18th-20th of Ivenmirr, 6078 AR.
* I found Jared rummaging through my journal the other day, trying to edit parts. I have to be more careful about what I write in here, and remember not to leave it out where he can find it.
* With our new companions, Guss and I decided to sleep for the night before continuing to our destination. That night we suffered some pretty heavy dreams involving Gods, babies and skewed perspectives involving staircases moving behind ears. It was a fairly intense experience and when I woke I was drenched with sweat. Suffice it to say, I was tired and not in the greatest of moods.
* In exchange for a favour down the road, I offered to take Lady Katherine Laddermore, Nesteruk Scheppen, Onandi the Dreamweaver, and Jared to their desired target. They accepted, although Jared was very reluctant to promise to any open-ended requests. I assured him I would ask for nothing more than an equivalent task in the future. I would have asked for currency but at this rate, they’re all pretty much broke, and I really wasn’t in the mood to try and stop them from following me.
* As we traveled through the Wildlands back to the roads we came across a group of Orcs standing alone hunched around some frozen carcass. Laddermore’s first inclination was to charge them in a frontal assault. While I respect her martial capabilities I expressed to this noble leader that was not our responsibility to cleanse the wilds of every beast we come across. The simple truth, is that I prefer to avoid unnecessary fights as much as possible, as I enjoy living and would not want to shorten the experience unnecessarily. I also didn’t like it. Several Orc tribes knew we were in the area, and it seemed just a little too convenient. Onandi shadow creature was able to inform us of the Orcs numbers, but after sending Jared ahead to scout, we learned that there was a large cave nearby. The last thing I need is an entire tribe of Orcs hunting us through the wilderness or springing a trap. So we prudently waited until they moved along, before advancing.
* On our return we came to our broken caravan. The scavenging had gotten so intense that two of the wagons had fallen over a precipice onto the rocks below. Jared and I seemed to be of like mind, and we decided to search for anything left behind. While we didn’t find any useful supplies, Guss’ cousin and fellow IronSmasher was found injured and sick, hidden and unconscious beneath one of the wagons. We were able to heal some of his basic injuries, but his illness made it impossible to revive him.
* Since we were on the way to meet Jezzell, the witch woman, we tied our sick comrade to the back of Laddermore’s horse. After meeting up with her, she revealed a govlin infestation in the area. The goblins in particular were covered in black ooze. More importantly, Paili, who was supposed to be here, ran off alone, into the forest filled with dangerous creatures. Jezzell had no idea why. While we would be able to track the girl, a cure for Ironsmasher required us to travel back into the forests. I was not a huge fan of the idea, but it made Guss happy and it was on the way.
* Laddermore and Jared volunteered to ride ahead to an old gnome mage tower that had rusted out. Apparently the rust would grow a certain type of mushroom which was required for the cure. Although I didn’t witness the specifics, Jared tells a pretty good story about how he tried to enter the tower and retrieve the mushrooms by stealth. Apparently the tower was occupied by several dozen wolves. The way he tells it, he was quite heroic, but seeing as how no one else saw him, I am somewhat suspicious. All Laddermore tells me is she saw Jared jump out of a second story window, fleeing from wolves. It would not surprise me if this was not the first time he was nearly caught, and had to retreat via window. Ultimately, they were unable to get the mushrooms, and met up with us as we tried to negotiate with some Goblins for a rare moss used in brewing their alcohol.
* The goblins were unresponsive to our negotiations, and rather suicidal as they ran back into the hands of some black slime covered orcs. Black slime is apparently the fashionable statement of the season, as the orcs began to sacrifice the goblins to a black slime pit. We tried to rally the goblins to defend themselves, but they couldn’t be talked out of the much more tempting suicide in front of them. It was only a matter of time until all of the Goblins were sacrificed, turning them into the infected black slime creatures that they became. These creatures were extremely tough, and if it wasn’t for a door they chose to leave closed, we wouldn’t have been able to defeat them so easily. Apparently their overwhelming urge for suicide couldn’t be slimed out of them. In numbers we wouldn’t have stood a chance. I can take faith that not all goblins are this stupid, as Scabs have proven himself on more than one occasion.
* We found the rest of the goblin tribe jailed in one of their own cells. So we ransacked the place and took the moss we needed before releasing the goblins. Inside the cell was also a huddled mass that looked like a human. Jared wagered it was the girl we were looking for. The odds of this seemed so remote I had to take the wager, for 15 marks. I mean, of all the forest, what would the odds be that the girl we were searching for would be here, in this remote cave, captured by suicidal idiotic goblins who also got themselves trapped in their own cells. I mean, it would be way too convenient. Unrealistically convenient. Apparently the gods like a simple narrative, and I lost my 15 marks.
* We found Paili and she was heavily pregnant, where she wasn’t pregnant a week ago. Apparently from what we had discussed with Jezzel, we had all shared an identical dream regarding gods, birth and forced, unprofitable responsibility. Three things I have no caring for. Onandi saw this as a brilliant sign. I saw this as inconvenient, for I suspect her father did not intend us to get her pregnant while taking her through the mountains. God babies or no. We decided to take her back to Jezzel before pursuing the mushrooms.
* Paili was foolish and reckless for running into the forest alone and away from comfortable safety. She was doubly so, because she claimed she became pregnant voluntarily, after some divine orgasm she experienced from having her vision. Seemed to have made her wet for this new god. So I slapped her. I mean what irresponsible mother, runs off into the dangerous wilderness to become pregnant and have a child. I would have claimed it was the god being irresponsible and sending her into pointless danger away from a woman who has experience birthing children, if not for the events to follow.
* So Onandi attacked me with his shadow creature. I had no weapons drawn, and the shadow creature grappled me. I ordered Guss to attack Onandi, and always loyal he did so without hesitation. I am only lucky I managed to remind Guss not to kill him. So he simply knocked him out, dispelling the shadow creature and releasing me from my bondage.
* This is why I hate the gods: the divine had no problems telling an underaged girl to run off into the forest and get pregnant with no protection from wild creatures. The unborn baby brought down a lightning bolt which only SUBDUED
Guss. It seems our rescue was entirely unnecessary as the baby could have easily managed to escape on its own. I can’t pull down lightning bolts, so this thing is much more powerful than I am. So it seems the divine wanted her to be in a cell surrounded by goblins and orcs, where suicide and sacrifice appear to be a common theme. Maybe that was the whole point. Sacrifice the woman to the goo, oh but it gets better. I learned something very valuable about godly intervention.
* It seems the baby is capable of making complex and moral judgements with no socialization. If it had lashed out at Jared, or maybe Katherine’s horse I might have understood as being a random attack induced by stress. If it was instinctual and it felt threatened, it would have attacked me, as I was the one who smacked it’s mother, but NO, it attacked Guss, thus eliminating the tension within our little party. I mean I was the one wearing a LOT
of metal and ranting that the gods were idiots but no it attacked the dwarf. No less it attacked the dwarf with a lightning bolt, that only knocked him unconscious. He was injured in no way. Hence the baby made a complex moral decision. So it seems the gods are dicks, and our services are unnecessary, but he does like orc infested dungeon cells.
* So we went back to Jezzel’s. Apparently the baby was to be born the next morning and Ironsmasher didn’t have long to live. Onandi claimed this was all destined to be.I mentioned that this could all just be a mildly skilled wizard. He did not agree. I claimed that since this was all destined to be, we could really use his help obtaining the rest of the cure. I suspect he doesn’t agree with destiny 100% as he refused to help us save the dying dwarf. Nesteruk seemed no better and had no interest in helping us in our task as he was tired.
* The rest of us managed to clear out the old Gnome Mage tower. aI was able to negotiate with the wolf leader after we slaughtered more than half his pack and we secured the needed mushrooms. Jared was able to skin the twenty wolves we killed, giving us some profit from the endeavor. While his skill was adept, I was more impressed/suspicious by the fact he performed eight hours of the gory business without complaint or distraction. Given the time the half-elf needed, Laddermore returned to Jezzel with the mushrooms and we camped at the tower that night. By the point we returned the next morning, the baby was born. From here we need to move to Gadrick’s Hollow, but in an effort to avoid the straight path, I’m going to take the group in a roundabout way for their own safety, once I get Laddermore’s permission. Guss recovered without difficulty.
* Personal note: Remember to get Jared’s last name for future journal entries.
“Thorns and Roses”