Birthright - 4th Edition

Liriel's diary - Fifth entry

Galloway had a job for us all right.

He’d been monitoring the elven migration to Rhuobhe and is hoping for work if the Manslayer is indeed making a move. The neighboring countries will surely want the army there to prevent a possible attack. The prospect of fighting a legion of gheallies does not sit well with me and I can tell the rest of the group is not thrilled by the idea either.

Galloway sent us north to where one of his insiders found to be the source of the wererats (conveniently on the northern route elves from Tuarhievel would use to get to Rhuobhe). This was supposedly the warren where all the rats were coming from.

Travel was swift and in no time we arrived at our destination no time. The warren was well guarded and tried to devise a clever plan to get in with little problem. Govannon tried some illusionary work, but either it wasn’t terribly convincing or they were ready for possible intruders. We resorted to our specialty: focused attacks on leaders and quick and brutal dispatching of lesser targets. Aside from some trouble with larger dire rats, we were able to disable the outside forces.

We moved inside, wasting very little time, hoping to catch the rats unaware of what had happened on the battlements. We were assaulted with swarm after swarm of vermin and their wererat controllers. Wave after wave, they came at us. We finally were able to clear our backfield and move farther into the warren. Already our resources were running thin and a sense of urgency is running through to the group. Get to the heart of the warren, kill the rat king, and get out alive. Quick thinking and a long hallway aided us to meet the rats in what we’ve loving termed as the “meat grinder” to keep our backs clear and focus at the waves coming toward us.

Our brief rest is almost over. I just hope we can outlast them…

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Liriel's diary - Fourth entry

There has been too much on my mind to properly put pen to paper.

We returned from the Mhor’s lands with little fanfare. We were tired and just happy to see familiar faces. Galloway allowed us some time to clean up from the road before we had our debriefing meeting. I admit, I was too tired to pay much attention and was distracted by my own want of a good bed and simple food..

Galloway allowed us to go about our business so long as we were reachable. He had plans for the army concerning the wererat problem, but we could take what little rest until then.

Govannon and Majid eagerly returned to Dumaire with their eye on claiming the source under the city. Kenrick was convinced to do more research on the possible cure to lycanthropy, but you could see in the way he held himself and the set of his jaw that he had other things on his mind that he would rather do.

Javiero was only too glad to leave again and do whatever posturing humans of noble birth are want to do.

Miri has some idea to take Jude along with her to the Southern coast, but for what I’m not sure. They traveled with Fiara and I briefly before we headed off to the Elvenmere.

Our return home was quiet. Fiara said little, but she could probably feel the tension radiating off of me. This trip home, I was going to find my father and give him a piece of my mind. Fiara would stay here in the safety of our people and he would except that or else.

My mother, the picture of grace and courtesy that she is, was crying when we got home. In my centuries of life, I have never seen her cry. Not when my father and I came to blows over Fiara. Not when I left home in anger. She would not tell me what was wrong an maintained that it was “only nothing”. I didn’t know what to do, but as upset as I was at my mother’s distress I asked where my father was so I could deal with him. She said that he had left for a bit and turned the conversation to more pleasant topics. She never did like to see us fight.

I left Fiara with my mother and checked in with my uncle Jaedenar at the training schools. The mood was subdued, which was unusual. When I asked about my mother, he looked very sad. I knew they were as close as two siblings could get, so I pressed him as to what was wrong. I was not prepared for the answer.

Rhuobhe Manslayer called the ghaellies home…and my father answered the call.

He was apparently not the only one to leave, but I could not get the picture of my father out of my mind. How could he do this? How could he do this to my mother?

Ceallach Aurethrin. Tall for an elf, with the same golden blond hair and intense green eyes that I had. The same set of jaw when we were angry. The same temper and unwillingness to back down. We were always so similar, I was just a younger version of my father. I was, until I had Fiara. I think that bothered him more than anything. I became an embarrassment and my daughter was an abomination in his eyes. We hated each other ever since.

I decided to clear my mind. I searched for the old cabin from when I first met him. I wish I knew his name, something I could attach to the gentle face from so many years ago. Years ago… he…he won’t look the same now. Fifteen years wasn’t so long for me, but what about him? The only thing I could find in the cabin was a small coin left forgotten under the bed. Otherwise the place had not been touched. Maybe he forgot about me.

With so much sadness and heartache, I think it was time to leave again. I asked Fiara to stay here with my mother, but she didn’t want to. It didn’t feel like home for her. I couldn’t really blame her, but I had hoped.

We met back up with the rest of the Six at the source and discussed our plans over dinner. We were attached by a squad of wererats while eating. I think people were more annoyed that the Shepard’s pie was ruined than us being attacked in our own sanctum. After a brief and blood battle, we had a handful of “volunteers” for Kenrick’s cure. Fiara, I was told, cut the wererat leader in half after performing some amazing feats of dexterity and brutality. I think she’s starting to manifest blood powers, but I can’t recall anyone in the family having the ability to do what Miri described as “Fiara be in battle rage, run though waters, rip rat in half and kill good.” Miri seemed proud but my poor daughter was terrified. I will have to try to find out how I can help her.

Unfortunately we’re expecting Galloway soon, and will probably be deployed on another mission.

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Complications...

Dear Friend,
I apologize for not writing for so long, things have been fairly busy and the ink I have been using froze in the cold.
Now that I am inside a “warm” keep I finally have the chance to write once more.

I fear things have gotten more complicated.

Our paths have crossed with the halfling priestess Morga several times at this point… Most often ending in bloodshed.
Once again our paths crossed and I truly saw her for the first time.
This time she was not in the middle of an evil sacrifice, nor engaged in battle, she was simply sitting behind a table going through research notes.

Granted this was research on cruel experiments concerning wererat bites and blooded humans, but that is beside the point.
I have confidence we’ll get Yuri the elder out either tonight or tomorrow without any further fighting.
We just have to make sure the real buyers don’t arrive before then.

But I digress from what truly matters… I was struck by Morga’s true, if severe, beauty. Halfings and humans aren’t that different, one is just a little smaller than the other. We both have hopes and dreams and hearts which seek companionship.

It will be my pleasure to keep the lovely Morga distracted while my associates do what is required to free Yuri.
I know just thinking about her makes my heart race, and though she is awkward about showing it, I believe she feels the same.

I know I am not thinking entirely clearly as I write this, my thoughts are scattered. Without thinking I agreed to wait out the storm when she invited me to stay. I’m sure my associates will come up with some excuse to leave sooner, but I hope we at least have the time to enjoy dinner and a short rest…

Now the only real question is how to explain the room of slaughtered goblins…

-Tholecht

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Report back from
A clue to their whereabouts

_A crude calendar or dirty journal was discovered at the bottom of the mine shaft. It has been translated (as best as we could) from we think Vos to Low Brecht, and then translated it once more for you to read in your home tongue, my lord.

Perhaps it might give us a clue as to where those who ransacked the mine and your father’s personal affects went._
-
Spring – Jude turns 9. Fiaral turns 14 or 15. Time flies.
Must look nice for dancing.
Hate customs.
Old man discuss helmet. Helmet makes bones jump from skin once dead, and keep on fighting. Will not put on head until make sure not case.
Summer – Galloway have us stay about to quell Rats.
Priest look into curing rat problem. Will not allow test on Jude until sure.
Noble go work on talk and manners and looking good.
Bard go with Old Man to Baron Roseone’s daughter’s birthday celebration. Bard made Old Man’s Lieutenant. Old Man find power, is real Wizard now, not just Blacksmith. Getting older though. Worried.
Autumn – I have birthday. Also getting older. Have not had any response from letters sent for quite some time. Hear about Orog invasion in home, but some other group killing them and this is good.
Teach Jude Endurance, stay close enough to city in case he get sick.
Stillwater still like us, he lend Old Man, Priest, and Lieutenant Bard a lot of money.
Daughter go with mother to elf-land and they learn stuff.
More magic happen, stay out of it and hone skills.
Rat attack us, Fiaral walk on water and destroy Rat Chief.
Survivors will have rat cure tested on them.
They ruin shepard’s pie; Jude and me upset about that.
Will give him strength training tomorrow, so we not around in case rat people die.
Jude turning into good kid!

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Liriel's diary - Third entry

I was beginning to think that we would be stuck in the harsh north and that forgotten tomb for much longer than we intended.

We continued exploring the tomb dodging various traps and perils. We became more convinced of the age of the tomb when we found a hidden crypt for a dwarven couple. In our single-minded quest for the ring that King Bervinig spoke of while in his wolf form, we treaded onward and came upon perhaps one of the most disturbing things yet. Down a rough hewn tunnel we came across spectral stags fighting shadowy wraith-like beings. Truly Govannon was right. Maybe this was an ancient place dedicated to Reinir.

The battle with the wraiths was harrowing as they utilized strange mind-clouding powers and floated seamlessly across the battlefield. Once they were dispatched, we needed to rest. The lurking fear that if we rested, the strange sounds above us would let whatever they were catch up to us. We knew they were probably orogs. My thoughts turned to the children guarding the wagon above. Were they discovered? Were they alright?

In the hidden nook where we fought the wraiths, we found the item we had been questing all this time for. How could such a simple and small ring possibly hold the cure we were looking for?

We dashed through the rest of the winding corridors. Javiero and I decided last minute to go back to the dwarven tomb and take the axe we had found within. If there were truly orogs trudging through this tomb, we wouldn’t let them leave with anything valuable.

Small clashes with orog scouts alerted our presence to large groups. We took various short cuts and side corridors. It became a race to see if we could get out before we were ambushed. In all my years, I would never think that I would have owed our escape of the tomb to…a giant frog. As it turns out, this huge creature sided with us for some unknown reason and took care of the orogs as we escaped. Being eaten by a giant frog while perhaps not the best way to die, was more than fitting for those raiders.

Coming out of the tomb, we found the wreckage of our wagon and no sign of the children. Javiero was able to track them down. My quick thinking Fiara took Jude and hide. I am so proud of my little girl. It turns out we were gone for well over a day and we had a lot of time to make up as we fled the Rjurik province.

After buying some horses in one of the first towns we came to, we made much better progress in fleeing from the cold north.

The ride south was not as hard as the ride north. We decided to stop in Mhoried, as Javiero wished to pay a visit to their ruler Daeric Mhoried. We were greeted as honored guest and allowed to attend a state dinner complete with dancing and perhaps more social interactions that we needed. The night was full of ups and downs as Javiero prepared himself to be completely embarrassed by the rest of Galloway’s Six. While I won’t claim to fit in with most human ideas of proper and culture, I know how not to make a fool of myself. I also don’t appreciate the look he keeps giving Fiara when he thinks I’m not watching.

Kenrick apparently was an old friend of the Mhor’s son, and we soon found ourselves brought to an honored position at the high table (much to Javiero’s joy and the dismay of the rest of us). While not making total fools of ourselves, it was a long night. I look forward for our departure in the morning.

And if Javiero continues his “looks” at my daughter I might have to have more than a few words with him…

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A fragment from Javiero's field report

…clearly another hard won victory, thanks to myself and my Anuirean compatriot. Our respite from exploring the dark corridors of this tomb were interrupted, however, by that reckless twit Miri. If we ever find a switch, lever or button she doesn’t press, I’ll eat my bow. Needless to say, the floor beneath suddenly gave way and we found ourselves in an even deeper level. Kenrick and I were the first to recover from the fall, naturally, and were able to help the others get back on their feet quickly.

This level was like the one above, with strange carvings of people carrying offerings to some yet unknown destination. As I began to lead the party forward, we soon discovered this place was teeming with life…all of it hostile.

We came to a Great Hall of sorts, at least one suitable for the backwater kings in this place, with a beautifully carved wood and woven rug. That’s when they attacked. Kenrick was the first to notice, as a pair of Cockatrices leaped from the balcony and swooped down to attack. Without hesitation I drew my bow, filling one full of arrows. It dropped dead at my feet, as Kenrick smashed his mace against the other. The rest of the party scrambled, caught completely unaware. Fortunately, with natural Anuirean leadership on the field, they were able to ready themselves quickly. Miri, for all her failings, is a competent fighter and was able to finish off the second Cockatrice with Kenrick’s help.

Now on guard, Kenrick and I continued to lead the party forward, deeper into this ancient tomb. It is a literal menagerie down here, with everything from ghost wolves (who looked for offerings of meat), talking bears (which guarded this strange magic healing circle), a talking stone bird (trapped by this tomb’s owner), a giant frog (aside from being giant, seemed normal) and giant bugs (food for previously mentioned bird). Whatever the purpose of this place might have once been, it is now nothing more than a trap. A trap we must dismantle piece by piece to discover the ring we seek. Unfortunately, time was short as I heard footsteps on the level above. We were followed and hurried our search. That’s when…

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The Power of a Name, The crushing of snow.

We finally sat down and worked out a name, my previous idea was much to wordy. We settled on something that rolled off the tongue, CSI, short for Cold Steel Initiative.

Getting that matter of business out of the way allowed us to focus on our next job.

Yuri the younger hired us to find Yuri the older.

For finding him, we get paid regardless if he's dead or alive… 500 each if we find him alive or 200 if he's dead.

On investigating the sight he disappeared from, we came to the belief that it was not Orogs who abducted him as expected.

Calling on an eye from the sky, Kahles led us to a blatently obvious ambush of snow monsters… Which we quickly dispatched. 

The truth behind what happened will hopefully be found in the abandoned mine before us…

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Return to Civilization!

At last! We have returned to civilization.

The assault on the Orag encampment went fairly smoothly, no severe difficulties.
On return we were given "the best boat available" and we sailed to the nearest port city.
It felt good to be around a port again!

And I was pleased to learn that news of my prowess as an Orog slayer had spread.
We considered leaving immediately, but instead decided to milk my reputation and earn some coin.

To help us with that task, we did discuss naming our group, after all a memorable name is critical for success!

We have a handful of suggestions, but really none of them cut it…

  • (Evzen's) Merry Men
  • The Orog Hunting Company
  • Anuiran East Cerilia Trading Company
  • East Sea Traders or the East Sea Company

Since we are building off my fame, I may just declare we are "The M.M.A.C", short for "The Merry Marauders Adventure Company". (or maybe Merry Marauders Eastern Trade Company)
Its a compromise using something from everyone.

Assuming the price is right our first task will be undertaking a small rescue operation.

That's all for now.
-Tholecht

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Liriel's diary - Second entry

Battle scarred and bruised, I woke in an unfamiliar bed. I blinked at in the candle light and barely made out the sobbing figure keeping vigil over me. I reached out to stroke that familiar hair…he had found me again…after all these years…he found me. A cry of “mom”snapped me back to the present. Of course he wasn’t here. Fiara, our daughter. My Fiara, my little fiery one…what happened?

I remembered the old Rjurik king. He had fallen in battle as we beat back the orog forces. The keep burned around us, but some how the king’s eye’s snapped open and he surged forward to chase after the retreating scarred orog champion. We panicked. We were bloodied and bruised. We had lost most of the guard forces of the keep. Javiero was still unconscious and Kenrick had just recently been revived. Majid and I were horrified as the king began his berserker charge against the Scarred Champion again with Govannon chasing after him to support him. We all chased after the king, not knowing what we were going to get ourselves into.

The Scarred Champion was focused on his retreat as we hounded him through the outskirts of the castle. We knew that if he reached the causeways and alleys of the city itself, he was as good as gone. The Rjurik king traded blows with his foe but ultimately fell in battle once again, this time for good. Though the battle raged around us, the power of his blood flowed out and around to us and throughout the city. There was no time to mourn the king because the Scarred Champion continued his retreat. Govannon’s iron filing monster harried him to the left and I tried to cut off his escape route. None of us were prepared for what followed. Where the fallen king’s body lay, there was a shudder and his skeleton exploded out from his flesh, eyes glowing, the monstrosity continued the fallen king’s assault on the Scarred Champion. Though terrifying, it was quickly dispatched.

I fell in battle shortly there after, but my poor daughter relayed the rest of the harrowing ordeal. She cried hysterically in telling of how she struck the blow that ended the Scarred Champions life. My poor little one had never killed another living being. I tried to comfort her as best as I could, but I knew there was much left to do.

As soon as I was able I sought out Eoindeln, the elven ambassador whom I had met briefly before the siege. He was no where to be found. I continued to look while the others took to various means to make themselves helpful to the survivors of the siege. Fiara and I found a letter writen in Sidhelien from him, but it was not what we expected. I took the letter to Majid and showed him the warning Eoindeln had left. It seemed the king’s sons were coming home, and they were not friends of my people. We gathered the rest of the Six and prepared to make a hasty retreat before we found ourselves in the midst of possible waring heirs.

We gathered in the stables and as we were about to embark on our journey home, Javiero noticed the horses were spooked about something and it appeared there were wolf prints in the stables. We followed them briefly and came face to face with perhaps the largest wolf I have ever seen. The wolf spoke the language of man well enough and claimed to be the fallen King Bervinig. He instructed us to take the helm of Jarl Skappa for his sons were not worthy to wear it and told us we must also retrieve the ring from where we found the helm. We stood there dumbfounded as the wolf bound away after delivering his message and disappeared off the cliffs near the shore. Govannon went back to retrieve the helm and we found ourselves heading back to the forgotten tomb.

We left the children guarding the entrance, not thinking we would be long. Little did we realize we would be gone long enough to worry. We found a hidden staircase and began our descent down into the forgotten catacombs looking for the ring. As I finish up this entry, I hope we can make a swift escape from these lands and head back home.

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Burnt Note, Translated
From Vos to Anuerian to Low Brecht

M – It was found by one of the side entrances long ago after the battle of Halskappa, or something Castle to that effect. The Anuerian definition is sketchy at best, so I’m making do with what I’ve got here. Going from one language to another is tricky enough; tack on a third and… well, you know. You’re in class with me. Anyway, here you go. – J

—so worried and angry. Why attack senselessly? Do not know if child will make it. Praying to Kenrick’s god that he does, as he seems to bless the healing around here. Discouraged on how battle went. Many parts of the city burnt or destroyed, leading up to [Halskappa]. King is in bad way: can feel it. Antlers exhausting him, ring getting him up when he should be down. ‘Lo, do I see his fathers, and his mothers, and all of them that go back to the beginning’, and yet Miri do not even remember when this all started, this battle. It went on fiercely. Quickly. …forever. And one got away.
One. Got. Away.
Am proud of children for fighting, even though they were told to stay safe and hidden. Must face facts that child Jude might die. If he die, Miri give him proper Vos burial. If anyone complain, Miri will do it alone. Will take rat as tattoo trophy, and totem in honor of child Jude, if he die. Have better understanding of that whole situation now.
…Miri going to kill that bastard who struck Jude.
Going to kill him dead.

…might want to go back and write better, second letter, so as to not upset family…

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