By Rahoof (Steven D.)
My Dearest Haranna,
I know that you will never read this letter, but I have no one else to talk to. This is the first time in weeks I have been able to find a place to rest, even if it is a brothel. Relax my love, there are no Dragonborn ladies here, and even if there were, they could never match your beauty.
I’m writing this evening because I’m trying to piece together my time here in Black River so far. I’m having trouble remembering things. I do remember arriving in Griffin’s Roost and being told that the best to get information on someone was to go to a bar nearby. And who’s the first person I see there? Charani! I gotta hand it to her, the girls got spunk. I didn’t actually believe that she would show up. I’m lucky she was there. I needed to see a familiar face, and more importantly someone I could trust. She introduced me to her friend, a rouge named Chet. Chet is just a boy, no taller than what Heskan was. He introduced us to Heykid, the owner of the bar. I asked the two of them if they had seen the man who killed you and the kids, and though the help of their contacts we were able to determine where he was headed. We grouped up with a ranger named Vandil in order to follow the killer.
As soon as we left the bar, the sky above us began to darken. A shadow moved quickly above us, and a red dragon landed in the city! He declared dominion over Black River and demanded 80% of their profits to be delivered to him in two weeks. Sucks for Black River. I don’t plan on being here in two weeks, sounds like their problem, and a big problem at that. I was a child the last time I had seen a dragon, and it wasn’t a red one. I was reminded of why we pray to them and the draconic gods, although I don’t pray anymore.
The next thing I remember is being in a cave face to face with an ooze creature with my greatsword in my hands. I quickly looked around and saw Charani face down on the ground next to us. That was all I need to know. This ooze was going to die. I swung my great sword at it, and with the help of Chet and Vandil we were able to take the disgusting creature down.
Wait a minute, what happened to Heykitd? Why isn’t he here with us? Did he die? My memory is failing me right now. And where is my longsword? It was silvered and cost a shiny copper to get it. I’m not going to tell you how much Haranna but trust me, it was a good deal.
When we finally killed the ooze, Charani had to tell me what we were doing there in the first place. I’m still trying to make sense of it, but apparently we had taken a ship to the island of Tapa-Coco to find the killer. When we docked at Port Kulan, we ran into Vicentos, a Tiefling I had first met in Summerport.
I don’t trust Vicentos. He’s…weird. He’s the type of person who always does what is best for him, and whether or not he’ll help you or not is completely dependent on if he can get something out of it.
Anyways, he pointed us in the direction of the Quartermaster of the island, for reasons I cannot for the life of me remember why, and we end up at an old house that’s guarded by a silent hooded man. We went in and found a hidden stairway that led us to the dungeon that were in now. Apparently, the Quartermaster was the ooze monster we had just killed, and was working for the killer. I’m told I charged right at him right after he said something.
“He enjoyed painting the walls with their blood”
I can’t look at it. It makes a fire burn within me. I need to calm down. I need to rest.
After killing the ooze we found a golden dagger within the dungeon, and Cedric, the mute body bodyguard of the house, told us through body language that it was a key to…something. Talking to a man with his tongue cut out gets annoying after a while. We asked him if he has seen the person we’re looking for. He gives a description of a someone that sounds like who we’re looking for, except he’s an elf instead of a human. Maybe the Sanctus patrol isn’t good as everyone says they are. He tells us Vicentos is at a brothel that I am currently at right now, and we should go there and talk to him.
Haranna, I brought a boy of 16 into a brothel. Charani is not much older, and Vandil is the age we were when Heskan was born. I am the oldest in this group, but I am by far being the most reckless. I wasn’t the best father in the world, and this is just reconfirming that.
We finally meet with Vicentos and he gives us everything he knows about the killer. How he knows him, how long he has known him, his ties to the royal family… and his name.
That is the piece of shit’s name. Just writing it down makes my blood boil.
Vicentos has agreed to set up a meeting with us and this person, and we were able to schedule it for three days from now outside of the city, but I don’t know if I trust Vicentos. He isn’t getting anything out of this meeting, and he has known this contact for 15 years.
Only time will tell. And now I have to do the two hardest things for me in the world right now, wait, and fall asleep without you.
By Sigrunn (Adam F.)
For those who don’t know the Marchwarden was the leader of the settlers who founded Black River Island. He survived the loss of the island to the Hags and Sauhaugin. He was held prisoner and tortured yet survived to be the one who welcomed newcomers to the region at the Griffon’s Roost docks. Giving advice and guidance to to those who came to this wild land. A few weeks ago a wounded tortle appeared seeking aid. Soon after, the Marchwarden left the roost muttering about sauhaugin, his hated foes.
Word went out that a search for him would be organized and heroes from across Sanctus came to find the person responsible for the survival of the settlement here. Before we could be gathered a small group of our friends discovered Dougal on an island to the south when they had gone to rescue the tortles who the wounded one had left behind. He was being held chained in a cage, under guard. Our job would be harder, but not impossible.
Our team had gathered, Liam, Heykitd, Kellen, RAWQ, Scaro, Namfoodle, Meville, and Udoroth would be supported by three clerics, the recently restored Meralda, Kanyu and myself. We spoke to those who had discovered Dougal, getting insight into our foes before heading to meet Hamilton and board his ship. He had made this journey and knew the route. He wasn’t happy to be returning but our mission was of great importance and he knew it.
Aboard Hamilton’s ship we sailed for Tortle Island. There being so many of us that we displaced the crew and had to sail the ship ourselves under Hamilton’s guidance. Before we reached the island though we were met by our first challenge. The giant shark and sauhaugin who had attacked them on their prior journey attacked again. We managed to repel them with great damage to the ship, however, Kenyu and Liam were prepared and used their magic to Mend the vessel.
Once we reached land we set out to find the village. Kellen and Namfoodle again took to the air astride the Griffin that we had all heard so much about. This land was both green and black. Foliage covered the parts of the island that were untouched by the lava flows that had spilled from the volcano we marched towards. We soon came to a river that sliced through the charred land and were attacked again by the sauhaugin. Both the larger 4 armed and smaller 2 armed versions of the creatures attacked. We fought hard, especially once a fire elemental and these antlered flying monstrosities joined against us. I went down at one point in our battle lucky to survive. I may be heavily armed and armored but being outnumbered will eventually bring low any of us.
Once the enemy lay dead before us Udoroth, who is quite the forceful personality once let loose placed the head of one of the sauhaugin leaders upon the end of his sword and we resumed our march towards the village.
We repaired the decrepit bridge across the lava flow before we crossed, bringing a brief moment of heavy guard for those not engaged in the project. Once across and outside of the gates Udoroth demanded their surrender to the terms of the Treaty. Their response was to open fire upon us. We retaliated, as they would seem to be bent on dominating the island and wiping away any who opposed them. The dozen creatures who stood against us fell with little fanfare. They had been set to guard the tunnel into the mountain where Kellen had spotted them taking Dougal. We, of course, followed.
We followed the downward sloping tunnel to a large cavern, where we spotted what appeared to be a sauhaugin priestess and pair of water elementals. I believe Udoroth demanded surrender again but the ensuing battle made me forget the certainty of that fact. Needless to say, their response was violent. We engaged in battle, our primary goal was the Marchwarden who was chained to the group undergoing some foul ritual. Freya be honored that we managed to stop their evil designs. Battle was joined and we fought hard. Magic and blades, hammers and bows sent blood and elements flying. We healed and injured and somewhere into this mess rose what I would later learn was a Hydra, a similar beast to the one my small group saw when we found the Orc stronghold.
Our lives were in danger, as our spells were low, we were tired and the enemy was in its element. Fortune seemed to smile upon us when Liam reappeared, having been torn away by a surge of his magics. Yet it wasn’t as the evil in this place caused his wild magic to injure friend and foe alike. It seemed that all should fall until we brought the hydra down.
Once we managed to slay the beast some of us moved to rescue Dougal while others went after the priestess and her minions who had managed to kidnap Scaro in the heat of battle. Dougal once freed went to kill the foul female who had been torturing him. Those of us who could not follow under the water waited for our friends many long agonizing minutes.
Soon though our allies surfaced and we learned of the ancient Sea Elf lair and the treasures below that the vile sauhaugin were attempting to subvert. Our foes on the island were dead, and soon we left to return to our home. Dougal though knew that this was not over. Their was a sauhaugin nest in the sea between Black River and Tortle Island that soon would need to be taken care of.
Back at Griffin’s Roost we celebrated victory and healed from our wounds. Those who set out all returned and would soon be back to their normal ways. Dougal though, something had been done to him. Something had been broken inside. May Freya heal him of the darkness they pressed on his soul, or he may never find peace.
By Sigrunn (Adam F.)
I had returned to Great Scale Village to check on Vecca’s progress with the potion ingredients that I had given her over a week ago. I came across my friend Krolan who was still here working to further secure the village and the region around it. We discussed the need to find the Harbinger that my friend Jaewyn encountered with the Sorcerer Liam and Sir Martius. Krolan had of course heard of the menace and when I realized that Liam was still here and that Sir Martius was on his way I decided to join them in tackling this beast.
We headed west, encountering the decay two hours closer to the village than before. The blight was horrible as death and decay were taking everything. I begged my Goddess for guidance and Liam the same from his patron. I was given a way to get us home and he was guided onward.
We continued west without encountering anything. Until the end of the first day when we heard a noise in the distance. Krolan and Liam snuck ahead while the old warrior and I followed at a distance. What we discovered were three “demonic Centaurs”. They were sparing with each other using hoof, claw and spiked tails. We attacked, hoping to defeat them quickly and take one prisoner. We rapidly killed the first, who fell on top of Sir Martius when it died, leaving him pinned and us short handed. These creatures were resistant to magic so we used our weapons and pounded them down. Once we were down to the last one we attempted to subdue it but it would not surrender and we sent it to meet its maker. We discovered nothing on them except a sword that our warrior was in need of. We spent the night nearby as the battle had taxed us mightily.
After the battle we soon heard a monster moving through the trees. Krolan investigated and discovered what he believed to be a hydra moving away. We chose to let it go as these creatures are known to be very powerful despite this one looking injured.
We rested nearby only to be awakened when a black pudding slipped under Krolan and attacked. We fought the beast, slowly chopping it into smaller pieces and using a bit of faith to burn away most of the pieces. Once the pudding was dealt with we continued on our way. We encountered the dessicated corpse of what appeared to be one of the Long Claw Lizardfolk.
Unable to do anything for him we moved onward until we encountered a well travelled path that would eventually lead us to the Long Claw Village. Upon reaching the gates, which were open and unguarded we hear the sounds of forges and stone working. And find the corpses of what we believed to be their chief and shaman both staked outside of the gates. I prayed to Freya to grant their souls peace and the souls of those who fell defending this village. We knew we had reached the center of the corruption, and the source of the darkness spreading through the region.
Krolan climbs an abandoned tower and discovers a village filled with what are believed to be orcs. The Huts of the lizardfolk are slowly being replaced but more sturdy structures of wood and metal. We decide to sneak around the village to a mound at the north end where all of the activity is taking place. We attempt to investigate the construction to discover what they are building. The best we can make out is that they are using the surviving lizardfolk to build a portal to the Abyss or wherever this Harbinger is from.
We devise a plan to slow down the work to buy us time to report what we have learned. I loan my amulet of disguise to Krolan who uses it to appear like an orc and once there is a gap in the guards near the portal and goes silently over the wall. He moves through the village and finds a group of rather flamable looking buildings and pours some lantern oil on and around them then sneaks back to us. We retreat to the farthest point that Liam can still cast a spell and the Sorcerer sets the place on fire.
We soon hear that we have done something terrible. Cries of pain and laughter fill the air along with the smoke. We run with the realization that we have likely killed the remaining Long Claws, exterminating their clan. My soul is heavy as I run, praying for forgiveness from Freya for the actions of me and my friends. We run all night, as exhaustion hits us we reach Great Scale Village and tell the guards that in the morning we must meet with Dol’kal and the village elders.
When the sun begins to rise we are awakened and brought to the chief and his elders. There is no sign of Salazar, which bothers me on some level. We relate our journey, no good news comes from our lips. Sorrow for the loss of life echoes through the hall and though no blame is laid on us I feel a pain in me that I must meditate upon.
The Great Scale are caught between the Harbinger to the west and the Dragon to the east and are unable to do anything for their lost cousins. We move on, back to Fort Providence to parley with others. Based on what Liam and Sir Martius told us on how far the blight has spread, we have about four months to solve this problem before it reaches Great Scale Village and a few more before it overtakes Fort Providence.
We may have to gather a large party to deal with the threat in the west. I will get the word out to our friends and then place myself before the altar of my goddess to cleanse the darkness from my soul.
By Sigrunn (Adam F.)
Cael, my friend the half-elf Paladin and I were sitting at Heykitd’s enjoying a meal and discussing the events in the region over the past few months. When he decided that he wanted to head up to Proximus Flumen and see what lies beyond the southern outpost where they were encountered. He and I make a good team having twice gone into the field together so having no pressing matters until the start of next month. We put the word out that we were heading north to see what is going on up there.
Our notice gathered a halfling wizard who was right off the boat named Meville, a gnome wizard named Ponzi (a shortened version of the typical long gnomish name) and a human fighter named Merchelm. The human and gnome knew each other from discovering a mine. The three of them had just arrived at Fort Providence from Griffin’s Roost and decided that they would like to see these dragonborn that everyone is talking about.
We headed west in some canoes that Cael rented from Hamilton, crossing the bayou to reach the river. We reached the river without incident but were soon attacked by the bullywogs that call the bayou home. They and their giant toad proved to be no match for us but the toad was a match for one of our boats. After the fight we headed out on foot.
We headed north until we had to camp for the night. During my watch we were attacked again by bullywogs and some poisonous snakes. Killed the snakes and one of the bullywogs before the others ran. I collected the snakes for Vecca as I know that she is always looking for potion ingredients.
The next day we continued our march along a path made by some sort of herbivore. We crossed the river and killed another giant toad before I snapped my crossbow string nearly putting out my eye. We moved up river again and I think crossed over again. I lost track of the crossings we made. Merchelm turned out to be a boating savant or something, I’ve never seen someone handle watercraft like he did. Makes me wonder if he was a pirate before taking up this life of adventure.
We found the herbivore, it was a Sea Cow that also went onto land, some sort of green amphibian? It didn’t bother us so we didn’t bother it.
The next night,during third watch, when we were maybe a day or so from the outpost, when we were awakened by crashing footsteps right before one of those hill giant monsters broke through the trees. We went right into battle mode with everything we had. I encountered these creatures during my first days here and knew them to be tough. Spells flew and swords flashed. The giant threw a tree at us and missed before we brought him low. We found a trove of stuff in his pack in the morning and divided it up between us to haul home. We also drained its blood and took its fingers and toes. We were battered and tired and decided to head back to Great Scale Village so that our new friends could meet our allies.
We headed back down river once the giant had been disposed of hoping to get back without incident. We were not that lucky as three giant crocodiles attacked us. We were unable to defeat the beasts, in fact Merchelm went down and I had to revive him. Once he was up we ran, distracting them with an illusion.
We managed to get to GSV without further encounters. We divided up the loot, I managed to find a magical crossbow with his belongings and a fair amount of gold. I gave Cael half of the fingers and toes as he is attempting to craft some magic items then gave the rest, along with the poisonous snakes to Vecca to make what she could out of them. It will take her at least a week to make anything out of them so when I come back this way at some point I will see what she has managed to craft. I also turned over all of the unwanted items to the village. They, like most societies of this developmental stage, can make use of things that we would consider useless.
Once that was done we returned to Fort Providence to discover that there was quite a bit of excitement during our five day journey but that is not my story to tell.
The journal entries here are provided by the active player characters participating in the Detroit Marches.
All Abaza Amaranth Aredhel Lethe Astrid Gilrin Atuji Of Clan Greatscale Audra Ayten Gilrin Basil Benedict Greenfield Black River Swamp Blackscale Brea Daergle Brynn Bryn Naikaho Cavalier's Watch Chat Clan Shimmerscale Crimson Surgeon Cylowboborow Nonsoon Demogorgon Diamondshard Banwyze DILONDORG KAAL Doros Doross Dorros Dredge Dufdor Dwain Eilis Eilis Gilrin Eladrinne Escobar Fagan Far Reach Fort Providence Gator Rock Genji The Wererat Glin Ybendawien Droat Golden Apple Great Cataclysm Griffin's Roost Grildor Trueforge Haldor Kemleigh Ham Hamilton Hekili Nalani HEYKITD GETOFF MELAYN Icegate Jerimiah Jerwin Jinn Kanyu Il Senya Kathra Kegrove Kellen McCall Kenku Kiera Lyssandria Kohaku Ruim Koltalon Kresh Krolan Kunyata Kar Leatherhead Liam Buckham Liana Lindir Lizardfolk Longtail Lucretzia Borgia Makani Pahili Malmir Merelda Meznen Midden Heap Mindartis Morgrimm Naill Amakir Namfoodle Nehi Xum Nehi-Xum New Cadeni Njord Noric Synphase Noxochiyotl Obelisks Of The Bayou Omgar Onen Peter The Wolf Phoncledeh Player Character Journal Entry Polar Bear Polg Pollen Quinzli Rabbits Ralthor Rawq Elrid Rhogar Roscoe Greenfeld Rotten Morgan Bonecrusher Rube Lastname Ruins Salazar Sang Woo Ser Mathius Shaena Tosscobble Silent Mockingbird Som Sorrel Summerport Syndar Beratos Tabaxi Tainted Falls Teddy Bear Tharrus The Fist Theobold Peacekeeper Thur’a’ugh Tormund Firehammer Tortles Treewalker Truss Stacianodel Udoroth UDOROTH THAMMILIDAAR Umberlee Underdark Valaquaraptors Vandil Varron Greensleeves Vengir Duskhallow Verloren Yuan Ti Zorak Dreadmast