Dominions of Aereth

Julians Log - Oakhurst
Shopping.

It was an uneventful journey after the encounter with the clown, and I was glad for it. The terror of that we encounter will not soon leave me. But thanks to the piety of Aiden and the intervention of the mighty Madrah, we had managed to survive and learn a lesson.

We arrived in the walled town of Oakhurst a couple days later and we quickly found lodging and began a few days of rest and study. Well mostly study for me, the others seemed interested in wandering the town and engaging the locals. I took time out from my studies to negotiate a somewhat fair price for coin of the realm and haggle our valuables for 5 horses and gear, while buying a bit of gear for myself.

The Spellbook of Suto was filled with interesting magic incantations, mostly dealing with the art of transformation and alchemy. Some other things were in there along with notes on the dark ritual he sought to perform. I tore out the pages detailing the summoning of the demon and burned them after learning what information I could on the demon and ritual. "Know your enemy and know yourself" my master used to say.

Some time far too soon the group was accosted by a citizen looking to lure adventures into some dangerous mission. My companions were only too eager to accept. I feel that we still have a long way to go before we can adorn ourselves with the lofty title of adventures, but I will help if I can. So we set of for the chaotic outpost of Wildsgate. A barons family has fallen under a curse and wishes us to remove it.

Curses are tricky things. There is always a way to end it, but it is seldom easy, and a hereditary curse against a whole noble line will likely be impossible for us to stop. We may however be able to get the dying baron the tools he needs to end the curse, if he is willing to make the effort.

I picked up a few supplies I thought might be useful in the wilderness, and we got our horses and headed farther north to Wilds Gate.

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Julians log - Journey to Oakhurst
Long walk to the circus

Our time in Skulltop Hill was certainly exciting. Full of suspense and danger. The long periods in darkness I hadn't expected. Torches are quite smoky, perhaps I will reveal my tricks to the small group of people who ventured under the hill and faced the cave giant. Next time perhaps we can travel by magical light and save ourselves the choking on oily torch smoke.

Back in Dundraville there was quite the celebration, food and good times had by all. The menace and fear of the ogre was gone and we could get back to living. The day after was for recovery, the small farming and fishing town experienced a rare late morning and a day of grumbling and good humor. Dayle the inns tavern wench offered me a wonderful meal and a wink, I am not quite sure what that is about, I guess she is grateful we saved her from the ogre, understandable I suppose.

After all the goods had been returned to the townsfolk we still had a heavy burden of treasure to divide among our group. I sorted it all and in the end held the more valuable treasures that couldn't be split up. We took the scrap silver to the blacksmith and he was able to melt it down quickly and make a number of 50 and 100 coin weight bars which we divided in equal measure.

After consultation with the traveling peddler Jonas, we decided to head to Oakhurst, a larger town to th north. It was a week or more by foot but is seemed like the best place to get what we needed.

I felt it might be worth the time to travel to the capitol city of Archbridge, but my companions decided the quicker solution seemed best. Once Ruvaris had taken me to Archbridge. It had been many days travel and I stayed in a room most of the time studying while he was off doing wizard things. Some business with a secret order i came to suspect. I never found out the details, but I was loaded down with 'supplies' on the return trip. It certainly was a place filled with fantastic sights and sounds, and everyone talked about competition between some groups of warriors like it was a great sporting event.

But we would likely find there everything we needed in Oakhurst. Before we set out we were in need of traveling supplies. Last time I made any length of journey I had run out into the wilderness with nothing but my clothes and a few items I could quietly gather as I escaped. That journey nearly ended in my death. If it hadn't been for the fact I found Dundraville I would likely have died in the wilderness. This time we had money and time to prepare. 

Each of us was outfitted with a standard kit of traveling gear. I also got a tent, a shovel,  an axe and a dagger. I felt the pitchfork could be left behind. The gear was heavy but not as heavy as Ruvaris's 'supplies', it would be a long hard walk but a good one. And so outfitted and prepared we headed out in the afternoon a few days after returning from Skulltop. 

The first few days were uneventful. The sounds of the wild were new to many and some had never traveled long distance despite being comfortable in the wilderness. Most people never felt the need to venture more than a few days journey from their home in the entire span of their lives. On the 5th day we encountered 3 figures dressed all in black who ignored us. We gave them a wide berth. 

A couple days after that we saw a circus tent in the distance. Occasional one sees traveling carnivals even passing through sparsely inhabited lands. Perhaps they were stopping for a few days rest or became separated from a larger troop. We noticed animals and activity but as we approached that all seemed to disappear. Through highly suspicious I was intrigued and had to investigate.

I have a word of caution here … never investigate a strange out of place circus tent! Within we found a lone clown playing a pipe organ. A very creepy mutilated clown. We should have started running then but I felt perhaps he was an innocent victim caught in the same magical trap we had just wandered in to. Nope just a creepy ghost clown. We tried combat and divine smiting, but nothing affected the apparition. It was only by when Aiden called on the divine intervention of his god Madrah were we able to escape the clutches of its evil. But even though we got free of the tent, we ran until our hearts nearly gave out and our lungs forced us to run no more. And there we laid upon the grassy field and could not move until the dark came and we fell into slumber.

 

 

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Julians log - Skulltop Hill
Dangers in the Dark

I have claimed some of the writing implements and supplies of the sorcerer. I suppose I could use them to craft a log to keep track of the travels and trials of our little band and myself. 

When I got to the village of Dundraville, I hadn't expected to stay. But in the few days it took me to recover from my harrowing escape and my journey to the place I had gotten comfortable. With no plan and no master I wasn't sure what to do. THe work at the stable was a physical effort, but not nearly as much as I was used  to doing chores all day for Ruvaris, and there wasn't hours of study and practice tht had been expected of an apprentice on top of that. THe life of a peasant was hard work, but easy when you compared it to my life as an apprentice.

Nobody in the town knew what my past occupation was, and it was nobody had made the journey of a few days to where Ruvaris's keep lay. So I decided to lay low here and wait until those who had slaughtered my master and his servants were long gone. Sometimes the loss of everyone I knew and grew up with was too much, but I sleep in a hey loft and tears are absorbed quickly and never noticed. Some day I will find the architect and the tools of their end and deliver the destruction such foul deeds deserve.

Dundraville was a sleepy little farming and fishing village and it suited me well enough. I fell into the roll of stable hand and as fall turned to winter I kept warm. Eventually spring arrived and the village woke and got more busy. I helped out where I could, enjoying the simple life of a peasant. Occasional a cave giant wold make his presence known in town and demand a tribute be paid or he would destroy the town. Though the town was small and had militia to stand against the beast they likely could have defeated it, but losses would be high in such an encounter. So they had gotten used to the creature and paid it what it asked and it would leave for a time.

I heard that on occasion the giant would be challenged by a particularly brave individual or group. The few that survive still carry the scars of their encounter, and the town still paid. There was a wizard who lived just outside the village, he could have likely dealt with the giant, but he was rarely in town and never concerned himself with the affairs to the townsfolk. I steered clear of him and his apprentice for I knew it was possible that they could see me for what I was. What did  the giant want with silver, and why was he so restrained in his dealings? This we would come to learn later.

It wasn't until the giants demands became too high that the townsfolk came up with a plan. They laced a keg of ale with a strong sleeping potion bought from the wizards tower, likely made by the apprentice. The plan was to follow him back to his cave in Skulltop Hill and end his reign of terror after he had drunk himself to sleep. But when he returned he demanded even more than he had asked for, now he wanted villagers as well. The village refused, so the giant picked individuals. A traveling gnome tried to stop him but was chosen by the giant for his trouble, the other was a tavern wench. I had decided to not participate in this ill conceived plan and was fishing down stream past old Tarik's house so didn't know until hours later.

The change had thrown the town and their plan into chaos. Nobody was willing to go now that the giant showed an interest in eating people. And what if he killed the people he had taken when he noticed anyone approaching. There were none who wanted to take the risk. I was preparing to step forward and go myself, I did after all have a few tricks that might allow me to emerge victorious, when the other tavern wench stood up and offered to go. I moved to her side and lent my assistance to join in the danger, glad to not be going alone. Then a young traveling priest raised his voice and offered to aid us in our quest.

And so Cheralie, the barmaid,  Aiden the acolyte of <GOD>,and I prepared our belongings and headed out at first light the next day. Skulltop hill was well known as the giants lair and few aproached it even tough it was not far off the main road to <PLACE> and only a couple hours from town. THe trip was uneventful and we surveyed the hill from the bushes. 

The hill sat in the middle of a small field. It was maybe ten rods high and a furlong or more at the base. It was mostly round and covered by grass. Near the top were two large  openings that kind of looked like skull eye sockets, a depression where the nose hole might be and some large rocks strewn about almost made the top of the hill into a leering skull. An aptly named formation. I had heard about a possible opening in the west side of the hill, if the giant was smart enough to have run this racket on the village for a long time he would likely have some form of defense or warning at the front entrance.

We moved around the hill in the bushes and found the opening. It was covered in roots and bushes. We began clearing the opening but as we did a humanoid creature tending some sheep took notice of us. He even drew his sword and threatened when we approached to talk. So we backed off and hid in the bushes until the creature had herded his sheep around the other side of the hill.

Just as we were about to return to the hill two people from the village found us and asked to join our mission. I was glad to have more company since Aiden didn't seem like a great warrior and I know next to nothing of weapons. The local fisherman who people 'Magic Carp' or "magicarp' (I still don't know his real name) and Sarah, a hunter who spends more time in the woods than in town, joined us and we entered the hil together.

In the dark caverns we found bats and beetles, mud and mushrooms, and eventually a hidden entrance to where the cave giant slumbered. I never found out if he had been drugged by the ale or not, but whatever the reason we were lucky to catch him off guard and defeat him without loss of life on our side. After a quick search of his lair we found much of the plundered supplies, a kitchen, living area, and a wolf, but no sign of the kidnapped wench or gnome. As we went outside to search the area further we encountered the sheep herder again. This time he hesitated only a moment then ran into the woods as it began to drizzle.

With no sign of the captives at the top of the hill we went back in the west entrance. We searched more caves and found some kind of dire cave skunk but no missing people. A further search of the cave giant's lair was required. And with it was found a secret area cleverly hidden in the living chamber of the beast. It lead to a small ladder going down, far too small for the giant himself. 

Venturing fown we found clean alchemy workshop. Down a corridor a screaming fungus alerted all  to our presence, but we weren't the most stealthy bunch to begin with. Aiden dealt with the sorcerer while we were all bespelled to distraction. and we found hit 'unholy' sanctum, also a bedroom with a desk and books.

But in the last room we entered we found a dwarf working at a forge and two captives from the village. Dayle the wench at the Merry Riot, and a Jonas the traveling peddler, were for the most part alive, shaken but able to return to town. The dwarf was known to the locals and appeared to be under the spell of the sorcerer.

It turns out the Sorcerer was names Suto and had been attempting to summon some dark entity. Though it appears he was most proficient at the alchemical magic of change, He was studying summoning as well. He needed the silver for his summoning circle and the villagers for sacrifice. He was able to put the cave giant he called Blogg under his control and use its monthly visits to the village to start collecting silver and eventually sacrifices for his ritual. It is unclear what roll the goblinoid named Gurt was or if it would ever return.

So with the dangers dealt with and the villagers saved Cheralie, Sarah, and Magicarp escorted them back to Dundraville while Aiden and I kept watch over the lair and its contents. We found some flying books while we waited. They were quickly subdued, delivering only minor bruises. And the next day the villagers goods were returned and Sutos riches were removed. and back at the village we all had a good long celebration.

They call us heroes, and adventurers and you know what, I do feel different. I don't think I will return to the stables, Kerwin really didn't have enough work for a stable hand anyway. Maybe its time to start looking for those who killed my master, or just time to learn more of my craft, maybe wander a bit and see what is out in the world. Whatever it is, I know, I am ready for my next adventure.

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Zeroes to Heroes
Celebration Time!

Late at night a trio of the brave group of younglings who decided to rescue their fellow villagers staggered into town. The Merry Riot Inn was somber and quiet, with only one or two villagers still enjoying the warm fire and mead. Kerwin the Innkeeper looked up as the door opened and his heart leapt with joy at the sight of his adopted daughter, Cheralie! Two of her companions, Magicarp and Sarah followed her in. No sign of either Adrian the Acolyte or Julian were to be found. Kerwin feared the worst, both Adrian and Julian were good lads. Kerwin's heart sank at the thought of them both having died in the quest. He didn't know Julian perticularily well, the stablehand kept to himself but he was always quick to help and smile. Fact is, Kerwin had grown quite fond of the boy. 

Quickly, the trio were brought food and drink, and the two others at the inn, Belfas and Veyr added two more logs to the fire and helped the trio with there gear. The tale that the three told was both fascinating and terrifying! Such fell creatures hiding in the dark places so close to town set their hairs at attention, and knowing that both Adrian and Julian opted to stay in such a place was, well, it was something Kerwin had trouble even rationalizing. Brave folk indeed! Who would have guessed that such a small, out of the way little village would hold such bold and valient folk? Kerwin, Belfas and Veyr saw to the three's needs and after the weary group had fallen asleep, began to plot.

The plot was simple: throw a feast in honour of the brave party! It was late into the evening when the rough plans were completed. After the recovery of the towns goods and everyone was safe back at town, the day hence would be known as Angul'Vanheim Morden Day (Day of the Dead Ogre)!

Recovery of the good…and, more importantly, of both Adrian and Julian… was hard work, but without incident. Goods were found to their owners, and coin was placed back into the town coffers. All the work was done. Now it was time to party!

The next day, the first Angul'Vanheim Morden celebration was held, in honour of Cheralie, Adrian, Julian, Magicarp and Sarah. A pig was slaughtered the night before, and now it roasted in a fire pit at the edge of Lake Dundrae at the edge of town. Land was cleared for dancing, games, and relaxation. The townsfolk danced, ate, and drank. They laughed and toasts to numerous to count were made in honour of the Saviors of Dundraville!

The night was loud, but the wee hours of the morning quiet, as everyone had expended their days energy with the revalry. Roosters crowed to nobodies ears, dogs barked only to be yelled at to be quiet. It wasn't until late afternoon when the first signs of life started to show in town. It was quiet the hangover day. One that was well worth it…and well earned!

All hail the Saviors of Dundravill!

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Gurt Escapes the Ogre!

"Gots ta go! Gots ta go fastest! Now!"…was all Gurt the goblinoid could think as his feet barely took a step back. His eyes were wide and he felt…what was that feeling? Terror? No, he felt that every day under the cruel hand of Blogg. 'Lookette sheeps, Gurt!', followed by a drunken backhand that always hit. Gurt had learned his lesson about dodging out of the way…that only enraged the fat ogre, so Gurt learned to take his lumps. But this wasn't exactly terror.

Staring at a group of humans, armed ones, some with armor, and at least one vile Witch (Gurt, like a lot of monsters, could sense magic in those who could wield it…the more powerful the caster, the easier it was to sense), he was certain, but he couldn't figure out who. It didn't matter. He needed to run. Now! If the humans were coming out the front entrance, that could only mean that they were either sent by Blogg to kill him, or that they had killed Blogg. And any group of humans that could kill something as massive and strong as Blogg wouldn't break a sweat killing poor Gurt the sheepherder, Gurt the cook, Gurt the punching bag.

Surprised joy! That was the feeling! Gurt had forgotten what being happy felt like, it had been so long. Blogg was…dead? Maybe? Blogg was dead. Blog was DEAD! Finally his feet and legs caught up with the rest of his mind and Gurt spun around and ran like ol Bei'thor himself was after him!

"Gots ta run! Gots ta run! Gots ta run!"…Gurt muttered to himself through pained panting as he lay on the forest floor somewhere miles and miles away. It was night time now, but he was too exhausted to get up. His eyes closed, a smile crept across his mouth, and Gurt the Goblinoid had a good, nights, rest.

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Bullies are Bad
Adventure to Skull Top Hill

There is a time to lay low and a time to stand up and use what you know. For a long time I have been trying to lay low, but I hate bullies. When a nearby ogre moved from nuisance to threat the people knew it was time to take action. Few had ever even seen violence. I had seen battle, and i had skills that few could even imagine. I couldn't let this monster victimize this town any longer. And if it brought the villains who killed my master to me then let them come. 

I had heard that there was an old entrance into the hill where the ogre lived, and that within may be hidden ancient secrets and treasures. I met up with other members of the town of Dundraville and we went to meet the bully who was terrorizing the town. Hopefully the drugged wine he had taken the last time had kicked in and this would be a simple task. Perhaps I could get by without revealing my secret.

- Julian, newcomer to Dundraville, 128th, 3200 E.C.

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The Peasants are Restless
...stick in the eye, kick in the shin...

The small mountain town of Dundraville has a problem. A problem they had previously dealt with in the form of tribute. A cave giant. He has now upped the taxation, and now demands humans! Something must be done! Some brave townsfolk must have the courage to stand up to him!

…crickets chirping…

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