Day 56 of Deidara, Freeman’s Year 609
A saying of my kin and kith is, “Constant rain wears away stone.” Persistence, dogged determination in the face of seemingly impossible adversity, be it in the form of enemies too tall, mines too dark, oceans too wide, will always win the day. The Faterinos must learn to embody this axiom or we will die. There is no other path. I fear we have cast the dice, and now we must stand by and pray that the right number comes up. I should explain. After our ill-fated battle with the trident wielding statues, we were more clever in our approach to the living stone guardians. We were able to string a few up to that blasted monolith and drop them down, cracking one instantly, but calling down another pair of bastards upon our heads. We were never quite able to ken the damnable workings of that underwater chamber. Scratch eventually prevailed upon us to take the shining iron, the milky pearl, and the volcanic rock. Of course, at this point, in our usual foolhardy fashion, we managed to trigger some kind of defense mechanism that drowned the entire Temple of the Cimmerian. Scratch and I were able to find a passage carved into the base of the platform that first pulled us down, but for long minutes we feared Donaldino, Scratch, and Nabayo were lost to the wash of time, drowned by our own greed and foolishness. Thankfully, they were able to escape from that tomb. We were not yet ready to be added to the residents of that foul place.
I fear what we have unleashed on the world. It was always my opinion that the artifacts were key components to completing some kind of magical defense mechanism. I feared that if one or more were removed, whatever evil the prophecy warned of would again roam the world. As we emerged back into the secret room behind the waterfall, and made our way down the river by boat, the essence of the forest took on a more menacing face. The plants seemed lusher, more malign. Our surroundings were somehow more suggestive, pregnant with dark possibilities that tear at my calm and good spirit. We are changed.
Donaldino has grown more serious, his songs no longer carry the impish spirit of former days, but they have become melancholy, serious, befitting a true adventurer. He is no longer simply a bard, he may in fact be, an artist. Scratch, amoral as he may be, had a chance to abandon his compatriots in the temple, but from what Nabayo and Woodbine tell me, decided to lend a helping hand when times seemed darkest. I know that I am a natural foil to his avarice, but there is much wisdom in what he says. Woodbine, brave, foolish, Woodbine has proved to be a constant and true companion, though I sometimes fear that his barbaric pursuit of adventure will rob him of precious years he might otherwise have had to father strong sons and wide-hipped daughters, scions of House Woodbine.
As for Nabayo…her sense of nature grows by the day, I can see her communing with the Wild Places. This is best exemplified by the bear we came across being beset by what appeared to be kindling, which turned out to be vile creatures, about the size of children, determined to kill an innocent bear. At Nabayo’s urging, we rescued the creature, which she subsequently named Buckles. Not once, but twice did we rescue Buckles, the second time from Banemidges, foul creatures no bigger than rabbits that set upon us in the night, in spite of our precautions. Luckily, we were able to fend them off, including the abominable invisible ones and their shaman. One thing concerns me, as they attacked us, it seems they were intent on taking position of the magical items we found in the drowned temple. If not for Donaldino’s well-placed attack, I fear that one of the artifacts would have been lost to us, and with the loss of that artifact, perhaps the world would have been lost as well. Luckily, it has not come to that yet. Nabayo has tamed the animal, at least, she has started to tame it, and it follows dutifully. I am glad for it, sometimes the keenest among us are our animals. Buckles may prove useful before long, though he smells and snorts and shits like a Dwarven woman.
After briefly regaining our strength in Rivermont, a place I never thought I would be glad to see again, we have determined to return to Vulcarsgrave to seek answers. I suspect that the brave companions we have been shadowing have returned to the Gem Cutters Guild with their prize, perhaps an item beyond value and importance to the protection of the world. If that is the case, it may fall to us to stop them from whatever nefarious plot they have cooked up. In addition, we learned our old ally Egedius has also gone to the city to report in to the Obsidian Tower. He owes us his life thrice over, and may prove to be an ally when we reach the city. There is also a certain Algrin Swiftus residing in the city with whom I have a long standing appointment that I do not intend to miss. Moradin willing, I shall see Cirrus again, sweet angel of the morning, she of the lithe figure and the gigantic passion. This would please me well. As I write this, we are approaching the waterways of the city, a city which does not love. We will have answers before long. There is no telling how our journey ends, but I have sworn a pact with my blood to these people, my friends, the Faterinos. We go till the end of the world.
There is another saying in my family, “You are but the builder of a bridge to a bank you shall never reach.” Each life is but a stone in the bridge, a bridge we hope our ancestors will someday cross toward blissful eternity, toward the promise of a future so beautiful that we ourselves cannot comprehend its splendor. We are the dead, the damned, the fallen, the stones and bricks and mortar of the future. If I am to die before the end of this adventure, let it be said, at the least, that the bridge is one step closer to the shore, and its strongest stone is called, “Thunderhead.”
Thunderhead Gloamingborn, A Boat in the Blackstone River, 20th Day Mirtul, also known as The Melting.