a dangerous enemy. If she becomes a problem…well she’ll have to sleep sometime. And I could use a new sword.

Black Book Journal
Entry I

I commit this ink to paper in the hopes to remember that cruelty can find sanctuary in the most unlikely of places. I have been blessed by escaping the grasp of Calder again. Of all places how could he be here, the rat! Forced to abandon my cart and to use the powers that flow through my veins to lose his loyal brutes. I have escaped the flames that Calder wishes to cast me upon.

Luck stays in my favor for I have found a caravan taking on various adventurers. It was not an easy sell to gain a place. Whether they know it or not, my knowledge will be invaluable as the trail wears on and the light grows short. Kirmizi, my beloved, saved us all from an ambush of savage men.

Bane races through me to use these unnatural powers. Gift or burden, I am sure they spared a life during the battle against the savages. I pray the warrior woman stays unaware of who brought her aid. The minstrel can hold his own, but I am still weary of the old savage man we found at the deserted campsite. He has an air of misfortune that follows him; serpents can never bring luck.

I do not know of whom I can trust with my true self, for I dream of the flames caress. For now I keep silent, and keep my distance from those closest to me. I thank thee, Blessed Book, for the knowledge that has saved me time and time again and the strength you give me to continue.

The Adventure Begins
"Happiness is Katagia in my rearview mirror"

It’s just another day in Katagia. The market square is bustling, gladiators are fighting in the arenas, and ships are docking in the harbor.

The next gladiator match pits The Bride of Tarhun, a popular female fighter, against the Northern White Shark, a mountain of a Nimothian who fights with trident and net. The Shark scores an early hit and entangles the Bride in his net, but she keeps fighting, ignoring the net. The Shark drops the net’s rope to focus on using his trident, but it doesn’t matter: she hits him once, then cuts herself free from the net to hit him again, then finishes him off with another strike. He is dragged out of the pit to the healers, while the Bride gets to walk off the field and meet her cheering fans in the via gloriae.

Meanwhile, Anotisa is selling herbs as usual in the marketplace. She sees a procession of Asuran priests winding their way through the marketplace. This is not unusual, but one of the priests is staring at her; with a start, she realizes that he is Calder Chalakon, the priest who led the witch hunt in her home town of Garrit, and the man who sentenced her to burn at the stake. She dashes back into an alley, abandoning her cart, but Calder sends the temple guards to chase her. She ducks through a tavern, tossing a handful of noxious herbs into the fire to distract pursuers. She proceeds to lead the guards on a wild chase through the town, ducking down alleys and over walls, until she finally runs into a baker carrying a batch of bread to the arena. She offers to help, and evades the guards while carrying an armload of bread.

The Bride is accosted by Juma Abasi, her cousin, as she exits the arena. He accuses her of abandoning her responsibilities to the family and disgracing their name with her gladiatorial antics. Insulted, she draws her weapon, still blunted for the battle with the Shark, and attacks. Her fans go wild, thinking that this was a part of the entertainment. Juma tries to beat her, but she blocks every attack while striking back with bloody precision. Finally, she pulls her last strike just before it slashes his throat. He threatens that he will be back after he informs her family of her whereabouts, then scurries off to the jeers of the crowd.

Sigrun has arrived at Katagia after being picked up by a merchant ship. The captain gives her a small pouch of coins and tells her he’s heard that a fellow guildmate, Zolor, is looking for guards for a caravan to an inland trading post.

Jenetta, Sigrun, and Anotisa all independently end up a Zolor’s caravan looking for passage out of Katagia. Zolor hires them as guards and plans to leave at first light the next day.

Before she leaves Katagia, Sigrun decides to ask a priest of Zolor about her vision. She first meets Calder forcing the guards who lost Anotisa to scrub the temple courtyard. Calder doesn’t care about her vision, but after pocketing a donation to the temple, he leads Sigrun to the temple library and Brother Ezequiel. The monk listens to her vision; unfortunately, he doesn’t know that it portends, but he promises to study it and send her any information he can find.

The caravan leaves, and the first few days are uneventful. They pass the village of Bluehaven, then their scouts report smoke ahead. The caravan finds the remains of another trade caravan, apparently wiped out by beastmen. The only living man is a Dhari shaman named Valan, who claims that he came upon the bodies himself earlier that day. It appears that the beastmen took anything of value (including several slaves), and Zolor is uninclined to pursue them, as the tracks suggest that the raiding party consisted of forty or fifty warriors. He instead hurries the caravan on its way, not even pausing to bury the victims of the beastman brutality. Valan decides to accompany the caravan on their travels.

Despite posting extra guards, beastman scouts managed to sneak into the camp that night, killing two slaves and carrying two more away. Valan, Sigrun, Anotisa, and Jenetta follow the tracks and would have stumbled into an ambush if it weren’t for Anotisa’s fox scenting the beastmen. Anotisa enlarges Jenetta, while Valan guts one of the beastmen with the odd, serpent-shaped, dagger he carries. Jenetta and Sigrun manage to finish off the beastmen, and the party returns the stolen slaves to the caravan. The rest of the night passes uneventfully, if sleeplessly.

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