O.S.M. and Friends

Exerpts from the journals of Ragnor the Merchant

Journal Entry, Day Three

The boat trip was a hellish experience I have no wish to repeat. A dwarf doesn’t belong on a water; even a large vessel such as this one, you can still feel the pitch and roll of the water. It’s enough to make me want to heave the only decent meal I’ve had since departing port. The only comfort has been this human swill they call ‘rum’. Bah, it’s made from molasses and sugarcane, too sweet and dainty for my taste. They aren’t much to look at or talk to, but they did teach me a game of dice to pass the time with. I try to lose as much as I win; these men work hard for their coin and they shouldn’t lose it to someone like me, not all of it anyway. I do enjoy the gaming and the ‘sea stories’ they tell me more than actually winning the coin itself. I’ve been told we should be in port on the morrow and then we can find this damnable ‘wizard’ and drop off this lantern, collect our pay and be done with it.
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The Elf, Black Leaf, seems to think it will be no trouble at all. What does that grass eater know? My gut tells me, get a decent meal before we leave, and nothing is ever as easy as you think it is. That, you can count on. Having said that, I hope that flower picker is right and we can conclude our business here

Journal Entry, Day Eight
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Well seems I was correct. The ‘Wizard’ isn’t here and hasn’t been here for weeks. The only more unreliable than a wizard is an elf. We weren’t going to get anywhere waiting around for the wizard, so I tricked the Inn keeper into revealing which room the wizard had been staying in. Once no one was looking, I let myself into his room and took a peek at what he left behind. The locks in this place were so worn down and in such bad shape, they couldn’t have kept me out even if they wanted to. Of course, his room was a mess; papers with strange writing and pictures doodled on them were scattered about, but I found some notes he made that seemed to relate to the his research. It seems he was hunting for something called the ‘Throne of Dreams’. Sounds like something only an Elf would create. The wizard believed it was located below a place called the ‘Fawn Steppes’.
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So the party and I decided to head to the Steppes tomorrow and see if the wizard is there, so we can collect our payment and go. We recruited a Cleric of Tanis to accompany us since we have no healer or anyone smarter than myself. Grizz seems to have a good head on his shoulders for a human, that coupled with his ability heal and treat injury, should prove useful if things go bad. An old friend of mine, Terrick the quarter dwarf, runs a smithy in town; he filled me in on the local legends concerning the Fawn Steppes. It seems like it used to be used by the worshipers of Bacchus in days long since passed. Like everything else that is old, it was simply forgotten.

Journal Entry, Day Ten
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The human’s complaining about the climb to the temple took longer than the actual walk itself. All I could here was ‘Ragnor, can we rest? I’m exhausted, my feet hurt. I’m thirsty, we need to stop. Ragnor, I broke my leg and I can’t walk, can you carry me?” How a species as soft as this one, has survived for so many years, is truly beyond this dwarf’s ability to comprehend. Well surprise, surprise! The wizard was nowhere to be found. We did in fact find a dead horse and a cart containing some wine and oil. There seemed to be some sort of ritual done here involving the burning of the wine. I was able to decipher some of the symbols on the pillars, near the entrance. It seems to be a lunar chart of some sort. The wizard’s notes refer to a portal or entry way, below the steppes. We are going to try to recreate the ritual; gods help us and follow the wizard, to wherever he disappeared to. The rest of the group seems to think this is a good idea but it seems rash and foolish. What did I expect from some whiny humans and a grass eater? If you ask me, I believe we should just sell this lantern to a collector and cut our losses, but no. No one listens to Ragnor, so down we go. Fools!
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So, according to the pillars the next opportunity to open the way should be tomorrow at midnight, of course. To ease the tension and sate my thirst, I drank a little of the wine that was here and by the taste I’m not sure if Bacchus would even accept an offering. It tastes like vinegar and crap! The wizard must have been cheap to have purchased this swill. I wouldn’t give this to my worst enemy, though he’d probably drink it anyway, that sappy pointy eared twit. Well, with any luck, Bacchus won’t strike us down for it. After all, we didn’t bring the offering, the Wizard did.

Journal Entry, Day Twelve
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Well the ritual worked despite the poor quality wine. Bacchus must be a desperate god to accept that has an offering. The doorway into the Steppes opened, just like the pillar said it would and like the fools we are, down we went. The day of course was plagued with problems and delays. The humans bickered among themselves about everything. ‘Do we go left or do we go right? Do we open that door? Who will open that door? Which hand should I use to turn the knob?’ Oh, their stupidity and ignorance was maddening! As they argued and prattled on, a blue mist began to form at our feet. The strange vapor caused anyone who spends a prolonged amount of time in it to fall into a deep sleep. I needed their help to escape this place, so I called it to their attention so that they did not perish right then and there. As we stumbled through the temple, we encountered several groups of goblins. One of these groups had an ogre with them. Now things were starting to get interesting. We tried to interrogate one of the goblins for information, but its head was about as empty as the rest of these fools.
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Grizz took the lead at questioning this small, mindless thing, since he could speak in their foul tongue. Anything the goblin would have said was probably a lie anyway. We continued to search several rooms and anything of use. We did however, a natural hot spring that flowed into this place at some point in time. Apparently, the worshipers of Bacchus made it into a bath house of some sort. I don’t want to know. I located the source of the blue mist; it seems to be pouring from a statue, a statue of female holding an urn. I managed to clog the urn with rags from the goblin we dispatched earlier and the mist has finally dissipated allowing us to move around freely now. It seems that we are going to rest here for time being; we found a relatively defensible room the goblins were cowering in. In this room is what I can only describe as a well of wine. Only a human would waste good drink and make it well. The Elf got it in his head that swimming in the wine well was a good idea. He thought there might be something at the bottom of the well and so without another thought, in he drove. I wonder if Tannis can cure alcohol poisoning…I know there is no divine cure for stupidity, or at least don’t think there is.
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Journal Entry, Day Thirteen
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It seems that the gods do smile on fools and simpletons. Black Leaf survived his wine diving escapade and to make matters worse, he found a silver cup at the bottom of the well. It isn’t worth much, but… it only encourages them to do the stupidest things they can think of. If this species did not breed like orcs, I believe they would be extinct by due to their foolishness. Again, were attacked by what we initially took to be undead goblins, however upon a second death, they seemed to heave up a foul mess of large, purple colored worms. These ‘worms’ then seemed to group together and working in concert they managed to start towards us in a writing mass. We quickly dispatched them with our torches; the smell from the charred carcasses was worse than a kobold’s dung heap! As we ‘progressed’ deeper into the temple, the corruption of this place was becoming more evident. Are these worms some sort of hive mind, like insects or are they being controlled by someone or something more sinister? One of the rooms we discovered had a large blazing fire that took up half the room. The fire must be magical in nature since there was no wood or tinder to keep it blaze; the amount of heat it gave off was minor compared to its size. Sorcery of some sort, I’m sure of it. We also found also several dead trees growing out of the floor. I’m sure when Bacchus reigned here they would bloom and provide edible fruits, though now, they more than dead husks.
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In the middle of the blaze was a statue; the statue was holding a mirror or window of some design. There was an image of a man in black robes sitting on a throne of I believe. I am certain this must be the Throne of the Dreamer the wizard’s notes described. Black Leaf decided to shoot an arrow at the mirror and missed. The image in the mirror must have been aware of us; he reacted without warning and attacked us. Large tendrils of flame leaped from the pit and lashed about the room striking us and causing severe burns on our flesh in places where flames touched. We retreated out of room and Grizz came to our aid and healed us. We then located a pit in the floor hidden by illusionary magic. A rope attached to a large spike made it pretty easy to locate; so we decided to rest and recover, since we could not find the exit to this accursed place. The foulness of this temple makes my sleep difficult, though despite that I am sure that exhaustion will get the better of me.
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Journal Entry, Day Fourteen
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The morning started off bad and didn’t get any better. Ingamar’s snoring made what sleep I could get, broken and un-restful. I considered smothering him but dismissed the idea, for now. He does have his uses. After a quick breakfast we climbed down the pit and discovered a large cavern with a natural staircase descending down to a doorway. Inside this doorway the room has been worked and more of those dead trees stand in rows. Doom waited amongst the trees however. Large cocoons were hidden by the branches and these cocoons disgorged large versions of the worms we encountered above. The battle with them was fierce and dangerous. These worms seem to secrete some sort of paralyzing slime, which quickly overcame the frailer members of our party. With most of them paralyzed, only Black Leaf, Olmar, and myself remained. Black Leaf turned and ran like the flower picking coward I knew him to be. Olmar and I defended our downed companions and fought to the last. Olmar failed to protect his flank, and that was his downfall as the creatures eventually overcame his as well. I had dispatched the remaining worms and had moved to follow Black Leaf only to see the true horror of these creatures. The worm had paralyzed Black Leaf and had left a thick slime his chest. The fear in the elf’s eyes was visible as it lowered its “face” above his and spewed out thousands of smaller, tinier worms all over the elf’s face, most notably, into his mouth. The worms crawled into every orifice on his face and head. I dispatched the large worm on his chest and did my best to try and help the fool but the worms were everywhere. In his nose and mouth, down his gullet, and I even saw one burrow into his eye. I would not wish his fate on anyone, even one such as Black Leaf. Killing the Elf had always been a fantasy of mine but I took no pleasure in cleaving his head from his body, granting him a swift and merciful death. Once our group was whole again, we burned the Elf’s body as a precaution against infection. That by itself should have been the worst memory of my day, but it seemed there was no reprieve for us. While I waited for paralytic effects to wear off of my companions, I found a metal door hidden amongst the dead trees. It was locked, though I made short work of the lock using my own natural born Dwarven ingenuity and before long I had it open. I now regret making that decision. Inside were two people, who claimed to be members of a group who came here with the wizard, damnable fool! One was an Elf who called himself ‘Bra’aq’; another grass eater, I should have known. The other, a human who claims to be a wizard but refuses to give his name; perhaps he feels some strange attachment to his name. Ulff has started calling the wizard ‘Cupcake’ since we had nothing better to call him. I never thought someone would make me miss that coward Black Leaf. Bra’aq seems a little slow and a bit dim witted, though he is brave, if not foolish. At least he’s much better shot than Black Leaf, gods his rest cowardly soul.

Comments

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Frost815

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