Vulcarsgrave and the Obsidian Tower

Thunderhead's Journal Part IX

There comes a time when the spilled blood sets into the soul, and even the purest turn crimson. Inside, we are all red. We have come to a turning point in our sojourning. We must now decide whether the Faterinos stand for all that is just or if we were simply a cowardly band of ruffians and thieves all along, stumbling like a drunkard along the rocks of a rain-kissed embankment beside the sea, a wrong step away from plunging into the depths. It all began when we agreed to help that blighted scoundrel Cassot and his half-wit brother Cassow collect their dues from the turkey leg vendors. While we employed strong-arm tactics to get what we believed was rightfully owed to Cassot, he quickly proved himself to be a disloyal and treacherous knave by attempting to have us killed by men in his service by means of those damnable creatures that I am told are called Sneezebores. Needless to say, after our adventures with Heliosh, we are bone tired, weary, and yet new troubles seem to pick up where the last troubles ended. We did manage to keep a substantial amount of gold for ourselves after slaying the sneezebores, and luckily when we were brought in front of Captain Hendrix, we learned that Cassot was attempting to flee the city without paying his rightful due to Captain Hendrix, the white clad defender of the city.

We witnessed as Cassot and Cassow were given over to Morg, a wizard of some power. He made infected turkeys grow in size and ferocity, and we were forced to watch as these wicked birds ripped our former employers apart. Captain Hendrix allowed us the honor of trying out for the Final Defense Force if we would show up at Marmarin Hall the next morning in order to take whatever tests were necessary. Though we were loathe to give up our allegiance to Sentinel’s Hall so quickly, we kept our robes in case they should prove useful.

Meanwhile, friend Scratchand NabaYo Kinderhookian underwent an ordeal that makes me question all that I believe about the world. Buckles the bear was poisoned by a dart that was later revealed to have been dipped in Phalaxian lichen poison, a most evil and womanly way of slaying one’s enemies if I do say so. Nabayo told me a cloaked figure appeared to her at the foot of a Liridian tree, a tree needed to fulfill the prophecy of Isitha about healing Buckles with Nabayo’s tears, and gave her instructions to gather together the flowers of a Laridian tree, Halfling leaf, bat liver, the blood of a nobleman of Vulcarsgrave, and Vulcarian marble. Aerodosh, for that was the witch-woman’s name, said that if Nabayo combined these items into a paste, she would be able to save Buckles life and prove her worth to their order, the Hymnling Collective.

After much struggle and pain, Scratch and Nabayo were able to collect these items. They learned the secrets of the Alabasi Elves who first brought Vulcarian marble to the land, they successfully stole into a barn to shoot bats with fleet arrows, and ultimately convinced a nobleman to give up a drop of his blood, though I rather suspect the nobleman did a wise thing by offering up his blood; Nabayo was not going to take no for an answer. Upon returning to Aerodosh, Aerodosh withdrew a glowing seed and held it above Nabayo’s head. Nabayo had a dream vision, the details of which she seemed reticent to share with a lowly Dwarf, perhaps because it was too personal and the elf side of her desired privacy. Regardless, she did admit that Aerodosh informed her that she now has a deeper connection to nature. Nabayo, that seemingly cold and unshakable Nabayo, wept tears of bitter grief and sorrow and pain, and thus did she cure the bear and the bear did rise and Scratch did bear witness to a miracle of sorts. I would have given my beard all over again to witness such a scene.

Indeed, Nabayo seems changed, somehow deeper, like still water in a gully lake. These are old magiks at work, the connection that I will never know, like that of the mother to child, joined, growing together, the earth, Nabayo, Buckles, ocean to sand to seed. Alas, I am just an old warrior and set in my old warrior ways, but I do envy her connection to something greater than herself. With Buckles healed, Aerodosh told Nabayo that Nabayo’s very tears now have anti-toxin properties if wept in deep emotion. Scratch told me in confidence that he saw the very flowers move along with Nabayo’s own body movements. The earth is old and secret and wise.

At last Aerodosh gave Nabayo the sap of the Axamer flower, a potion that if smoked (and if the smoker survives the experience) will help Nabayo’s magical powers grow. In addition, a tattoo of the Hymnling Collective appeared on Nabayo’s hand. Aerodosh says that if we were ever to encounter any magical creatures or plants, we should bring it to her in the grove.

A far cry from the experiences of Woodbine, Donaldino, and myself! Finally, after what seemed like a fortnight, the Faterinos were brought back together at our makeshift flophouse. We determined that with some of our new found wealth, it would be prudent to invest in a piece of real estate to serve as our headquarters! The thought thrills me, at least, a home, a true home to make up for the dark halls of the Gloamingborn, now lost to me forever. We all slept a long time then, regaining strength, dreaming what dreams we would, whether ill or good, and awoke to find ourselves in the mouth of hell.

A creature 20 feet tall and composed of the corpses is rampaging the city. Its torso is comprised of men I personally killed. Is this the retribution promised by St. Cuthbert to to those who would kill for reasons impure? Is this his retribution in the form of the dead? I know not, all I know is that we are Faterinos, and we will not shy from our own fates. This may be the last journal entry that this old Dwarven fool ever makes. If so, let them say that we fought and died valiantly, and that the sins we may have committed were washed away and chastised in blood spilled freely, bravely, in the defense of the weak. To battle, friends, Faterinos, to battle and whatever hells await us.

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