Giant Slayer

From the Journal of Ud Nibbleaxe, trollslayer
That was...oddly inspiring.

Upon our return to Plague House, this time with Thorsten in tow once more, we encountered a trapdoor on the bottom floor, discovering a poor, captured boy inside a secret hall. Leetsa quickly freed the lad, and Zekant armed him before we pushed into the final room from two sides.

Within, we discovered the half-orc who had captured Often, the boy, and a flood troll that quickly felled poor Leetsa. While Fijit, Whisper, and Zekant dealt with the orc, I rushed in to protect my fallen comrade. Suddenly, I found my will and strength bolstered through a strangely powerful shout-ballad of Thorsten’s, and, as Fijit blinded the orc, causing him to fall prey to his own traps, I leapt around the troll, slashing across its spine and felling the foul beast.

Our enemies defeated, we found further treasure within the back chambers of the Plague House, returning to Trunau to inform Kurst that Katrezra’s story of the troll could be corroborated. We also brought the half-orc back to town for questioning, soon informed by the returned Jagaren that the orc was, in fact, a member of the guard who had been led astray by our true enemy, finally revealed; another half-orc by the name of Skreed, who was planning an attack on the city.

After resting and attending the late Rodrick’s funeral, we sat about in the wake, wondering what to do next. It was then that the lady Brynya approached me, presenting me with Rodrick’s Hope Knife. Greatly honored, I accepted the gift, only concerned that I would be forced to use it soon, and before Jagaren returned from his mission to retrieve all patrols to protect the city at the news of attack.

My fears were only too well-founded, as, almost instantly, the sound of great boulders striking the city walls and the chime of alarm bells began to rend the air.

Trunau is under attack, and I’m not certain my new friends and I will survive. Apsu, guide our blades.

From the Journal of Ud Nibbleaxe, oozeslayer
I may never have jam again...

As our party returned to the Plague House, I used the time to acquaint myself with the young rogue who has joined our party after we stopped by the newly-arrived caravans by the gates. It was nice to have someone else join, following Durmok’s departure to retrieve Kurst’s father, though the rogue, a boy named Zekant, was not very talkative. He did, however, speak confidently of his own abilities, as well he should have, I was to learn, and I think I’ll grow to like the lad, should he continue with us throughout the investigation.

Nearing the Plague House, however, the party found a small fire bit, lined with coals meant to send up blue signal fire. Before we could determine who had been there in the night, I caught sight of a dark, cloaked figure through the mist. I called out to the man in greeting, only to have him bolt inside the Plague House. Our party gave chase, thinking to have him cornered inside the ghostly room that had left me the fool once before, but, upon having Zekant survey the room, we found no sign of him. Worse, the lad fell prey to the ghostly fears of the chamber, and I was unable to halt his flight from the building as he ran in terror.

Upon his recovery, I attempted to soothe his bruised ego, and we delved further into the Plague House, daring to venture through the doors at the end of the hall where our search ended last time with the discovery of Rodrick’s Hope Knife. A large chest awaited us, as did a pack of sickly rats, which we quickly dispatched, Zekant even scoring his first kill with the group. Whisper, Fijit, Leetsa, and I cleaned up the rest, as the room was too confined for Elynnar to lend support, and we claimed the chest’s contents, venturing down the stairs at the back of the room.

Another statue of Iomede awaited us at the bottom of the steps, and the brave Fijit acquired a finely-crafted sword…just as Zekant fell prey to a vile ooze in the next chamber. A heated battle with the gloopy creature ensued, during which I was almost absorbed along with Zekant and Fijit’s owl, but we finally beat the thing apart, saving Zekand and Whisper before the creature dissolved them inside of its custardy innards.

Shocked at the bizarre attack, we return to town to rest up again before pressing forward with our search at the Plague House. Still, I can’t help but feel that we’re close to uncovering something vital to our search. I can feel it in the dirt…

From the Journal of Ud Nibbleaxe, fleetfoot
Redemption...if only for a moment

Once again, I find myself approaching the Plague House doors. I feel trepidation, as one of our party is no longer present, but also a renewed sense of vigor.

Immediately following my last entry, a shout rang out from above before any of us could take a moment’s rest. Sensing that my comrade, Thorsten, was in danger, I clambered up out of the pit, my limbs only faltering once, and I emerged into a great fray. A spider of beastly proportions had already felled Thorsten, and the rest of my team was only just keeping the thing at bay.

Eager to keep the others safe, I rushed into combat once more, slamming my fist into the creature before leaping over it and allowing Whisper, the greatest owl to ever live, a chance at a mortal strike as the thing was distracted. As the beast tried to scurry away, those of us still standing struck a united blow that felled it, never to rise again.

But a great damage had already been dealt, and, though we were able to locate Rodrick’s hope knife, confirming our intelligence that he had been loitering around this cursed place, we were forced to slink back to the temple, battered and bruised by the might of many foes.

We left the much-damaged Thorsten in the care of Trunau’s greatest healers this morning, after a much-needed rest all around, and now we intend to delve even deeper into the Plague House’s secrets.

I only hope that the inevitable dangers that still lurk within will not be the end of us all before this great mystery is unraveled.

From the Journal of Ud Nibbleaxe, the coward
Will my shame never end?

I write these notes in the light of a glow stick at the bottom of a small chasm within the most dismal place on earth. Our band set out for the Plague House at the direction of Katrezra, the half-orc seer, arriving not too long ago after a short time in the city for purchasing supplies and making business connections (though my heart was not in it, I was able to forge the beginnings of a bond with one of the pregnant townsfolk, and I can only hope that this will translate to business later on…should I survive to ply my trade).

Anyway, after arriving at the Plague House, it was mere seconds before apparitions rose up out of the charred bed skeletons we found inside, and many of our company were overwhelmed by a sense of dread. We were sure to die unless we fled.

Much to my shame, that is just what I did, tripping over myself in a frantic escape, only to be brought back some time later to be informed by Elynnar that what I had experienced was a simple fright spell. There had been no danger at all.

Still not recovered from my near death experience at the hands of the water-blade assassins, this left me quite sheepish and on edge as we continued to explore the broken, burned building, but I was still determined to prove my worth.

I was granted some chance at this in the next room when we encountered a brace of giant centipedes (fearsome beasts!), though it was, once again, Fijit’s fiercest of owls who took much of the glory here.

It was upon retreat from this chamber that I chanced to feel that a patch of wall was not as solid as the others, so, intrigued, I requested that Thorsten attempt to search behind it. As if to prove that wonders never cease, he soon discovered the trigger that caused the wall to open like a door, and a small chasm opened up before us. Biting back my fear, I was about to attempt a climb down into it when the brave Durmok, having circumvented to the other side of chasm, had the floor give out beneath him, and he plummeted to the floor below.

Even as I called out his name, Elynnar seemed to encounter a great danger beyond my sight, and I was left with a horrendous choice; leap to almost certain death in an attempt to assist Durmok in the fight against emerging giant rats, or remain where I could press my back to a comrade on every side.

Not granting myself an opportunity for cowardice, I immediately leapt into the small abyss, a proud smile on my face as I crashed onto the head of the nearest rat. A heated battle ensued, during which Durmok valiantly slew one of the rats, but the other fast turned intangible, and I was pressed completely on the defensive, fighting for every second of life, until Elynnar, emerging victorious from his fight with giant spiders with the aid of those still above, raced to my aid with a bolt of magic that ended my foe to drop at my feet.

Now, as we catch our breath, uncertain of what else awaits us, I cannot help but indulge in a moment of reverie. In quick succession, I have experienced a moment of great cowardice, but also one of great courage. It is still not enough to regain what honor I’ve lost, but perhaps I will not have to bear the weight of past shames and incompetence for much longer.

From the Journal of Ud Nibbleaxe, the fool
Perhaps the world is a far darker place than I imagined...

I write these notes within the safety of a Trunau sanctuary, surrounded by friendly guards. We could not have been farther from such safety a mere few hours ago, however…

Following our discussion with Howgra, we retired to the Ramblehouse and our quarters, and were quickly set upon by assassins with strange water weapons. Both Thorsten and Elynnar were quickly incapacitated, with myself alone left to stand against three armed opponents. Never have I felt such fear. Even in our fight with the dogs, I had a feeling that my story was not yet ended. Tonight, however…I find myself believing that I should be dead in this moment.

And I most certainly would be, had my companions, Durmok, Leetsa, and Fijit not stormed into the room, taking my assailants by surprise. Though I was struck severely, my life was saved, as were those of Thorsten and Elynnar, and the day was one, though we were all left utterly spent.

After being taken to the sanctuary and a quick healing from the city’s finest cleric, myself and Thorsten were led by Sara to her smithy, where we finally met with the seer, Katrezra. He told us that Rodrick had been investigating dark dealings at the Plague House, so that is where we will be going come the morning. Now, however, we rest, regaining our strength.

Yet…I cannot shake the feeling that it is not I who has cheated death; perhaps death has cheated me, and not in the interest of having me fulfill some great destiny. After tonight, my thoughts are filled with the darkness and cold of the world. It has no patience for personal dreams or delusions of heroism. I am but a simple hill dwarf whose desire for greatness has nearly gotten himself killed. I think even Numbskull sensed my shift in outlook when I went to go check on him on the way back from Sara’s.

Things are…not as I envisioned, and though I attempt to maintain a strong front for my team, I cannot shake the feeling that I have only been spared the embrace of death as some sort of cosmic joke. If no great destiny awaits me—no great feat worthy of the champions of old marks my future—then I have merely been spared to die another day. These thoughts are…troubling. It is difficult to face one’s own insignificance, another to accept it.

But…I am tired, and further adventure awaits tomorrow. I only hope my feeble skills are able to bring some small light to the world before my own winks out.

From the Journal of Ud Nibbleaxe, bona fide dogslayer
Excitement! ...also pain

What dark and strange intrigue has our merry band stumbled upon?! Just as I was finishing up my notes from last entry, we were set upon by a pack of rabid dogs, unleashed by an unknown figure! I was quickly tripped (a feat I thought nigh impossible), and fevered battle ensued, in which my life was likely saved by the heroism of Fijit’s owl!

Which reminds me…I owe that bird a hug. Maybe a mouse or two…

Anyway, we emerged from the battle victorious, skinning the beasts, and I may have retrieved a souvenir in the form of a ferocious-looking tooth. It was immediately after the fight’s conclusion that Durmok and Elynnar raced in bravely to assist. Finding the fight was over, a downcast Durmok informed us of the fact that they had passed Omast on the way to us, who was, and I quote, “…hanging himself from a rope.”

Naturally horrified at the implications, I took off the way they had come, eager to save the life of Kurst’s adopted uncle. Though I was in a battered state after the fight, I sprinted the entire way, emerging from the night next to Omast’s location with Great-grandma’s bread knife ready to sever Omast’s hanging rope. It was then I learned of the lack of precision when it comes to human speak, for Omast was not attempting suicide. Instead, he was suspended, by his waist, from a rope as he attempted to wash away a patch of graffiti.

I was, of course, greatly embarrassed, but it was good that I arrived when I did, for Omast promptly found himself unsecure, plummeting to the ground. The valiant Durmok and myself rushed forward in an attempt to catch him, receiving many bruises for our trouble. These injuries, combined with the recent fight with the dogs, left me in a kind of pained stupor until Fijit was able to revitalize me with her magic. The experience was…quite a thrill.

A forcibly sober conversation with Omast at a nearby tavern directed us to the Sanctuary the following day in an attempt to locate a half-orc seer by the name of Katrezra, an apparent friend of the the fallen Rodrick. Our attempts met with little success—it appears that no one has seen the seer in some time—though Elynnar did set about testing the samples of dog saliva he had taken the night before. We may have to purchase more vials for him at some point…

Anyway, Elynnar was able to discern that the saliva contained traces of an alchemical substance…and also that anyone bitten by the dogs was in danger of contracting an awful affliction. I was quickly and thoroughly examined (though I was able to convince him to allow self-examination when it came to any sites in question beneath my trousers), and given a clean bill of health, but it appears that we are searching for someone well-versed in the art of alchemy. Attempting to retrace the dogs steps from the night before only informed us of a nearby wagon’s involvement, but it was then that we were off to visit the leader of Trunau, Hawgra.

Here, our party was informed that, though Katrezra may be missing, the smithy, Sara Morninghawk (whose wife’s delightful magic shop we also visited, only to discover how poor we truly are) may have a lead as to his whereabouts.

Will we succeed in finding Katrezra? Will my genitals end up swelling after all, heralding my imminent demise? Will Elynnar and Leetsa feel more present as we move forward? I have no answers for these questions, but I’m delightfully excited to find out!


Ok so. Shane and I are not going to be able to make it tonight. We’ve had some family stuff come up, unfortunately.

From the Journal of Ud Nibbleaxe
Investigating things might be harder than I thought

After being tasked with discerning the cause of Rodrick Grath’s death, our newly-formed team set about scouring the deceased’s room. This yielded little in the way of actual information, save for the discovery of a rather strange hope knife receipt fulfilled by one Urnsul. Elynnar, meanwhile, followed an apparent hunch that whatever fate Grath encountered might be attached in some way to the graffiti that has been emerging around town, and, of course, he took a sample.

Next, our team visited the nearby crypt to study Rodrick’s body, where I finally learned, quite by accident, the name of the more cantankerous of the group’s gnomes! It’s Leetsa! Again, we were hard pressed to find any clues, but the more quiet of our fair gnomes, Fijit, was able to discern the presence of some kind of poison in the dead man’s mouth, causing Leetsa to…persuade our elven arcanist to abandon a previous mud sample for the purposes of acquiring traces of the poison.

The hour being now late, we returned to the tavern, where, after a brief conversation, we learned that one of the barmaids, Poppy (nice girl), had connections that could lead us to the half-orc maiden Kurst had mentioned was involved with his late brother.

Our spirits lifted, we had a good night’s sleep all around without any sort of poignant nightmares for any in our party that might have involved nasty things like demon mice or evil giants, just to name a few things we, collectively, didn’t dream about at all. I’ve even grown accustomed to Torsten’s hearty snores. I think I may even find them soothing.

Anyway, after a hearty breakfast of soggy biscuits, I set out with my new best friends to meet up with Durmok at the city guard barracks. There, with Durmok’s leave, we were able to enter Rodrick’s room, thanks to Torsten’s…adequate skills at picking locks. Little was discovered here, as well, save for an old love letter perhaps not to Rodrick’s fiancee, though a forlorn Kurst did arrive and give us leave to take Rodrick’s hope knife from his belongings. Once more, I felt sorry for the man, and I assured him that our investigation was moving along well. I believed my assertion soon to be fulfilled, for our next leads were to study the poison and visit with Rodrick’s beloved.

Elynnar and Leetsa had been studying the poison nearby, learning that it was a type of oil, or something, that would likely kill whoever ingested it within minutes. It would have been a strange sequence of events, indeed, for a man to take such a poison, only to slit his own wrists afterward.

The noble Durmok and the…jovial Torsten made sure to visit the merchants outside of town to inquire as to where one might acquire such a poison, but appeared to have little luck. Elynnar, meanwhile, remained in his rented laboratory a while longer, muttering something to himself about solutions or solvents. I was relieved to see later that he had not revisited any of the more…explosive moments of his past in his pursuits.

Fijit, Leetsa, and myself, meanwhile returned to follow a friend of Poppy’s to Brynya’s house…though I believe Fijit remained in the tavern to eat. Much to my chagrin, my attempts to console the crestfallen half-orc woman met with continuous failure over the next few hours, but Leetsa and I were eventually able to learn that Brynya and Rodrick had exchanged hope knives upon pledging themselves to each other. Moreover, Rodrick had apparently lost his, commissioning a replacement to be made. Brynya, however, claimed not to have heard to Urnsul, the smithy listed on the receipt recovered from Rodrick’s room.

So, with Durmok and Elynnar tending to duties across town, the rest of our team, after eating our fill back at the inn, set out for the smithy of Sara Morninghawk, half-orc proprietor of the Clamor smithy and the one whom Brynya claimed had engraved the original hope knife gifted to Rodrick. It was here that we learned Urnsul’s identity as an apprentice under Sara, though we were also informed that Urnsul has not been seen in some time.

Thus it is that I find myself walking back to the inn amongst my companions, scribbling away my day’s thoughts. I feel troubled and confused, no closer to uncovering the truth behind Rodrick’s death, but I will not allow myself to feel discouraged. The night is beautiful, and the streets of Trunau peaceful in the moonlight. I cannot imagine that good fortune will abandon us much longer.

From the pages of the journal of the great warrior, Ud Nibbleaxe
This is so exciting!

Numbskull doesn’t much care for the cold here, but what do ponies know of adventure? I’ve bid farewell to my friends at the Brimwill Monastery, and I’m never looking back. All my life I’ve yearned for the thrill of fighting monsters and saving whole kingdoms from great evil, so I’ve joined a caravan for Trunau, now that I’ve learned all I can from the masters at Brimwill.

It was only a few hours after joining the caravan that I encountered Elynnar, my first true comrade on this journey. I think he was scraping mud from the back of someone’s wagon and into a small vial when I first encountered him, but, despite his various eccentricities, I can sense that there is a great nobility in him. And, though he masks it well beneath a veil of distracted-ness, I can tell that he truly regrets inadvertently leveling a city block with his experiments back home. I only hope his thirst for knowledge will not be his undoing—his and that of anyone in close proximity.

Still, Elynnar continues to intrigue me, and we spent much time together on our journey to Trunau. I’ve learned much about studying the world around me and making sure that I have a thorough knowledge of my environment.

It was only the day before last when we arrived at the city’s gates, tired from the long journey, and thoroughly chilled from the steady snowfall. I did make an effort to lend Elynnar my spare cloak, but he seemed quite content to wrap himself in a blanket. For an elf, he possesses a great spirit of perseverance and pride. It was at the gate that we encountered Durmok, a city guard and a warrior of great bearing and stature. He was kind enough to direct Elynnar and myself to the nearby tavern, where we warmed ourselves with food and fire, taking in the atmosphere. Even at this early stage in our journey, I knew that I had been correct to bring my fists and blades here. There is a pervasive sense of unrest in this area, and I know that it cannot be long before I confront a true beast in combat. Vile orcs and giants surround the city, inspiring the custom of hope knives, a personal weapon seeming to specialize in the taking of one’s one life. I find the thought…troubling.

Shortly after Elynnar and I arrived at the busy tavern, I chanced to look up as a small gnome woman arrived, conversing briefly with the barkeep. At her side was the guard Durmok, whose kind nature had brought him, once more, to assisting a weary traveler. I waved both Durmok and his companion over quickly, wishing to reach out to as many potential allies as possible. Though the gnome (Fijit, as I came to know her) was kind enough, she spoke little, preferring to whisper to the small owl on her shoulder.

It was also at the tavern that we encountered a local bard who regaled us with great song and story. He seems to have taken a rather…intense liking to us, but, though I find his lifestyle to be in all ways excessive, I cannot doubt his kind spirit. Torsten is his name, I dare not think I shall ever find a more jovial soul steeped in the mires of inebriation. He’s followed us around since, and I find myself strangely uplifted in response.

We travelers stayed at the tavern that night, while Durmok returned to his quarters, all of us reuniting the next day to set out for the latest Hope Knife ceremony. The affair was far less morbid than I had feared. There were even games involved, in which our entire party was chosen to take part in a fevered round of yank-a-rope. Joining us was another gnome woman, this one even less talkative than Fijit. Upon my initial attempts at dialogue were met only with hard stares. I was later informed by Durmok of the gnome’s recent hardships, and so I have redoubled my efforts at friendship. If there’s one thing someone in mourning appreciates, it’s constant friendly badgering from strangers.

Whatever her state of mind after her losses, however, it has not rendered the gnome woman physically inept for she and our other gnome companion were the champions of our team in yank-a-rope, seeing us to victory in seconds. If I have ever doubted the physical prowess of the smaller races, I never shall again!

After the ceremony itself had concluded, our party took part in the festivities—Torsten perhaps a bit too much—and Elynnar was busied with collecting many samples. Upon my eightieth circling of the maypole, I found myself wondering what he intends to do with them.

Oh! And perhaps most exciting, I was the victor in a gruel-eating contest! My bowl of victory will forever be at my side!

I think I also spotted the gnomes off conversing in hand-speak with Silvermane, a local elder and powerful druid. It was probably nothing, though.

That night, back at the tavern, upon helping Torsten keep from evacuating his stomach onto the bar room floor, Elynnar, Durmok, and myself chanced to encounter Rodrick, a warrior, and son of a warrior beloved by all in Trunau, conversing with a mysterious, large woman. It was curious, but pleasantries were exchanged between Rodrick and ourselves, and I thought no more of it. What business is it of ours whom the local heartthrob wishes to impregnate, after all?

Comes this morning, however, never had I wished more strongly that I had inherited my mother’s busybody spirit.

A terrible scream rang out across the tavern as I sat, enjoying my breakfast of soggy biscuits, and myself and my elven companion were upstairs in seconds to find Cham, the head tavern wench screaming in horror at the sight of Rodrick’s pale body in his bed, wrists laterally slit and stained with blood. Elynnar and I were quick to investigate the scene, with the city guard arriving soon after. A full investigation was launched, and there was a brief moment of misunderstanding as a rather loud relative of Rodrick’s was quick to order the arrest of Elynnar and myself. However, Durmok, our new friend in the guard bravely refused the order, instead escorting us outside as the investigation continued.

Here we were gathered with Fijit, the angry gnome lady (who, I’ve learned from Fijit, apparently sleeps without the encumbrance of sleeping attire), and a bleary-eyed Torsten. After a frustratingly long period of time, Rodrick’s body was sent elsewhere, and I was in for the greatest shock so far. Rodrick’s brother requested that our band investigate the cause of Rodrick’s death! We all, of course, took up the challenge, returning to the tavern in order to get a better look at the scene of the crime and to question Cham.

Though this is not the kind of adventure I had hoped for upon arrival, I cannot ignore such a desperate cry for help. So it is that I find myself deferring my dreams of heated battle with monsters for another kind of justice, but I will attack it with no less vigor. Orcs and giants will still await beyond Trunau’s walls when all this is done, and I will not rest until the truth of Rodrick’s death has been revealed.

Hope and Sorrow
A celebration and a death
It was too early in the morning for this kind of commotion! What was that infernal racket going on down the hall about! And who was crying? He tried to block out the noise and the evil light that crept through the windows, by placing a pillow over his head. One of his new roommates must have opened the shades this morning, before he left for his morning meal. A joke no doubt, meant to provoke him . Cruel knave, whichever roomie it was. Did they not know how he suffered?

The bed had stopped spinning sometime in the small hours, but he had still managed to soil his own linens and clothes several times, before the world had come to a stop. By the Gods the local stuff could be strong, if you drank enough! It was no good, the noise outside his door just kept getting louder. Heavy footfalls up and down the stairs and that dammed incessant wailing! " Shut-up out there, can’t a man sleep after a festive night?!" Torsten Stein yelled at the inside of his door.

And what revelry yesterday had been! The locals called it a hope knife ceremony but, Torsten Stein just knew that it was another great excuse for entertainment, drinking, carousing, and even a little fighting! Yes these town folk knew who to throw a party! Little Ruby might have come of age but, Torsten Stein reveling was un-matched!

Bang, Bang, Bang! came the heavy handed raps on his door. It was nearly loud enough and certainly annoying enough, to cause poor Torsten Stein to wet himself. Who is it! Torsten Stein cried as he flung open the door dressed only in his small clothes. “I’m sorry master Stein,” replied a stern faced guardsmen. “You’ll need to dress and come downstairs immediately” the humorless helmet insisted. “If it’s about the bill, I told Cham I’d settle up with her…” The guardsmen raised his hand and cut Torsten Stein off. " No it’s not about that, there’s been a death and everyone is being interviewed." said the perturbed soldier.

Torsten Stein’s face reflected his genuine alarm. “what a death? Who died?” asked the hung over Northman. The guardsman was almost completely out of patience, as he managed to utter through clenched teeth, “Patrol captain Rodrick Grath was found dead in his room last night.”


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