THE CIRCLE OF LIGHT

INTO SKYTHA

The Writings of Gron – Obsidimen Horror Stalker

27th of Charassa:

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After spending one last night in Cethin we plan to set off for the Skytha Mountains where the Dwarven nation’s empire began before the onslaught of the horrors. Our search for the place where Valus Rarg was said to have come from will hopefully lead us to this magical axe that has been mentioned in the translated text. I fear that what we will find will not be an empty, unprotected Kear as this mountainous region is well known to harbour a large and varied number of horrors. A whole Dwarven nation was forced to evacuate this region many years before the scourge and this was a time when the presence of horrors was few and far between. Even now the lands of Barsaive are hardly safe and many horrors still roam the lands freely and undisturbed. Thus I am convinced upon arriving at Skytha Mountains we will be challenged in a way that we can only imagine. Our previous encounters with horrors will be comparable to defeating a rat to what I believe we will be up against in those tainted mountains.

That very morning, as informed the previous day, a caravan arrived that was heading in our direction up towards the Serpent River, a five day walk, which will leave us with one days walk to the foot of Skytha Mountains. After introducing ourselves to a battle harden T’skrang Swordmaster called Vistmol Lesh of “House Ishkerat” and ensuring him of our abilities he hired us to protect his caravan train of 10, along with another 10 assorted guards comprising of Human and Dwarf. After assisting with the unpacking and packing of the wagons we were once again on our way in to the unknown as no one in our group had been this way before. This time however our journey was shared with a large band of armed guards for company.

30th of Charassa:

Two days of travelling went by without event and then on the third night during the last watch I was awakened to the noise of a band of Ork Scorchers intent on relieving us of our goods. Do this heathens not even scout out there potential foes as they made a huge mistake that night. A small party by all accounts of 15 Ork Scorchers against The Circle of Light, 10 armed guards and Vistmol, they obviously couldn’t count.

After a very short battle all of the Orks’ were slain bar one, who managed to get away, albeit very injured and running of in to the distance whilst on fire. Why the faster members of our group didn’t hunt him down I no not, even though I advised this would be wise as he might be bringing back reinforcements. However; the light of the day would soon be upon us and so we would be off to our final destinations on the Serpent River.

2nd of Rua:

On the sixth day we arrived on schedule at our destination arriving at the top of a hill and looking out over to the Serpent River was an awe inspiring sight to behold. In the distance we could see the vast expanse of the Serpent River, on the near bank was a small harbour surrounded by a damaged fence, on the far side of the river we could just make out a large fortified town, smoke drifting in to the air hinting at a hive of activity, of which I wasn’t overly looking forward to. On the river heading towards the small harbour was a huge river boat which met us as we walked down to the harbour.

After unpacking all of the wagons on to the boat, we embarked and took the slow journey across the river to “Serpents Cove” as we learnt was its name. As we drew closer we could see that this town was heavily fortified, surrounded by thick stone walls all with magical runes upon them and four huge fire cannons pointing out over the harbour, which would be able to repel all but the most committed onslaught.

At the harbour, just as I feared it, was crowded with many a name giver bussing themselves around with one thing or another, many started reliving the ship of its cargo as we assisted. Once everything had been stowed away on the harbour Vistmol thanked us for our help, paid us our does and pointed us in the direction of an Inn where we could stay awhile.

We set of for this recommended Inn through the hustle and bustle of the town passing many varied name givers. I being extra vigilant, in what look like to me a riotous and unruly town. Approaching the Inn we saw its name painted upon a black sign “The Serpents Poison” and even before we got within 20 yards you could hear a cacophony of noise emanating from within. Laughter, shouting, singing and women cackling away at no doubt some unruly customers boring remark to fain interest and gain silver or two for their affections.

As we walked I noticed many a Troll strolling through the streets and inside the Inn it was no different. Although I would have rather have engaged them immediately in combat I managed to still my hatred not wanting my friends to get involved. I may have curbed my aggression in to not starting a fight but I was sure hoping one of them would give me an excuse to bash there thick skulls in.

Apart from finding out about local amenities, the night went by fairly uneventfully. T’skrang being there boisterous selves and boasting about how they had managed to take on a whole band of Ork Scorchers with one hand tied behind their back and only a walking stick to defend themselves. The Trolls, fortunately for them, seemed to keep to themselves taking up one corner of the room. I did notice Elora and Karaath trying their best to charm some young ladies, what success either of them had I neither know nor want to know, the sexual desires of other name givers has always confused me.

3rd of Rua:

After a restless night in the Inn, restless because the merriment below barley quietened until the light of day and just as I thought I’d get some rest the day’s business outside started with the clatter of wagons, shouting and clanking of stalls being setup.

After a hearty breakfast we all proceeded to stock up for our quest in to the Skytha Mountains, walking out of the Inn into a glorious warm sunny day. Our first stop was at Arcane Cove, presided over by an elderly T’skrang named Ikenus Riversong. Karaath seemed to want to examine everything in the shop using his own skills rather than just asking the proprietor. Whilst the rest of us browsed and asked what items he had to sell that would help us in our quest. Upon hearing we were going to the Skytha Mountains, I’m sure he rubbed his hands in glee knowing he had some customers willing to spend coin.

Looking at a few items I was very interested in purchasing a Desperate Blow charm, Elora and Rastin were very encouraging for me to buy it also, but after consideration I decided it would be better to get my axe forged on our next errand to the weapon smith. Not wanting to spend the group’s kitty solely on myself. Others bought various items using the kitty money to good use, but Karaath purchased a rather expensive item from his own purse. At which point Kaerless seemed to become suspicious and asked “where have you got all that money from?” Karaath reply of “I come from rich heritage” seemed to be acceptable to Kaerless.

Not getting any information from Ikenus Riversong about the symbol we had found or anything on “Engia” or Valus Rarg we proceed on towards the weapon smith’s. At first sight the forge looked rather run down and shabby and as we approached a Dwarf introduced himself as Segok Cavis but apart from him being able to forge my axe he was unable to give us any other information.

The rest of the day was spent idly wandering around and the thought of spending another night at The Serpents Poison didn’t really improve my mood. That night a Troll had the audacity to ask me a question regarding a missing money pouch and then proved his worthlessness after receiving a very curt response from myself and just moved on to annoy others in the Inn. I should have knocked him out as his question was almost an accusation that I had stole it, but I managed to curb my desire once again.

Later that evening Elora and Rastin seemed to be really enjoying themselves drinking and smoking a strange smelling weed, they did offer me a smoke but I thought better of it, I really don’t understand why they smoke, what use can something that’s burnt have?

4th of Rua:

After another restless night and after collecting my newly forged axe we set of towards the Skytha Mountains. Both Elora and Rastin seemed rather rested and after asking them how they managed to sleep with so much noise, they remarked, “What noise, you should have some of this weed next time, that’ll help you sleep.” To which I thought interesting, how does burning and inhaling a weed help you sleep, I suppose the only way to find out is to give it a try, it doesn’t seem to do them any harm.

Setting off northwards with much trepidation of what we might find upon reaching the Skytha Mountains, for me I’m looking forward to being in the mountains again, it’s been many months since I was even close to any mountains and where I desire to be.

6th of Rua:

After an uneventful 3 days travel we arrived at the mountains. We did encounter a solitary corpse on our second day, a very decayed dwarf, with rotten equipment but a few silver pieces for our kitty. I was expecting it to be a trap, but that didn’t materialise, probably an unfortunate adventure of which many people in Serpents Cove spoke off. Many brave adepts have travelled to the Skytha Mountains but only a few return, if any, is what everyone said to us when we told them off our intentions.

Arriving at the mountains just before night fall we spotted a track leading in to the mountains that was, barley used. After a short discussion, for once, we decided to scout the track and find a safer place to camp rather than stay at the foot of the mountains and be exposed to who knows what during the night. This plan appeared to have paid dividends as the night passed uneventfully.

7th of Rua:

Skytha mountain passFeeling so much more refreshed after spending the night in the open air of the mountains, thinking this is where I was born to be, not in an Inn full of noisy merry makers who have little care in the world or of others except their own happiness. We continued along the trail for a few hours only to be blocked by a ravine of which the bottom could barely be seen. A bridge must have been here a long time ago but no remains of it could now be seen.

Looking around for a way to cross we could see on the other side of the ravine was a large old tree, which if we could topple would aid our crossing. Fortunately we had plenty of rope and chain for Jace to fly over and rap it round the tree. Once the rope had been attached all of us with all our might proceeded to pull. At first the tree didn’t budge one bit and I thought it probably wasn’t as old as it looked and no amount of pulling would topple it to our favour.

Continuing to pull the tree started to give and after a few more pulls and with a loud cracking the tree began to fall across the ravine and now provided an excellent bridge to get to the other side. Carefully we crossed using the rope to secure each of us so as to avoid mishaps, which turned out to be a wide move.

As Karaath started cautiously to cross, he slipped of the tree and fell in to the ravine, I was holding on to the rope and with a moments loss of concentration I slipped and started to be pulled to the edge of the ravine. The rest of the group were now on the other side so couldn’t help. Fearing for Karaath life I started to dig my feet in with all my might and just managed at the very last moment to gain purchase. Fortunately apart from a little loss of pride on my part I managed to haul Karaath back to the top of the ravine.

Now only I was left to cross, asking the others to secure the rope to a rock, as I didn’t think even all of them together would have been able to hold on to the rope should I slip. Fortunately but with some trepidation I managed to get across without incident. To think of all the horrors we have killed thus far and survived, two of us could have died here today, with what should have been a simple crossing.

8th of Rua:

After another uneventful night camping we set of again along the track leading onwards further up and into the mountains. Eventually we came to the end of the path blocked by rocks, scrambling up the sides we could see a large circular area in which hundreds of large termites were wandering around four large termite mounds. I identified these creatures as Greater Termites which have a nasty Acid Spray that goes straight through any armour. At the far side of this area there was an entrance into the mountains, which is obviously where we needed to go, but to get there we had to get passed these termites first.

Greater termite
We started to plan our attack with intricate detail, as although a few of these creatures are no match for any of us, there were hundreds wandering around on the surface and probably hundreds more in the mounds themselves which would easily over run us. What we eventually came up with was rather detailed. Firstly Elora had bought some poison form the Arcane shop in Serpents Cove, which we mixed with a days’ worth of trail rations and planned to throw this on the east side whilst we waiting on the west side for them to eat it and take it into their mounds.

Termite lair

After an hour or so we started seeing many termites starting to keel over as the poison was taking affect. At this point Jace flew over the two nearest mounds and covered them in oil, as Rastin readied the group with his protective spells and cast Flaming weapon on Elora arrows and my axe. Then Elora fired her arrow and the two mounds became engulfed in flame as these two mounds where the furthest from where the poison was spread quite a few termites started scrambling out of the mounds.

At this point Rastin cast another spell on the side of the incline towards us, this was a wall of ice, and stopped the termites over powering us as they found it very difficult to get to the top and attack us, the few that did manage the feat were quickly dispatched with little effort.

Waiting a while longer as the fire burned out on the two mounds, there appeared to be no more termites around to bother our approach towards the entrance in to the mountains.

Scanning the narrow entrance nothing untoward was detected; walking through the long narrow tunnel that seemed never ending we suddenly see a faint light at the end of the tunnel. Taking the last few steps towards the end of the tunnel we find ourselves standing before a single bridge leading over a chasm and on the other side of that chasm is what looks like the entrance to an ancient Dwarf stronghold

As we stare at this grandiose sight we can but imagine what the fortress would have looked like all those years ago and can imagine lights, great banners, flags and hundreds of heavily armed Dwarves. However; these thoughts are fleeting as all that is before us now is the dust and boulders of a long abandoned stronghold, now only dust, broken walls and overgrown mountain plants.

Looking over the bridge towards the stronghold we also noticed several archers’ towers with several bigger towers behind them that are on either side of the massive doorway. However as we stare we also noticed countless more termite tracks in the dust leading over the bridge.

Unknown fortification

Now we need to start planning again as we have no more poison and only one flask of oil left. Why have we retrained over 1200 silver pieces in our kitty when we should have stocked up more on as many of these consumables as we could comfortably carry?

- Gron: Obsidiman Horror Stalker

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