|Short battle, long thoughts|
This morning, as we were preparing breakfast, we all noticed in Dolartu a very distinct change. Changes, perhaps, would be a more apt term, for he had apparently undergone several. The occasional shimmer I'd seen in his skin had become much more noticeable. His hair had also fallen out, to be replaced by horned ridges on the back of his head. He had also grown nub-like whiskers on his face, claws on his hands, and rather large fangs. Though most of the rest of our companions were quite shocked at this, and I knew I should have been as well, I found myself strangely unmoved. It was almost as though I could not keep my mind on it long enough to do more than notice the changes, and register a little bit of lore I had upon the subject.
I find myself rather taken aback. As we made our way down towards the nearest village, named Huld by our newly acquired human ranger, we came upon the tracks of several large creatures. Anwar proclaimed them to be bugbears and giants, which certainly seemed odd. I'd never known bugbears and giants, not to mention multiple kinds of giants, to work together. As they were headed directly for the town, we increased our pace, to close the distance with them and render what help we could. Altaire was gracious enough to provide Dolartu and Arilyn with the temporary ability to move quicker than normal, our new ranger was also able to impart this ability onto herself, and Jacques--Jacques, being Jacques, had no difficulty in keeping up. This left me out in the cold, if you'll pardon the pun. I was forced to wear myself into the ground to keep up, having no recourse. We were, however, too late to help the town. Though they had succeeded in fending off the raid, several hill giants had alighted with much of the town's monetary wealth, and they stood in our path. They were dispatched with little trouble, and yet the battle greatly upset me. I found that, in contrast to earlier days in our journey, I had done little to help. My pride in my martial abilities, I am shamed to admit, has been severely damaged in our last few skirmishes. I know that Jacques is my better in combat; that was proven during the Tournament of Blades. But to see that smug, dirty street rat Arilyn outshine me here is a meal that I simply cannot stomach. More than that, though, I am forced to wonder what I am contributing to the party. It seems more that I am hindering them, rather than aiding them, in our search.
We subsequently entered the village and set about helping in whatever ways we could. Though it was a village of humans, and exceptionally savage-seeming ones at that, I found theirs to be quite a pleasant little gathering, for all their rustic ways. They accorded honor to those who fought well, indeed a people of warriors. More than that, they honored also those who were healers, and although they were somewhat distrustful of outsiders, once we took to helping, they accepted us readily enough. Surely more personable and honorable humans I have not yet met, save my...friend, Jacques, and perhaps our ranger companion, though she seems most gruff and acerbic.
Much happened during our stay in the town. Aringil finally came upon a replacement for his spellbook, and I must confess to being overjoyed at this news. I know how it must have hurt him to be hampered so, especially since it was only the sheerest of luck that the same did not happen to me. To be sure, we stayed up long into the nights copying and rewriting his spells into his new book. There was a feast held in honor of the town's chieftain, who had fallen in battle. There was much revelry, though I took only enough part in it to be courteous and grateful towards their hospitality. Seeing the somber face of Bjorn, the chief's son, brought back with hammerblow force the strange disappearance of my own family. I can only hope that they are safe, wherever they may be, and that this quest had no part in their disappearance. Dolartu, it seemed, found a new companion in the person of Freya, about whom I know little more than the name. I will say no more on that subject, for that belongs solely to Dolartu.
The morning after the feast, we heard of another nearby town that was soon to be put under the fist of a bugbear/giant raiding party. We instantly prepared to be on our way, with the warriors of this village, to assist. Thankfully, the villagers provided me with a horse to ease my burden on this march. However, I think I have another agenda in mind. My current lack of contribution, coupled with my clouded mind, have left me with the need to not only find my place amongst my fellows, but to find my place in my own mind. I can't say what I intend to find, but I know it lies along another path, for the moment, than my compatriots. I know I am deserting them in an hour of their need, and with the crystal no less, and for that I can only apologize in my heart. I hope they will understand.
|Associated Regions: Argusund|
|From the journal of Islan Diemyn|
Contributor: Chris Schuettpelz