Sart’s Journal, 5th of Pharast, the Day of the Dead
Tonight, weary from another battle, we sleep in an evil place. We have abandoned the night to the walking dead, and instead lie weary but wary in the lair of a witch.
This morning we were met with a tragedy. The tall pale people found the lifeless body of one of their own, Ephram. This was the man that played the pipes for yesterdays crossing. His body was found near the swamp and his pipes were missing. The tall pale people at first suspected us, but they more greatly suspected it was the work of a nearby witch who lived across a swamp. The swamp covers an old graveyard, a dangerous place to travel on the day of the dead. Despite their loss, the tall pale people did not want to go.
Marcello volunteered to journey to the witches lair and if we could find them, retrieve the pipes for them. Given another chance to challenge evil, Rohan and I naturally offered to join him. Our new friend Ettiene came along as well. Falingus, smelling something unnatural, would not journey into the swamp with me, but Nuade, my brave pony agreed to accompany us.
Marcello performed some special ritual that would hide us from the undead during our journey. With the protection of Pharast, we entered the swamp. The fog was thick, which suggested the witch did indeed have command of the magical pipes. It kept us blind. While we met with no undead, we were twice surprised on our journey to the lair. Once goblins attacked us. We drove them off.
We lost our bearings in the fog. When we spotted dry high ground. We made for it, eager for some relief from the wet of the swamp. The trees there hid a greater danger though, giant spiders. One of these decided to make me their meal and dropping upon me tried to pull me from the back of Nuade. The spider managed to strike me with a venomous bite that weakened and sickened me. During the battle the spiders trapped me in some webbing, but my companions managed to kill or drive off the remaining spiders.
I felt sick, but not so sick that we couldn’t continue the journey. We got our bearings again and found our way to the entrance of the witch’s lair. The witch’s home lay beyond a giant hedge maze. We knew of no better way than through. Fearless but cautious, we entered.
Of course the maze hid dangers, the maze itself radiated evil. Among its dangers was a trap that nearly finished us off for good. We had followed the maze to a room that had some evil presences in it. They were hidden by fog, gathered at what we believed to be the back of the room. I challenged them to come forward and meet me as my companions moved into the fog toward them. The trap sprung as my companions did so. A deadly log covered with blades came rolling down grooves in the wall. It struck them in the back. Fortunately I was not mounted and small enough that the trap passed harmlessly over me, but we ended up in poor positioning as goblins came out to attack us.
These were more skilled than our previous attackers and they moved cleverly to flank us. Though I managed to bring one of them down quickly, two others got around me and dropped me to the ground with piercing blows that overwhelmed me, knocking me momentarily unconscious. A quick healing burst of power from Marcello brought me back, invigorating me. I called Nuade into the battle and with her help, Rohan, Ettiene and I managed to reorganize, forming a line that kept the goblins from flanking us again.
While the battle was hard won, the goblins were hiding a great trove of treasure. They had in their possession armor from what must have been a fallen knight and his companion. What great fortune! One set of plate armor was built large and would fit Rohan, another set of banded armor was small and fit me. I felt battered enough, still sick from poison and stunned by the goblin’s devastating attack. I traded my scale mail for the banded armor, thanking the gods for our good fortune.
The gods lead us true, for the very next room we came across contained the witch. It was a large room with a web covered ceiling. With the magic pipes she filled the room with fog. The fog hid her another giant spider which we now had to face. The witch used the cover of the fog to hide her position as she maneuvered in to strike us. Her evil aura gave her position away though. Both she and the spider fell before our combined attacks.
Her room hid more treasure along with the magical pipes. Among them was an old portrait of one of the tall pale people, we recognized him from the morning. The portrait revealed him to be a half elf, something we had not previously noticed. The witch also had her own set of pipes. These are too large for my hands, but I’m fascinated by these, and I hope to someday learn to play them. There were also gems and gold among her things. These really tug at something inside of me. I want to just gather it all up and roll in it…. I fear greed may someday prove my undoing.
While our triumph and the treasure have brought me some joy, the room has a malignant aura. I would not stay here were it not for a greater concern for what we might meet trying to travel the swamp on this night, the 5th of Pharast. The dead walk tonight and it’s safer to hole up where we are. So we try to rest in this eerie evil place, counting coins, tending our wounds and awaiting the dawn.
In the morning we will return the magical pipes to the tall pale people.