Day 47 of Deidara, Freeman’s Year 609
The caprices of the Gods are beyond the ken of Dwarf or man or elf. I find myself in a dank Orcish cave surrounded by my fellow Faterinos as well as Gidiusand his men. The stink of foul orc corpses has yet to leave this place, and I doubt the lingering impact of their evil deeds ever will. Still, NabaYo Kinderhookian, Donaldino Yorge, and the guileful Scratch remain in decent spirits as we have yet to meet our match in battle. We have taken on a new Faterino, the decent, reckless Woodbine Grimsleep, a man who had dedicated his life to vengeance. With his vengeance sated, and the life of his enemy slipped away, so too did Woodbine’s purpose in this world. I know the feeling.
Vengeance becomes a pursuit that perpetuates for its own sake long after the flares of rage have burned to embers then to nothing but the barest flicker of an abiding anger that shall never diminish, shall never dissipate even after the guilty are punished and the wrongs have been set right. Perhaps wrongs can never be set right, but we spend whatever time the Gods have allotted us doing our best to balance the scale in favor of justice, of righteousness. I know that my actions are hasty. I know that I am too quick to draw my axe, and worse, to swing it; however, I believe that when I go before Moradin for judgement, he will find me not wanting in bravery, nor in stoutness of heart. He will ask me why I took the course I did, imperfect as it may have been, and I will reply that I did my best. That will be enough. At least, that is my hope.
The facts are simple. Gidius lies gravely wounded in the cave. I know not which God he believes in, but surely that God does not favor him. Thrice have we brought him back from the very precipice of death. I know not how many times the soul can be called back from whatever awaits it in the great beyond. I believe he will pull through thanks to constant care from Nabayo, Scratch, and Donaldino. Still, in return for clearing his town of the evil Col. Alduous Herradura, Gidius has granted us the first clue to a riddle, a riddle that sends a chill up my spine, the riddle that will lead us inevitably to the Lake of Oblivion. It is imperative that we solve this riddle, this I know without comprehending exactly why. I understand the riddle not. My mind was not forged with witticisms. I hope my friend Donaldino will be able to make some sense of it, for he is fleet of tongue (and fleet of crossbow and other cruder weapons…)
Nabayo and Scratch also may shed some wisdom on this subject. Nabayo communes with Catherine the Great and Burro. I only slowly begin to realize the primeval power that she commands. I feel it will be of great help to us soon enough. As for Scratch, he melds in and out of the shadows as a Naga into water. More than once have I seen two of the men talking, supposedly in private, only to have Scratch appear, seemingly, from the ether and tumble away laughing in his own secret way. Still, there is a streak of compassion in him that has already stayed my hasty hand when he implored us to spare the noble Gidius. No one is as they seem. I wonder what they think of this brash Dwarf?
Now, that the Faterinos are reunited, I grow fonder of my companions by the day. There are only so many lives one can take, so many dangers bested with the help of comrades before you begin to appreciate the value of true-hearted friendship. Though I shall never again return to the Halls of my ancestors, it would be worthy indeed to die in the company of such mighty warriors.
I fear that this may be the last moment of peace for some time to come. I know in my soul that the Lake of Oblivion calls us hence, and we shall answer the call of duty with grim determination, trusting to Moradin, to St. Cuthbert, to Garl Glittergold, to Ehlonna and bright Pelor and half-smiling Olidammara to see our adventure through to whatever end awaits. I am not afraid though the light is fading, and tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow is a long time.
-Thunderhead Gloamingborn, Orcish Cavern, 15th Day Tarsakh, also known as The Claw of Storms.