From Black Oak to Shadow’s Eye
The sunrise is an angry red, and the sky is still heavy with smoke. We lost a hero last night.
The path to this tragedy started less than a week ago in the town of Black Oak. We arrived in town to settle accounts for Jade and Pigeon. Despite the loss of two companions on their quest, they intended to honor their agreement. The event that happened that first night was the first step.
We were awakened by a bright light. Pigeon ran towards the danger, with Broderick close behind. Jade and I followed only moments later. What we found was a girl, and a bright blue mystical portal. I suspected she was the victim of some malign entity. Pigeon slept the child and the portal winked out with her consciousness. We wanted to investigate, but townsfolk were gathering into an angry mob seemingly intent on burning the girl as witch. The mayor restored some order and set a trial for the next morning. We tried talking with the prominent members of town, but our influence was minimal.
The trial, despite some spirited efforts by the boys, did not have a satisfactory conclusion. We saved the girl, but we got ourselves banished in the process. I cannot help but feel some regret at that banishment from Black Oak. The situation with the child remains unresolved; and while she remains safe for now, that condition is unlikely to continue. If there is indeed some entity seeking entrance to our world then the banishment of our party has removed any protection from its evil. I can only hope the agents of Brookston are aware of the situation.
So, rather than a comfortable few days restocking and resting in Black Oak, we found ourselves back in the wild. Deciding the roads would still be too dangerous we set out overland to Shadow’s Eye. The weather was as bleak as my mood and neither looked to improve any time soon. The first night out Broderick’s scouting found us a somewhat intact cottage and we made camp. It was on my watch, some two hours after midnight, that the Anrak spies found us. For the first time in eight years I unsheathed the Sword of Athar. My skills were a little rusty but we soon killed three of the bugbears, though the fourth eluded us. They had carried a letter to the new bandit king. The details were vague, but I doubt they will be sending Shadowdell flowers and pretty ponies.
Over the next few days we would encounter a huge pack of wolves and an enormous bear. In both encounters Jade saved my life. Her prowess is simply astounding. When we finally neared Shadows Eye, only half a mile away, we arrived precisely in time to witness a bandit attack on a wagon. We acted immediately, and though we fought fiercely, we could only save one of the men. He was more a boy than a man really, but all that his family has left now. Jade and I took him back to his farm, with the wagon carrying to bodies of their other menfolk. Barnus and Pigeon stayed with our prisoner, we had captured one of the bandits, and prepared a pyre for those we had killed.
Finally we arrived in Shadow’s Eye. We made our report on the bandits to the local Sherrif, and then headed for the party. A wealthy merchant was marrying the much younger owner of the local inn. The party was a welcome distraction from our difficult journey, but our tragedy was but hours away.Motivated by some petty jealousy, someone set fire to the merchant’s ostentatious wagon. The merchant was smuggling dwarven spirits, and the resulting conflagration soon spread to the inn. We woke to fire, smoke and confusion. Between us we evacuated the inn’s other inhabitants: the merchant, his mother, and the new bride. Then Pigeon paused at the top of the stairs and leapt back into the inferno. He reappeared moments later with a child, the walls and ceiling of the inn collapsing around him. He hurled the child down the stairs to our waiting arms. I could see, in that moment, he knew his fate was sealed. The wall fell, and so did our friend.
Athar gives me the power and will to protect the innocent and combat injustice, and I pray he gives me the wisdom to find the arsonist and murderer responsible and see him brought to justice.