Excerpt 24 of the journal of Marcel Fisher, son of Lumen Fisher of Staffons and Gwenethlane Lamisine of the noble house Felisima, Paladin of the Shield in the Holy Order of Lothar, savior of the prince elect of the royal line of Ania, and last student of the fabled knight Saber Dharst.
I talked to the heroes of Shelter Lake today. It was challenging as I was forced to appeal to them with both integrity and honesty, engaging to the nature of them as individuals. While I can’t place my church appointed quest above that of my vows as a paladin, I must admit that the opportunity to gain both notoriety and the ability to spread the holistic power of Lothar has a note of grandeur. It was with this attitude I understood something; sometimes being humble is necessary in the search for greater good.
I went and spoke to Sydell first, as he is what appears to be the leader of the group. He has a grisly disposition, I imagine stemming from his rustic upbringing, but at heart he is a trustworthy companion who has an astute sense of reason. He understood my intentions and his decision was to allow me to travel with the party.
Next came Penelope Naïlo. There was a palpable tension in the air that I couldn’t quite comprehend. Hopefully it will pass as I’m not sure what caused it to occur. She, similar to Sydell agreed without much argument. Her allure as a woman definitely doesn’t distract from her sensibility or judgment. She caught me off guard when she volunteered to leave the child, Serenity, with Steel Bouldergate and his regime. Penelope has an air of realism and depth that is hard to define. Mayhaps it is her elven heritage flowing through her delicate veins, or the otherworldly aura that separates her from others, but there is a charm that transcends my understanding.
Franz had no choice. There is little I can put in writing about the man as it would break promises and constitute a lie. These decisions may be the downfall of us entirely.
Lily “the Great.” What is there to say about her? She has both the attitude of a traveling performer and a court bard rolled up in the body of a lovely woman. However there is something about her that disturbs me. I imagine it may be her opinion of children or even her nonchalant idea of idle conversation. Either way she both understood my plea and was willing to allow my presence for the upcoming travel. Hopefully the tension will fade as we become companions, if that status is something we can achieve.
We set out a few days ago with the intention of reaching Instara swiftly. Thankfully the light shone on our path and we managed to arrive in the village of Thamis without issue. The local inn, The Willow Tree (an odd choice given the locale), had a various assortment of rough necks and merchant guards. The types of vagabonds that are found in these establishments sometimes astound me. As our mediocre lunch arrived so did a rum drenched shunt of a man berating my companions with insults and degradation.
This encounter swiftly erupted into conflict as he insulted both our integrity and our intentions. Upon his sacrilegious desecration of fine elven wine the line was drawn and Sydell took action. Knocking the aggregated asshole to the floor with a punch was satisfying to watch, even if a bit pedestrian. Sydell has a surprising amount of power in his farmer’s frame. However this escalated to the man drawing what appeared to be an item of dangerous power from within his cloak, causing me to take drastic measures. With the lives of fifteen people nearby I could not risk their safety. My mace sunk into his skull with a sickening thud as he released the orb in the direction of Sydell. Thankfully there was no eruption of cataclysmic proportions and a forcefield encompassed the small corner of the inn. His weakened condition and the intervention of his traveling companion stopped the tension before it could escalate. I healed the man and he was taken outside to be dumped in the horse trough.
Surprisingly, thanks to the meddling of my most troublesome travel-mate, we ended up traveling the rest of the way to Instara with the drunkard and his fellow caravan guards, aiding a middle-aged dwarf with his delivery of dyes and cloth. Penelope was quite interested and it appeared she purchased a few bolts or something of the sort during one of our frequent stops. I was unaware of her desire to create. Art is both a boon and an inspiration to those around us. Maybe I’ll have the opportunity to ask her about it in the days to come.
After our brief stay in Instara I must say I’m befuddled. Sydell labored me with information that I am not capable of dealing with. Penelope wishes to gain my attentions? Whether purely in a sexual discourse or in a more traditional manner I am unsure, but either way my aligned path toward the future feels as if it has taken a detour. Vows of poverty, purity, chastity, they are dreams and dedications. Not that I haven’t had the attentions of a woman before. Ania is ripe with harlots in the highs and lows of society. However I don’t believe those are the advancements that Penelope is making. She is a different breed. She is both beyond beautiful and is so enchanted by life that she radiates a wondrous quality to those around her. My heart wept for her upon her arrival back to the city. Such a strong will to bear the trials for one so young. I would shred the remains of the one responsible for her plight if I was capable. The very idea of what lengths I might go to is frightening. The entire idea of a future with a dedicated woman merits consideration, especially one such as the lovely Penelope.
Winter is upon us and the grasslands are shrinking around us, dying like the sun’s rays at the cusp of dusk. The worries of the road finally caught up to us. A sneak attack almost caught us unawares. If it wasn’t for the sharp ears of those with me we would have come out of the encounter with more than a few bruises and chilled bones. Orcs, the vile creatures of the northern territories descended upon us with a controlled precision and evil intent.
The initial coordination of their attack astounded me. Training and travel can only teach so much I suppose as this was not what I expected from such low brow beings. A wall of wind blocked our path as the orcs laid a cunning misdirection. We labored forward, wary of their magic and swords, unaware of the shifting ogre magi approaching from behind. If it wasn’t for the sly ways of my fellow follower of Lothar we may have perished at his hands alone. The battle was swift and deadly, as only those who have been in a furious melee can understand. Sydell rushed to the center of the fray while I stayed behind to guard our casters. There is a natural feel to the group; we understand our roles without question. After witnessing it first-hand there is no doubt that my companions have faced their share of battle together. Lily worked her magic with her harp and as if Lothar himself wanted to add dramatic effect the magi struck at the crescendo. A blast of cold straight from the artic straights descended upon our backs, bringing us to the edge of life itself. Sydell almost dropped from the single strike, it was as if one could see the ice form and sink into his very veins. If it wasn’t for the adept hands of Penelope and her wondrous staff we may have lost our resolve in that moment.
The rest of the battle was a blur of steel, spells, and the bold actions of what I can only assume was Lothar speaking through his followers. Orcs fell in a swath of swords, arrows and missiles. Lily took a scathing blow to her midsection which I did my best to stave off with my limited healing capability. While my attention was focused primarily on the well-being of Sydell and the women I must admit that Lothar himself must have been watching the fall of the ogre. It was done with precision and grace, a thing of near beauty if it wasn’t for the blood that laced the earth and the stench that filled the air. We won. That almost goes without saying but still I must thank Lothar for the blessings of my, dare I say it, friends? Together there is a bright future dedicated to helping those in need and ridding the world of the evils that spread across the vast lands of Dromaria.