Lord-Senescal Guerellis Salsbury has enlisted my newest traveling companions into his service, apparently delivering some cryptic message to a band of savage gnolls infesting a network of caves outside Shadow’s Eye. Having escorted Salsbury along the road for several days, I learned he is the sort of man who constantly appraises the usefulness of those around him in as far as they relate to his personal and altogether hidden purposes. I don’t trust him. But he doesn’t seem to need my trust, only my weapon and my station, or he did. My involvement in this venture now seems to be but a passing amusement, but one he permits due to my usefulness. I should be flattered. I am not.
I joined these furriers on their mysterious quest because they obviously needed my protection. They don’t even carry weapons. Or so I thought. During an encounter with what I’m told was a troll, I witnessed the Lady Jade springing toward the beast with such startling haste that she engaged the creature before I had even drawn my sword. Her fearlessness was undermined by the unsure footing of the cavern but thankfully two enormous spiders came to her aid. I only vaguely remembered the wild claims of the light-red robed youngster until I heard him speaking the spidery tongue of those creatures. It seemed to be spoken backwards and in a sharply hissed rhythmic language I could not have understood even were it spoken forwards. My bewilderment was broken by a streak of holy light as it shot by my helm, seeking the flesh of the marauding troll. Dakkon. I had gotten the sense that his connection to Athar was more genuine than those claimed by the other clergy I had encountered but this… I had no idea. I felt the presence of the god my father taught me to do proud in theory. In this dank cave, Athar was focused through a mortal like a lens.
But these thoughts all came later. Uncle Balian taught me to banish the intellect during combat and to react, to kill with instinct, with practiced form, with an honor that was true because it was not complicated by the mind. The warrior-bard proved the first half of his title and before long, we had the beast’s head from its shoulders. That seemed to stop its unflagging ability to close its own wounds. I’ll have to remember that trick.
For now, I find myself exploring a cave system inhabited by all manner of abominations, in service of a secretive scheming puppeteer styling himself a lord, accompanied by a living vessel of Athar who willingly travels with a young man his church would burn at the stake and the bravest or perhaps the craziest woman I have ever seen. And anyone I would normally laugh with over a tankard about it is already dead. Here’s to making new friends.