31 Hearthlight, 1273
We packed our bags and headed north. In a few days time we’ll be near the border of Dermont and be able to pick our prisoners to bring back to the capital. I don’t know why we give these scumbags a trial, but Erest insists that it’s just, whatever that may mean to him. Very well. I’ll keep a log for the court of our travels as I’m requested and follow my brother’s lead.
I hate winter and I hate the snow. I pray Szass keeps me warm and Rolep may still the wind.
34 Hearthlight, 1273
We’ve broken a wheel on one of the prisoner wagons already. We find ourselves in between any sorts of civilization. We have the tools to mend the wheel, but the snows are starting and the work will have to wait until tomorrow’s light.
Erest tells me not to worry, that Renald will have the wheel repaired in little time and we shall be on the road, but I fear this a bad omen. It seems none with us but Kaya share my suspicions. Kaya is an odd girl, but a gifted healer and talented magistrate I’m told. Oftentimes she seems to be staring away into the void, looking at nothing, though her face emotes that she witnesses events of a great magnitude. The effect is unsettling on the whole to say the least. Nevertheless, we shall carry on.
37 Hearthlight, 1273
Finally we’ve gotten to a real town and not some backwater bump in the road of real travel. We should be able to finally replace the wheel that’s been slowing our travel and pick up our prisoners for transport from the local garrison.
That said, I cannot wait until we leave. Aargdan still isn’t much of a place to speak of. The local bar, dubbed “Ydob’s” isn’t much pleasing to the eye or the ear as the locals and passersby shout and clamor in this language and that.
The sooner that we return to real civilization, a real bed and real ales I shall be contended. My brother Erest is a strong man in both body and will to put up with this sort of work year-round. I am glad to help my brother, but I do not see myself embarking on any such venture again without much yammering and prodding.
Tonight I put out the light and sleep indoors for a change with a warm fire and warm sheets. Despite the meager quality, I’m thrilled.
39 Hearthlight, 1273
My excitement the Hearthlight Festival tomorrow can ill be contained. Erest seems mildly annoyed by it, but I know he enjoys our time together. Just one more day and we shall be home again with family and friends and able to celebrate properly. This godsforsaken road does not suit me well and I do not believe I’ll ever willfully get on it again.
Tonight the men are superstitious. While travelling back south today a red comet suddenly appeared in the sky. As the daylight dimmed and night drew upon us, the red sign became angrier and more clear in the heavens. Some of the men more versed in wives’ tales believe that the twin tales spell a dire fate for the world. I am less convinced, but nevertheless their unease has spread to me to some level and I find myself troubled as I lay down.
1 Finir, 1273
The men knew better than I. Last night, the second day after the signs in the sky we were accosted on the road by three…creatures. I dare not call them men, for their eyes were a fierce yellow and their skin blue with hideous purple veins clearly visible throughout.
Without speaking they crept from the wood around the road and set fire to the wagons and bludgeoned the men into submission. One of them placed his hands on some of the prisoners after breaking the lock on their wagon and they became stupefied, simply meandering about behind him for the whole ordeal.
I must admit I am not so courageous as Erest or Renald, nor even so much as the woman, Kaya. I did not stand and fight when I saw them coming like Erest. I ran. I, for some reason, grabbed my pack and ran into the wood. I fled until I believed myself out of sight and then hid myself among the underbrush and watched as the clubbed my brother down despite Kaya’s efforts and subsequently did the same to the remainder of the un-pacified.
They began to bind them all and place them into the back of the wagon, lifting them with the ease of a father lifting his firstborn child. I have never seen anything of the like in all my days. They finished loading and pulling all the wagons into the wood opposite me before daybreak. One of them seemed concerned with my whereabouts and began to look around for me. A light shone suddenly from the forest opposite them. Without speaking, the evident leader simply waved him on and they all disappeared into the wood.
Nearly a full day has passed and I have not moved. I have soiled my clothing and I have not eaten all day. I know not how they did not find me, but night is falling again and I am still afraid to move…
2 Finir, 1273
She came for me that night. I thought it was the end for me. I was quite convinced she was one of them and there to take me off with the rest.
The light that shown from her bare hand blinded me as she approached, but when she came close I saw that her face was beautiful and her skin pristine and unblemished. She was not like the ones that took my brother and travel companions away. The perfection of her features stunned me and for the moments after my relief had washed over me I could not speak, nor move.
“Come then,” she said in a soft voice. Stunned as I was, I did not move. I could not seem to regain my senses. Something about her was different than every other human being I had ever met until this point. “Well…?” she prompted, waiting.
At this point her compatriots exited the trees, hardly making a sound, despite their size. One was a heavily scarred, tanned being wearing the skull of a deer for a helmet, the second a fur-clad dwarf with his hair tied back into a messy ponytail, and the last…why, the last was a wonder how they talked sense into it. The last was a troll, so covered in furs and bits of bark and tree that he appeared to be masquerading as a tree.
The four of them gathered me up from the woods and took from the woods there and took me deeper into the wood to the ruins of what looked to be a tower. They pointed me to a bed already made up in a crook in the ruins and I laid there and attempted to sleep. During my attempts at slumber, odd lights shown throughout the ruins; there one moment and gone the next. Odd chimes sounded from within the fallen structure and the surrounding woods that I knew to be unnatural. Finally I worked up the courage to remove a hooded lantern from my bag and begin to write.