“On the road again, just can’t wait to get on the road again.” –Willie Nelson
From the Journal of Thenric Blackthorne
Day 2 to Elturel
The day has been cold and rainy, and our mood soured with each passing hour as we trudged along the muddy road north to Elturel. As the day ended we were ambushed by barbarians attacking us upon the road. We could not be sure they were laying in wait specifically for us, but we found it interesting bandits would brave such weather to attack armed travelers. Nonetheless, if it was battle they wanted, it was the last they experienced in this life. Perhaps spurred on in our anger at having to fight in such conditions, we mowed through the brigands without mercy. To add insult to injury, we left their bodies out in the mire and occupied their old camp for the night. We could risk no campfire to draw unwanted attention to ourselves but used the bandits’ two small tents to escape the unwelcoming elements. Without a fire to cook our food or warm our weary bones, the tents were a poor respite from the bitter wet of the evening. After seeing to the care of the horses, we tied their fetlocks together so they do not stray and or lie down in the cold wet ground. My colleagues and I reserved that “privilege” for ourselves.
I took the first 2-hour watch and cursed at the inclement weather every minute I stayed alert for brigands and marauders. My time passed quietly, and I woke our crusty Dwarven cleric Magnus for his watch, and stumbled into a tent next to a snoring Barton to grab some much-needed rest. Alas Orc assassins had other plans for the evening. Magnus noticed movement in the night and awoke both Barton and I. I grabbed my rapier and dagger and quickly cast Mage Armor on myself in the event of a battle. There was.
An Orc cast magical darkness to blind Magnus, Barton, and I, but before he could attack us unawares, we escaped the magical black sphere. Our crazy half-orc warrior Chazz awoke with a roar and thirst for combat, along with Jacob, the Half-Elf fighter and the newest member of our party, to deal with the attackers. They noticed another orc skulking near the tethered horses. The orc freed one of our mounts and the creature fled in terror as the orc cut the binds of another horse. By this time my compatriots were upon him while Rank and Stephon protected the rest of our mounts. Although viciously effective with their scimitars, we killed the 3 Orc assassins who disrupted our rest. Two of the horses had run away, so Chazz and I chased one and Barton pursued the other. Barton tracked his horse first but noticed a mysterious figure riding a horned bull in the distance. This figure made no move to talk or fight but rode into the darkness away from our camp.
Chazz and I found the other horse but fell prey to an ambush by 2 Orcs hiding nearby. Both Chazz and I had wounds from the previous skirmish, and I fell before the thrust of a blade by a dying Orc. Only Chazz’s knowledge of battlefield medicine kept me from death.
Magical healing from Magnus and an uninterrupted rest for the duration of the night allowed us to tackle the next day‘s ride.
Day 3 to Elturel
This day was a twin to the one before it; as rain and a cold wind continued to pummel our party and hamper our journey to Elturel. We ambled along the muddy path, remaining alert to any Orcs or other obstacles in our path. Around noon we found the remains of a battle. An empty wagon lay damaged upon the road, and in the grass and fields nearby was the sobering evidence of a brutal fight between men and Orcs. Seeing nothing we could do, we lowered our heads against the weather and continued north.
As the day approached Tharsun we encountered two large ogres with clubs barring our way along the road. One of the lumbering behemoths read from a parchment that forbade us from venturing any further. Barton replied with our answer to their challenge, two arrows into the chest of the ogre. Roaring in pain they advanced down the soppy mud we had been using for a road the last 3 days. While we moved to defend ourselves, 7 orcs jumped up from a grassy ditch to our left. They seemed eager not to kill us, but murder our mounts instead. While I for one would have preferred to continue this journey on foot, Jacob seemed to find special kinship with his steed and defended it vigorously. As the ogres lumbered towards us on the mucked road, Barton’s arrows continued to find their mark until one ogre fell lifeless faced-down in the mud. Chazz and I once again paired up to fight an ogre and the rest of the party decimated the orcs. One horse nearly died of its wounds but was saved by timely healing magic.
It is here I leave this entry in my journal; weary from the cold and unceasing attacks, but determined to understand what mysterious faction seeks to keep us from fulfilling our tasks. Although I am no hero, I will not allow others to determine my course. I left those days behind; and will spit my last bloody breath into the face of any who oppose me.