Oki

Rasani's Log, Entry 5
or, Everything's Fair with Money and Pride?

I remember why I don’t like big groups of people now, it seems to bring out the worst in us all when we are condensed into a small area. Not to say that I didn’t enjoy myself during the whole affair, but it’s definitely something I don’t seek out. I finished my last entry with the assumption that we would make our trades over the course of a few days, and be back on the road, I was mistaken. It appears we will be encamped here for some time, but at the very least, we will be able to apply our trades, hock whatever wares we have left, and more importantly, resupply.
We set up the wagons at Charlie’s house, which consisted of two decommissioned Sleeper Wagons and a Chuck Wagon. It was better than expected, and if necessary, we could probably repair the wagons for cheaper than buying them. After getting settled, Charlie essentially kicked us out to explore the city. It’s a really charming little town, Adobe housing and people moving back and forth through their daily lives, with everything possessing a weathered and hard feel to it, but still welcoming. I wasn’t wrong to make this my first stop in the frontier. The first thing on my list of things to do was to go find some tobacco. I ran out in Jaddah Yafif, and after last week, it seemed like a good idea to restock. I picked up a couple of pouches for my pipe, and a few cigars for going out in the field. After wandering the city for a bit, I managed to track down the second thing on my list, employment for my stay here. One “Scaled Badger” tavern was willing to hire me on as a cook. I wasn’t needed right away, so I could explore the fair this week, and make money next week, seemed like a good deal to me.
After securing some income, I went wandering again, this time it placed me in front of what looked like the most durable and defended building in the city, at roughly the same time as Thoorin oddly enough. The building in question was “The Quartermaster’s Surplus”, and it was definitely the most heavily armed building in the region, probably even including the imperial forts that dotted the roads. The building was filled with weapons of every type, some of which I’ve never seen before or even considered weapons. I made my purchase quickly, but decided to hang around and watch the confusion on the Quartermaster’s metal face as Thoorin bought, of all things, several shovels, one of which folds up. We browsed the wares for a bit, most of which we couldn’t hope to afford for a good long time.
While Thoorin was haggling for his… weapons, Lazarus joined us, apparently looking for a backup weapon as well after making his purchase of a medical kit for the caravan. He asked about firearms, being Calvin, that isn’t terribly surprising. Quartermaster went rummaging through the back and pulled forth the beautiful but no doubt unholy fusion of death known as the “Axe-musket”. I wanted one right then and there, until I heard the price. It would have to wait for now, but I get the sneaking suspicion that our entire staff will be sporting these in due time, judging by the way Lazarus and Thoorin’s eyes lit up, much like mine. Quartermaster put the weapon away, but he began discussing armor, one particular set of Calvish infantry armor caught Lazarus’s attention, and in the course of examining the armor, he made an off the cuff remark about Octavinas, which didn’t set well with Quartermaster, who was adorned in Octavian heraldry and design. He left in a hurry, and Thoorin and I followed at our own pace after we were done looking.
That evening, the fair started in earnest under the still very bright golden clouds floating along in a sea of pitch black sky.The streets were littered with games, food, merchants selling wares, trinkets, and the sights and sounds of a town overloaded with people trying to take it all in. Thoorin and I waded through the crowds, I followed him mostly because he seemed to part the people far easier than his short frame would suggest, it was probably the smell. The first place he went was directly toward the nearest and most pungent food stand. He ordered something that consisted of a large hollowed out roll filled with what I assume was meat. It also came with several sauces. Two of which he dumped into the meat slurry, the last one, Octavian Fish Paste by the smell of it, he tossed over his shoulder hitting some poor bugger in the back of the head several yards away. His next destination was some game of strength farther down the road. He won with ease on his second attempt, and was given a stiff parchment crown for his trouble.
A few minutes later, Lazarus spotting us somehow, comes over to us, beer in hand, grumbling about some trivia game that’s been rigged. In his anger, he starts mumbling the answers. when he’s done, I walk over to the booth and place my copper down on the table. Lazarus was correct with his answers, and because of that, I make back all the money I spent today, plus a little more. Thoorin walks up as I walk away, and answers all the questions, including the ones Lazarus got wrong, and walks away with 25 gold. Lazarus is fuming at this point, and I’m pretty sure he’ll catch fire if he gets any angrier. Thoorin drags him away from the taunting of the quiz-giver, and we are on our relatively merry way.
We come across another interesting game, a test of accuracy. I haven’t done much at this point, so I put my copper on the table and see what I can do. Lazarus is taunted into playing by the gamesman, and Thoorin is just having fun at this point. We’re each given three wooden balls, and the target is a large vase on a platform surrounded by smaller and closer vases. I test my throw on one of the smaller ones near the center vase, and it hits the back edge and bounces out. I throw again, this time giving it some backspin and make it into the large vase right before Lazarus’s shot, with Thoorin’s ball sinking in moments later. The gamesman is stunned, apparently it’s odd for three people to beat his game in such a short amount of time. Inside the vase is our prize, a tadpole roughly the size of a large housecat. apparently it will grow to the size of a horse eventually. I’m worried about what Lazarus will do to it, and I haven’t the skill to raise an animal, so we gave it to Thoorin to raise and care for. He immediately begins feeding it from the soggy bread-meat-sauce-thing.
Some time later, We found ourselves sitting off to the side on a bench, Thoorin and myself munching on our respective snacks, and Lazarus grumbling into the vase that held “Jaque”. The fair was still in full swing, and we were seated across from a set of cages filled with exotic animals. I was curious to see what forms of beasts would let themselves be captured alive so easily, but I was more concerned about keeping an eye on Lazarus. It was possible that his foul mood had clouded his judgement more than usual. I was snapped from my thoughts when I heard the sound of creaking metal over the murmur of the crowd. Thoorin stopped stuffing his face with his slurry, so I guess he heard it as well. Out of one of the cages comes this squat, bipedal toad thing with eyes each about as large as its head. The bystanders scrambled, and I had my bow drawn and ready in moments. Luckily, I forgot to leave it back at Charlie’s, but it didn’t turn out to be useful.
Thoorin and I moved to take down the creature before it could hurt anyone, but it never even tried to harm any of the fairgoers. From it’s perch on a food cart, he saw us approach slowly. I had an arrow notched and waiting for it to turn aggressive, but it never did. It did use what I would assume to be his natural defense, a searing light from it’s eyes. The owner was momentarily blinded, while Thoorin and I managed to cover our eyes just in time to save them. Even in his state, the owner asked us not to kill his creature, one he called a Cave Toad. Thoorin walks over to the creature and places his hand on it’s head.
It was at this moment Lazarus decided to join us. Unfortunately, he wanders into the light from the toad, and is immediately blinded as well. This does not stop him from trying to defeat the “vile monster that dares to assault the eyes of a Calvin”. I began to worry about his sanity when two things became apparent. One, he was still throwing bombs, and two, his last bomb was talking more than him. With the frog well in hand, I walked over to Lazarus, who was babbling something about the queen. I noticed something coming out of his ears at an alarming rate. I did the only thing I could think to do, I hit him in the face with a frying pan. I was intending to subdue him, so I could get a closer look at his injuries, but I won’t deny, hitting the chatty Calvin, especially with a large, dense piece of metal, was just too gratifying to pass up.
He reacted badly to my bedside manner, and started mixing another bomb. I hit him again before he could finish, and he slumped to the ground. I wasn’t a medical professional or healer in any sense of the word, but he did have something leaking from his ears, and Thoorin was busy with the frog. I tore some reags I found laying about, and stuffed them in his ears. At the very least, it would curb the fluid’s escape, whatever it was.We dragged Lazarus back to Charlie’s to make sure he wasn’t going to die from whatever the hell he did to himself. I could only assist so much as Thoorin began his rituals. They were fascinating to watch, but I can’t figure out why so much of that green slime is needed.
After about an hour, Lazarus emerged from the back room. He stood triumphant, while covered in green slime and tribal inks, and unfortunately for us all, nothing else. He immediately demanded to know what happened, and where his pants were. I could barely contain the laughter, Thoorin didn’t. Katarina, who was reading from a book looked up at the scene, and immediately buried her head farther in the book, muttering “I don’t want to know”. I managed to point to the pile of things we stripped from Lazarus, most of it being potions and vials and other things of that sort. He gathered them up and walked out of the room. Apparently, Charlie found it funny too, I could hear his laughter from the next room over.
Some time later, Lazarus returned, His flesh pink, but free of ink and goo. Thankfully, he was wearing pants. He continues right past a fresh wave of barely contained laughter, and closes himself in one of the rooms. I decide this is as good of time as any to get some sleep and head back to my cot. The door won’t budge though. Apparently Lazarus barricaded the door with a large mirror in an attempt to perform surgery on himself. He wouldn’t open the door until Cree basically chased him out. I stash my things, and a few moments later, Lazarus returns, apparently, his second option was to take up residence in the female quarters, Charlie kicked him out, and tossed him back into the room with us.
Later that night, I hadn’t really gotten any sleep, but the evening was still young. Most everyone had left the camp to go somewhere. I saw them all leaving, but I kind of wanted a break from the crowds at that point. About ten minutes after everyone else left, Lazarus bolts upright, and begins getting ready. Thoorin had mentioned what happened to his brain, so I threw on my shirt and pants, grabbed some basics out of my pack, and followed him, mostly to make sure he didn’t do something drastic or stupid. Since neither one of us knew where the rest of the camp had gone, Lazarus just started marching off in a direction. as we got closer to the city proper, I began noticing a distinct trail the others were leaving, and Lazarus wasn’t following it. I stopped him and pointed him in the right direction.
The path led us to a large tavern, which was surrounded by other caravan wagons and could be heard and seen from at least 150 yards in any direction. We walked in to see pretty much everyone from camp sitting at a table with three people I don’t recognize. I grab a chair and sit down, and order a coffee from a passing barmaid. The three people are introduced as The Mayor of Middleborough, The Commander of Tartarus Point, and a minor head and cleric of the Church of Joshua. Apparently, these are some of our backers. The conversation goes well, even with my direct, and Lazarus’s tactless introduction. We discuss the fair in more detail, I learn of a few new things to keep in mind, and I’ve learned that clerics have very good luck when it comes to cards.
It was about this time when something rather unbelievable happened. I heard a familiar voice boasting over the din of the crowd. It couldn’t have been, he bolted off into the desert a week ago, there was no chance that he survived that long, unless he was that tough, or that stupidly lucky. But sure enough, looking in the direction of the booming voice, I saw Gerrard sitting there. He looked a little worse for wear, like he had been chewed on by the Great Beast himself, but he was alive, and still had the spear he grabbed from the ruins. He saw us, and made his way over. We swapped stories on how we got there, and apparently I wasn’t far off with the “chewed on” expression. He was only alive because of his ability to ignore grievous wounds when necessary. He was actually rather lucky, apparently a whore cart came by and picked him up, healed him back to stable, and took him to Middleborough. the trip cost him about 12 gold though, a bill which he dropped onto the caravan. There was a discussion on whether or not we actually wanted him back. Lazarus was steadfast in his refusal, Thoorin wasn’t really happy to have him back, but he really didn’t care. Charlie didn’t care and Katarina wasn’t a decision making crew member anyway.
So, the decision came down to me, the unofficial employee and freeloader. I ran over the facts in my head. He has already saved my life on one occasion, so I owe him for that. He is a violently effective combatant, and apparently tough enough to survive the frontier alone and injured. However, he is the direct cause of the most dangerous direct threat to the caravan, and he caused it against the wishes of the rest of the crew and through his own stupidity. A threat, which drove us off course, nearly killed me, and put us in the path of Blackbeak, Death’s Stranger, and an assortment of other highly lethal things. The best thing to come out of that was the discovery of an Umbral Road, but I don’t plan on mentioning that wherever there are possible prying ears. Even with the Fieand Bear incident, there was only one conclusion.
With the final decision in my hands, I allowed him back, but before I did, I pulled out my frying pan and hit him squarely in the face, with a warning to not do something that moronic ever again. I’ve been getting some good mileage out of that thing lately, but none of it for cooking. he reset his broken nose and agreed. After which, the small cleric broke out her deck of cards again, and we began to play a hand of Caravan. The end of the game revealed something else about the purpose of the game, which I didn’t know before, it is often used to tell the player’s fortune. I ended last, tied with Gerrard, with a fortune I honestly sort have expected. It was “Your travel will be difficult, and your trials many, but the rewards that await you are great.”
After the game ended, we parted ways and headed back to Charlie’s. Not much had changed in the long run, we have a new pet and an old idiot. Most of us have some new gear. Most importantly to me, I have something at this fair to look forward to. during the conversation, I heard of a nomad tradition in this area taking place in a few days. It was a hunt. the game was a stag. It’s a ritual to one of the tribesman deities, but that doesn’t really concern me. What does is the large pot to be won by whoever brings back the stag first. It’s a chance for me to test my skills, and also get some funding for the caravan. I couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity. I’ll probably have to be at my best though, I’ll be against locals who know the terrain, and against hunters with far more experience under their collective belts than I. This will truly be a test of skill, and I don’t intend to fail. It’s been a long time since I have been this excited for a hunt. Maybe it’s the area, with it’s ever present smell of danger. Who can say

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Rasani's Log, Entry 4
or, The Time Tested and True Art of Running Away?

After a week of running for our lives from one fire to the next, we finally seem to have hit a bit of relatively good fortune. We were still running off the momentum of exploring the, as we named them, Blackbeak Peaks, but we were still in a very bad spot. Our remaining provisions would last us a week, all of our trade goods were in ashes, and the caravan coffers had been emptied thanks to Gaius. To his very little credit, the junk he purchased seems to be somewhat valuable to the right buyers, and even better, we were set to arrive in Middleborough in time for the Boroughs’ Fair, where every merchant, trader, and tradesman in the immediate area would come out of their respective hovels and gather in one place. My original plan for coming out this far was to sign up for a Huntsman or Border Patrol job at this fair, but that idea seems less inviting at this point. Partially because I would rather not be in the same place forever, and partially because it’s much easier to avoid some of the things out here when you’re always on the move.
Returning to the issue of Gaius, there was an annoyed me trying to save some piece of him from a very angry Thoorin. He had pilfered most of Thoorin’s money, which apparently was stolen in the first place, as well as my most devastating weapon. we found him hiding under his bed in the Fortune Teller’s wagon. I convinced Thoorin to not have his “discussion” here, as we were inches away from one Saltuk Cree lying on the operating table. When he blubbered out why he betrayed the trust of both the angry, seemingly unkillable man and myself, I couldn’t take him seriously. He traded our things for the “lost technology” of a glass container of vril and a broken mechanized breastplate. Admittedly, they were interesting finds, but his insistence on keeping them and trying to repair them, even after all that has happened left a sour taste in my mouth. Just to be sure he hadn’t been fooled by a slick merchant, I grabbed the glass container and Gaius and escorted him over to Ambrose, leaving Thoorin and a momentarily distracted Lazarus squabbling over the now missing container.
Ambrose was going over the caravan map when I approached, making the changes we discovered to it. I set the container down in front of him and asked if he knew anything about it. Apparently, there are collectors who will pay through the nose to get their hands on some of this stuff, like Gaius. Also, according to the mad ranting of Lazarus, vrill itself can be a valuable and potent component in alchemy compounds. At the very least, we have a way to recover our losses, at least partially. I gave Gaius until we reach the Boroughs to prove to me we should keep the junk he found, instead of trading it to get the caravan running again. He immediately took the stuff and ran off. After listening to the storyteller spin a tale I haven’t heard before, I went to my own cot for some much needed rest.
I awoke to the early morning sounds of something hacking and wheezing in the Fortune Teller’s wagon. I assumed that Gaius had done something to release some ancient toxin from the devices. I arrived and knocked on the door. Thoorin, whom the sound must have also awoken, was less patient and walked straight in. We saw Lazarus laying on his cot, swollen like a filled waterskin, and beginning to turn a shade of green. Thoorin recognized his affliction immediately, the Black Death. Apparently, Blackbeak the vulture decided to leave Lazarus a parting gift where his liver used to be. I’ve seen the effects of the accursed disease, there was a small outbreak in Agrippa several years before my family settled in there. The mass grave filled with soot and ash was the only place I never felt the need to explore growing up. I immediately left the wagon, intent on getting as far out of the camp as possible. The last caravan scout was lost somewhere in the desert, so there was an empty spot available. With Cree back on his feet, we rode out ahead, intent on getting out of these accursed mountains. Sometime after midday, I could hear the sound of pounding steel echoing off the cliffs. When I traced the sound back to it’s source, I saw four giants gathered around the mouth of a cave, forging armor and weapons far too large to be any use to one of us. After meeting with Cree, we agreed to leave the giants to their work, and I helped guide the caravan safely around them.
Our first day out of the newly named Blackbeak Peaks was blessedly quiet. We were on the edge of the badlands known as the Spiked Brace, and we didn’t see anything as we mapped out the area while passing through. In fact, the only thing we ran across the entire day happened that evening around the fires. Off in the distance, an owl was hunting for it’s prey, making soft hooting noises every so often. By the sound of it, it had to be a Great Horned Owl, which is a bit odd in these parts, as they prefer forested regions. I was content to leave it in peace so I could focus on the meal before me, which tasted strongly of sugar and had the consistency of minty, fibrous, woody fabric. We were lucky enough to nearly gain a day in rations with our harvest of sugar moss, but there is only so much that can be done with one ingredient. The hooting of the birds seemed to send Lazarus off the deep end for a moment, as cries of “Damnable pheasants, I’ll baste all of you with FIRE! and HATRED!” and “Birds are death on wings!” Thoorin, amused by this, mimicked Blackbeak’s piercing cry with disturbing accuracy in the direction of the wagon. The metal clanging of Lazarus’s equipment told of how effective it was.
During the next day’s journey, we happened across probably the most welcoming sight I’ve seen in days, a grassy plain, filled with flowering and fruit bearing plants. It was such a shock, especially since the map we had claimed we should be on the edge of the famous badlands known as The Spiked Brace. Even though it was the dead of winter, I could still pick out various berry plants, melon vines, and a host of other edibles. Although the more I traveled this paradise, the more I wondered why it was so pristine. My answer came about three hours later, when I happened across another giant, this one silvered with spots of brown, and leaking vrill from a gash in it’s chest. I returned to the caravan to warn of the giant, but things didn’t add up. vril is used, apparently, for mechanical devices. It generally isn’t considered directly useful for living beings. I led a group of Thoorin, Ambrose, and Lazarus back to where I encountered the thing. Lazarus apparently had come across something like this in his studies, because he immediately pulled a notebook out and began scribbling furiously. He then handed me a note, of which I have included here:

“A primitive type of golem crafted from stone, sinew, and organic plant matter and powered by a mysterious vril mixture. In addition it was first discovered by one Lazarus S. Brixton. Nobleman of Calva, who prefers Honey in his tea.

<<< Latest Missive from Calva to Rasani. Tiberolith and You”

Aside from the misguided attempt at glory, he also would occasionally mutter things about The Clockwork Forest. We nearly had to drag him away from the giant Tiberolith before he finally came to his senses, and followed us back under his own power.
The next day found us in the desert, which is closer to what we expected. the odd thing about this desert was the color of the sand, it was an ashen gray. It wasn’t just a top layer of ash, the sand was that color for at least the first few inches down. as unsettling as that was, it wasn’t the most terrifying thing that I found that day. No, the giant circling the base of the ashen monolithic mesa had to be it. The giant was larger than the ones at the forge, but not as large as the Tiberolith, and was covered in a multitude of boils and pustules, and the giant itself was almost as gray as the desert. It was circling the mesa, never getting more than a few yards away. As i sat and watched, a gargoyle, who blended in perfectly with the stone, leaped from the mesa and made either a bid for freedom, or an attack on the giant, I couldn’t really tell which. It doesn’t matter much, as the misshapen giant saw it, and swung it’s tree-sized mace, and knocked it back into the mesa, where it proceeded to pummel the stone creature into pebbles. This answered two very important things for me. One, I’m not going anywhere near that behemoth, and two, I no longer wonder why the desert is the color of stone. Once again, I return to the wagons and warn them of the danger, and once again, we skirt around it.
While on scouting deep in the badlands proper, I came across another wagon heading North, painted on the side were depictions of minstrels playing heavy drums and large pipes, with the words “Thog’s Bloodfury Minstrels: Traditional Orcish Music and Entertainment” emblazoned in red in both Orcish and Imperial Basic. Since this is the second thing in a week and a half that I’ve come across and they haven’t tried to kill anyone immediately, I decided to ride closer and investigate. It was probably not the best idea, considering the Frontier as a whole, but they didn’t shoot me on sight, and even with a crossbow trained on me, we managed to have a pleasent conversation. Looking back, the driver of the lead wagon, who’s name I can’t recall asking for, was testing me for the entire first part of the conversation, making sure I was a legitimate caravan scout rather than a target finder for bandits. I unknowingly blundered through every carefully worded trap with my usual oblivious honesty, for once proving itself as an asset. They were also headed to Middleborough for the fair, and would have been open for trading wares, if we had the cash, the trade goods, or the merchant to haggle with them. Parting ways, I headed back to the campsite and settled in to another story told by the entertainer.
The next morning was an interesting sight, every single cloud in the sky was a bright as the sun itself. I’ve never seen anything like this, but had some trouble looking directly at it. Thoorin was far worse off than I. Apparently, his kind and Orcs share a weakness to intense light. Which made the already permanent squint on his face far worse. I don’t think he even left his wagon. The extra visibility was useful for finding Middleborough, as it made it far easier to spot the tent city that had sprung up around the small town. The smell of non-mossy or hard tack food could be smelled for a mile in every direction, with the noise of the crowd and the bazaar not far off. As I write this, we are still securing the wagons to sit here for the next few days, and I haven’t had the chance to do anything else, but I will make sure to pay Gaius a visit, and probably pick up some tobacco while I’m here. Also, I have a decision to make. Do I want to stay here or continue on the road with these loons. My head says there is only one good choice, that staying here is the best option, the safest. But I’ve already made up my mind. I don’t know exactly when it happened, but it has. I guess it’s the human half speaking, but I don’t think I can stay here. Well, there’s still a long road ahead, I hope I don’t grow to regret this.

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Rasani's Log, Entry 3
or, Terror-Beak 2: Electric Boogaloo?

Well then, things have certainly changed around here in the past few days. I lost what respect I had for the caravan’s matron, Gaius. I believe Lazarus and I have come to an understanding, even if it requires near death experiences. I’ve actually learned the name of the Gypsy Dancer that Charlie hired, and Thoorin and I are becoming friends as well as comrades, I think. Oh, and the caravan was sacked by a myth, and a bad one at that. All things in order though, and I was last writing while camped in one of the ancient watchtowers, so I shall pick back up there.
My hunch was right, After examining the roof of other tower, Thoorin and I found another scattering of coins before we finished our exciting journey in the mountains. We had most of the region on Ambrose’s map, and were headed toward the last area we still needed to explore that day. While mapping, and following the contour at the base of one of the larger mountains, Lazarus stops me. He asks if I had just heard anything, but I had not. For future note, I will be training my ears to be more aware of smaller noises in the future, it seems I cannot rely on just my eyes and nose for everything. Ambrose, who also heard something, suggested that we might presently be on the wrong end of a hunt. Katarina almost immediately begins rummaging through the pile on her mule and pulls out a roughspun blanket. She then ties it to the mule and we continue walking as usual, the blanket dragging off the ass-end of the mule and smudging the tracks we left behind. It was a rather crafty solution, and only now do I remember my Mother once mentioning that fontiersman and wanderers often had a collection of little tricks to stay one step ahead of whatever may be following them. I probably should have been listening, rather than chasing my brother with a broom handle or whatever I was doing at the time.
Some time passed, and even I can’t miss the crumbling sound that seemed to trail after us. It probably should have worried someone, especially when the ground started shifting, but none of us paid it any attention until the ground literally dropped out from beneath us. Either the tremors triggered a sinkhole, or the other way around. It really didn’t matter to me, because I found myself landing face first in the pit that opened up. As fascinating as the surprise dirt was, I was more concerned with getting back to safety, and maybe re-setting my new re-broken ribs. Sitting up, I saw I wasn’t alone, Katarina, her mule, and Ambrose decided to join me in the newly found rocky paradise. Ambrose was examining everything, Katarina looked about as bad as I felt, and the mule was unhappy. Honestly, I’m amazed the stuff didn’t go scattering everywhere, especially since we didn’t land on the floor, we hit an outcropping overlooking even more pit. I’m pretty sure the fall knocked some sense into me, at the cost of my sight. It’s the only explanation I can think of for how I missed both the pit and the stairs that went both to the surface and farther down.
From the outer edge of the pit, I can hear Lazarus and Thoorin debating how to get us out of here. Well, I say debating, but it was really more along the lines of Thoorin trying to get Lazarus to think of something, while Lazarus was talking rather than thinking. To add to the trouble, neither one had any rope. I had mine, still knotted from its use in the tower, and Katarina had some as well. Seeing no other option, I climbed the rubble near the top of the ruined stairs and secured a rope for the lady and the scholar. The mule was another matter entirely. Lucky for the mule, and all our things loaded onto it, Thoorin was able to pull the mule out of the hole.
There was a bit of fortune in falling into a pit, namely with the stairs. Apparently, they lead to an area known to more bookish types as The Umbra. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t curious, but the last time we walked into an area with ancient writing on the walls, we were chased into the mountains and several days off schedule. I wasn’t ready to face that sort of chance again, yet. The team seemed to agree, especially after hearing some of the stories of The Umbra, and the few, rare roads that exist linking it to the surface. We needed to investigate further, but not with our current gear, and more importantly, injuries. Ambrose marked the location on the map, and announced we’ve explored this entire section of the range. After which, I can’t recall who it was, but they noted that we’ve been gone from the caravan for nearly three days longer than what we had originally said, and decided it wise to return.
Hours pass without incident, and we’re nearing the area where we left the caravan. Most everyone was alert enough to notice a large shadow being cast on the rocks on the west side of the trail, Except Lazarus. I believe it was on his blind side. Looking for the source of the shadow, I see one of the birds from the pass flying high overhead, circling around and angling up a dive. I whistle to get the doctor’s attention before running off, looking for some form of cover that the bird cannot reach. Everyone else seems to get the same idea, and are all sprinting off long before I turn to run. I glance back to be sure that Lazarus is alright, and I see the bird poised above his bleeding, unconscious body, beak tipped with red, ready to strike again.
I don’t know what came over me, I’m not particularly fond of the surgeon, but I’ll be damned if I’m losing anyone on this journey. I moved back into range, and loosed an arrow that landed solidly in it’s wing. It turned it’s beady black eyes on me, and bellowed something between a caw and a roar before taking flight after me. I make it farther down the trail, avoiding steep drops, swarms of angry bees, and diving through narrow passages with reckless abandon, managing to bypass most everyone else for a brief moment. The bird catches up to me at the base of a steep hill. I assume that this is it, but Katarina, and the angry mule, come sprinting past, where she pauses for a second, and throws a beam of bright colorful light directly into the birds face, and then disappears around a bend. I wasn’t even aware she had magical ability, but then again, I didn’t even know her name before this trip started. Not wasting the moment, I forced my way up the hill, and into a thick briarpatch, where Thoorin was trying desperately to force his way through the thicket. Turning toward the sound of beating wings, I see the bird once again, hovering above the bramble. I did the only sensible thing I could think of, Insult it and loose another arrow, trying to keep the bird focused on me. For what it’s worth, I manage to succeed, and the bird came crashing through the thicket. The last thing I saw was it’s beak imbedded solidly in my chest.
I really didn’t expect to be alive after that, and after checking to see if I was in danger of passing out from blood loss, I stood and took a survey of my situation. Thoorin was standing outside the bramble thicket, a white glow fading from his hands, and that bird diving at him from above. he took the hit without flinching, I don’t think he even felt it. Before the bird could get another shot at him, I loosed another arrow, striking it in the other wing this time. That was probably the last straw for the bird, as food shouldn’t be fighting back, especially not when it really should be dead by now. The bird, in it’s apparent rage came crashing straight through the brambles again, beak open, and ready to end it’s annoyance for good. I heard a distant roar, and for a brief moment, saw not a bird, but the Great Beast lunging at me, teeth bared and aimed for my throat. I remember thinking “So, this is how it ends. I’ve got to admit, I’m a little disappointed”. The bird’s red-stained beak snapped closed, mere inches from my face.
In its haste, apparently the bird dove through the thickest part of the bramble, the same part Thoorin tried vainly to break through earlier. I wasn’t about to let this opportunity escape me, so I immediately picked my way carefully through the rest of the brush. as I emerged, Lazarus did as well, from another pathway we had missed in our rush to escape. He looked bloody, beaten, and soaked from the waist down, but he was alive and moving well. We both took off running, directly into a bear. The blood on me smelled more fresh, so the bear took more of an interest in me. Lazarus took this chance to catch up with the others, while I was outpacing the bear, trying to think of something I could do to distract it. My answer came when I accidently ran through a berry bush, and some of my blood stuck to the fruit. The scent distracted it long enough for me to get away. After all, non-fiendish bears will eat just about anything, so why work so hard for it?
We managed to regroup shortly after, and complete the journey back to the caravan, where we were greeted by a bonfire of all our trade goods and most of our provisions. Cree and Gaius were wounded, and Charlie, along with most of the crew were shaken up. Lazarus immediately went to work on stabilizing and healing Cree. Thoorin and I tried to save what we could from the fire. and Katarina and Ambrose went around asking what happened. We got our answer, a ghost story had come to life and sacked the caravan. It’s a demon known by the name Death’s Stranger. A man said to be so desperate to escape death, that he actually pulled it off. Destruction always follows in his wake, and if he doesn’t just kill everyone, he burns the supplies, and leaves them for dead in the Frontier. Well, I’ve seen the results of this story, and I don’t really want to meet it personally. We begin packing things up, getting ready to move. I get a bit of magical healing that Thoorin provided to help Cree.
While packing my things away in the wagon, I noticed something wasn’t quite right. My stuff had been tossed a bit. While I can write that off as effects of the Stranger’s visit, I decided to check anyway. The weapon I had salvaged from the Orc Pirates was gone. along with all the remaining ammo. from the bellows of “Where’s Thoorin’s Money!” that could be heard echoing through the camp, I can tell I wasn’t the only one with missing items. I met Charlie outside, telling Thoorin that Gaius traded our stuff to get a piece of “Lost Technology” from some passing traders a few days ago. Any respect I had for the sheltered scholar evaporated right there, and I considered not stopping Thoorin, maybe even helping him, but as soon as the thought was through my head, images of the artisan that I left in a Sanguine Temple followed it, killing off most of my aggression, but definitely not my anger. Gaius had a lot to answer for, but he also probably didn’t deserve whatever Thoorin was going to inflict on him. Probably.

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Travel Log of Lazarus S. Brixton 3
Entry 3

Lazarus S. Brixton
We had left the caravan for four days. Only four days in the care of Gaius and we come back to a burning and shot up caravan. Clearly, we can never trust anything in the care of Gaius. I do believe that he might be the reason we can’t have nice things in the Little Ray of Sunshine Caravan. As even I write this, the Tyrant King Savage Cree lays on my stretcher with various gunshot wounds. I’ve done what I can but only the savage can decide if he wants to pull through.

Let us begin from our decision to explore the mountains which we called Blackbeak Peaks. We early that morning in a party containing Professor Bellrene, the Frontiersman, the creature, the fair Katarina, and most importantly me. Our first day was fairly tame, we followed the trail of a most elusive creature. We chose this method for exploration as it made sense that it would follow the water sites and other game trails in this area.
Alas despite our best efforts, we were unable to find the creature that we sought and convert it into a scarf for the fair Katarina. Upon the realization of the late hour, I decided to find a cave and convert it into a survival shelter worthy of any Calvan gentleman. I spared no effort in the creation of the shelter as we were accompanied by a member of the weaker sex. This dreadful cold would have surely sapped the energy of a delicate lady such as her.

The next morning we set out for the sake of pure exploration. And explore we did! However, exploration is not without its hazards. Upon the discovery of possibly prehistoric towers, we’ve apparently awakened its ancient guardians, Black Beak and its mate the Kaukasios Buzzard. After battling them hook and claw, they finally took me by surprise and ripped out my liver. At this minor shock to the system, I was slow to guard against the next onslaught. Unfortunately, this lead to my unconsciousness.

I awoke later that night and promptly regenerated my liver. My compatriots and I were inside the actual tower. Apparently after I fell unconscious, Professor Bellrene successfully forced the creatures to flee. Now that I had gathered my bearings, I inspected the tower with the Professor. The tower was covered in Ancient Uclid writings on the inside. We took impressions and drawings of the inscribings including this strange node that the writing appeared to be centered about. The Frontiersman and the creature explored the other tower and found some money. We decided it was best to stay the night in the inaccessible second floor of the towers.

We left again in the morning focusing on finishing mapping our self assigned area. The morning was uneventful until my keen senses picked up the sounds of footsteps following us. We decided to continue on and tried to stealth our trail using the nomadic methods of the appealing Katarina. Alas our stealth seemed to be for naught as the the ground decided to open up underneath us. Utilizing my Calvan reflexes honed through years of flexibility exercises, I managed to firmly attach myself to a cliff wall with sheer strength alone. Surprisingly, the creature managed to avoid the new sinkhole that engulfed our away party.

Fortunately for my party, it doesn’t seemed like anyone was particularly injured. More importantly, it turns out that my compatriots sacrifice of dignity yielded results. The sinkhole was actually the roof of a tunnel system. It was not just any tunnel system, but an actual Umbral Road. For those of my less educated readers, an Umbral Road is as it sounds an underground tunnel that leads to the Umber. The more important part of it was that the tunnels bypass the dangers above. Imagine this, being able to travel through the mountains free of the dangers of Black Beak, Kaukasios Buzzard, ambush and no needing a squadron of Calvan gunslingers to shoot down every buzzard on that mountain. We naturally marked it our map and decided to camp there for the night. We placed a watch and on the fourth day we decided to return.

The first sign of trouble I received was the sudden realization that I was alone and that the rest of the party had left me behind. I then turned my good eye towards the sky. The dreaded Black Beak had returned. Mindful of the strength of the ancient beast, I decided to travel forward to more favorable terrain to reunite with our party. We led the beast through narrow passages, a swarm of impotent angry bees, and steep hill. The hill was where I decided to see if I could make a stand against the beast, but alas the beast promptly ate my new liver. The next few seconds were a blur as the Frontiersman in Bramble distracted the beast whilst the creature attempted to continue its run as Ambrose and Katarina had already fled. I crafted another liver and restored my wounds and continued forth. By this time, the creature had entangled itself in the brambles. I had come across a river and while I investigated for the fording spot, I’ll admit I may have stopped to watch the beast gets its comeuppance. The Frontiersman had fled at this point and slammed into a den of wild bears. As the man was hunter, I felt fully in my rights to sneak past the bears whilst he distracted them.

We met up shortly afterwards and proceeded to head back to the caravan. The caravan trade goods and half its provisions were on fire in the center of the camp with the crew of the caravan caterwauling about the Death’s Stranger. Apparently, it’s an old Frontier tale about a man so evil that death itself rejected him and damned him to an eternity of wandering the world. Balderdash! While I no doubt that the bandit who attacked our caravan may have called himself Death’s Stranger, I don’t believe in assigning supernatural powers to a mere bandit, no matter how proficient with a firearm the man may be. Merely a common man using an old legend to take advantage of superstitious frontierfolk.

At least, Gaius was not taken in with such shenanigans, however he still talked back to a man with a gun pointed at him. He got himself and the Tyrant King Cree shot. In addition, he caused the the man to levy a punishment of half our food to the fire. Clearly, this demonstrated that the man can not be trusted to take care of anything. By Sanguine, at least he didn’t do anything foolish like spend our remaining money on frippery. I’m going to end this entry here as I must get back to tending Cree and figuring out what the savage creature is bellowing about.

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Rasani's Log, Entry 2
or, birds of a feather get gored together?

All in all, I think things are improving. It seems like I have a job for the caravan should I choose to stay with them. In all honesty, I should take it, since I haven’t a clue how I was going to live out here in the Boroughs in the first place. I probably should have given this some more thought, but the idea of traveling to somewhere so new and exciting was too much of a draw. I guess it’s from mom’s side of the family. Actually, that does make a strange bit of sense. Last I heard from Thyra, she was looking for dad’s old tribe. Bel and Karoar decided to stay in Agrippa as far as I know, but that isn’t likely. Mom was never content to settle anywhere, and Dad, well, Dad was always an odd one. I guess I get a little sentimental when I have to fear for my life every day, funny how things work.
Anyway, The past two days were not nearly as trying, and considering I’m currently jotting this down with some serious wounds in an ancient watchtower from the look of things, that’s really saying something. We had a caravan meeting to discuss our next move, at which I was offered a job after it had been discovered that I didn’t work for the “Little Ray of Sunshine Caravan Company”, and in fact, I was a passenger and essentially free money. We decided to pause the wagon here while a small exploration team goes out to survey the surrounding area. I wanted to be in on this, it was a chance to get back into familiar territory. Thoorin, the wobbly goat-man, Lazarus the unending torrent of words, and Ambrose the silencer of the storm were also asked to join. The last member was a bit of a surprise, the dancer I saw fighting with a scarf during the pirate raid, whose name I finally learned was Katarina, also asked to join us. I don’t think anyone objected.
On the first day, not too long after leaving the wagons, Thoorin and I spotted some badger tracks in a soft spot of the frozen ground. I thought if we followed the trail, Ambrose could keep our position with the mapping gear, I would have a challenging trail to follow, and If we did find the little bugger, we could eat fresh meat for the first day or so. It wasn’t easy, and after a day of trailing the beast, we didn’t appear to be any closer to finding it. The faint, winding trail across the frozen ground of the lower mountain range distracted us from the bitter cold, and by the time we made camp for the night, myself and Katarina were in the early stages of frostbite. the others were, surprisingly, perfectly fine. Although I knew where the trail was, by the next morning, I couldn’t follow it. We reviewed the path that we had followed, and decided on a direction from there.
An hour or so into the day, we come across a canyon pass with two large and crumbling stone columns flanking it. Something about it seemed ominous, so I, and Thoorin as well, approached slowly, cautiously. Lazarus followed, until we were a few yards from the columns. He went ahead to take a closer look, and before I could blink, Two giant vultures were standing on top of an unconscious Lazarus, who was quickly becoming the center of a growing pool of blood. Before I could think of a suitable distraction to reach the medic, Thoorin starts squawking, and the damned thing is, the massive birds actually start looking at him. I thought he was going to be next, but they held what looked like a civil conversation for several minutes. I thought this was my chance to repay Lazarus for his medical skills, but I wasn’t counting on carrion birds, even of this size to be so ferocious. Before I could get into position, I had the pleasure of feeling my chest being opened by a dull bird beak. I was trapped, I couldn’t move, I couldn’t even throw something without the sudden movement startling the bird into attacking me again. So I did the only sensible thing, I sat down to lessen the fall my rapid blood loss would soon cause.
I woke up a bit later, I’m not sure how long exactly, and the first thing I noticed was there was a lack of giant birds, as well as a lack of my own blood on the ground around me. The second major thing I noticed was the “Lizard of Terror” in the canyon. It was something as big as a building, and made of scales, feathers, fire, and rage. I resigned to my fate, there wasn’t a chance to bring this thing down, I was injured, Lazarus was still bleeding, and Ambrose was looking smug. I know that wizards can create images of things that don’t exist, I know they have illusions and mental magic at their command. Even knowing this, and after seeing Ambrose walk through the damn thing, I still couldn’t not see it there. It still looked real, up until Ambrose dismissed it and it faded to æther.
Lazarus started mumbling at this point, apparently he was still alive, even after the thing had poked at his liver a few times. Since he was in no state to move, We set up camp in one of the towers. Apparently, there was some kind of writing on the inside wall of the tower. At least, I assume it was writing, and not some kind of math problem. The writing was of great interest to Ambrose, and probably Lazarus, but Thoorin and I couldn’t read it, so we both set about the same idea oddly enough, See what’s up in the tower. Both towers had the same design, including the same rotten nubs where the stairs up used to be. neither of us could manage to free scale the walls, and at this moment I was cursing myself for not buying that grappling hook in Jaddah Yafif when I had the chance. I was even staring at the damn thing, and I passed on it, deciding that I wouldn’t need it, that the frontier is relatively flat, and I wouldn’t be tomb diving. Well, The Beast obviously had other ideas, and here I am. We eventually settled on tying my last dagger to the end of the rope, and having Thoorin throw it until it stuck fast enough to something for me to climb it.
After looking round the upper floor, and seeing how barren it was, I started looking for a better place to secure the rope for the others to climb up. I noticed a hatch in the ceiling, and after a bit of deft maneuvering, managed to heft myself through it for a look around. I found, among what was probably the nest of one of those vultures, a fair number of coins scattered among old remains. Well, at the very least, this trip wasn’t a total waste of time. There are parts that could have been avoided, say being ripped open by a bird, or nearly freezing to death in pursuit of a badger, or even getting lost in the mountains in the first place. But, as it stands now, we’re all alive, I’m wounded again, we have part of the mountain range mapped out, and we’ve made some coin for the trouble. I still plan on investigating the top of the other tower, maybe I can find something else of value on this trip.

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Travel Log of Lazarus S. Brixton 2
Entry 2

Lazarus S. Brixton
Sanguine preserve us all in his holy embalming fluids. I knew that this was a savage land of savage people, but today just eclipsed any expectations that I had coming here. Honestly, I haven’t the faintest idea on how to begin my tale or even how I survived. Has it really only been four days since my last entry?

I suppose that the best place to start shall be where I left off. It was a fairly standard day after words until apparently some sort of squat humanoid blob jibbly thing appeared. I do apologize, it is rather hard to describe it. It is almost as if a shapeless blob of flesh got bored and decided to bounce from place to place. Either way, it was a most fascinating specimen of the savage physiology and a welcome distraction. It is covered in hides and furs and some sort of what I now know to be a holy symbol for the creature. Most amazingly, the creature appears to be sentient and is named Thoorin. Also apparently the Caravan’s holyman. No wonder why this caravan is filled with so many savages if this is the sort of creature a man like Charlie regularly hires.

Savage or not, I noticed that the creature was injured and thus was Sanguine bound to lend my assistance to it. After a quick surgery, I extracted the cause of the creature’s pain/indifference. Appears that somehow the creature had gotten a crossbow bolt lodged in its kidney. After sealing the wound and collecting some of the pus and blood for further research. As it was getting late, we decided to call it a night after my nightly stretches.

The most interesting about the creature is that when I encountered it the next day, there was no sign of the wound. This must mean that this specimen has an extremely fast regeneration instead of simply a repair system. With further questioning and research, it may be the key to unlocking the inner secrets of the body’s own regenerative system, possibly even halting the toxicological and degeneration of cellular effects caused by aging. In addition, if I could harness such an effect, it might even be possible for me to transplant organs and limbs to replace those that others may have lost through misfortune. Especially if such a treatment to artificially induce a similar rate of regeneration is developed, we might be able to avoid lengthy recovery time by creating new cells instead of simply inducing a wound healing cascade as my current extracts allow.

Unfortunately, due to the creature’s less than compendious grasp of the tenets of the Imperial Tongue or any other language but his own savage guttural growlings, our conversation was less than insightful. I would have continued my line of questioning had I not heard the distinct sound of a dragging Cat-o-nine-tails that I have learned to dread coming towards me. Upon catching sight of the damnable King Savage, I promptly vacated to have a little chat with Summation to learn about his Biomechanic physiology. It was rather interesting. Despite the complete differences in life fluids and structures, it turns out that he actually heals very similar to a civilized man. At least this is very well as I am certain that he may be injured if we continue to run into more of our perils.

Next with the bellowing from a horn that I later learned was Gerrard, one of our rowboats made it out of the fog at high speeds. While I was uncertain of exactly what the horn bellows meant, I assumed to prepare for some sort of trouble the best way a chirurgeon can. I honestly did not expect that the savage would be coming back with someone, especially someone in that condition.

The man that the savage deposited on my operating surface was thoroughly worked over by the savage forces of nature. The man had uncountable wounds and bruises across his body. The only reason I suspect that he hasn’t succumb to blood loss was that the blood had frozen in his frostbitten limbs and flowed sluggishly through his veins. I quickly injected him with my Rapid Acclimatization Serum to prevent further effects of Frostbite although I still had to deal with the effects that had already occurred. At this time, the holy man decided to join me in helping me heal him. His methods, while primitive, where highly effective as much as it pains me to admit it. While he used his magic to sustain the failing body, I quickly brewed up a Cellular Division potion to attempt to curtail the damage and improve the effectiveness of our treatments. Once we completed our tasks, it was almost as if the man had never been injured at all.

The man called himself Az Rasani and appears that he is a frontiersman on a pilgrimage of sorts. Apparently he had been riding on a passenger boat that was attacked by Savage Orc Pirates and left for death by them. At this we decided to prepare for the possibility that we also may be attacked by the same band.

And so we were. I of course, reacted as any Calvan would and helped repel the boarders with my martial prowess. No mere pirate, no matter how savage, is ever a match for a Calvan on the water. Even though the creatures wielded a bulky projectile launcher that launched giant rocks of all things, I was able to send them on the run with my explosives. As I led the charge, the others showed that they had some skill at fighting. Rasani, surprisingly enough, is a talented archer although I believe that this fight may have led to aggravating his condition. Gerrard was unsurprisingly effective at using his shifter blood to enhance his fighting styles and even the entertainer fought surprisingly well for a non Calvan. As for my rival, I honestly don’t remember him doing much except for waving his hands and sputtering nonsense. Truly his nerves must have been at the breaking point for the mere presence of an orc raiding party to bring him down. Alas, not all of us can have the disposition to be a Calvan Gentleman.

However, the largest spectacle was the savage creature. Even though the creature started completely weaponless, it did not let it deter him from engaging in a primal display of savagery. As it bounced orc to orc, it picked up a dagger that had formerly belonged to Gaius prior to him losing it to the creature in what I imagined must have a terrible fright for Gaius. The creature didn’t simply stab or slash with the dagger, it merely punched with it foregoing any pretense of a civilized fighting style. It continued with this until it delivered a delightfully effective speech, culminating with a snapping of some hapless orc’s spine.
After this rousing performance, our party starting behaving more like Calvans and starting beating back the orc pirates. After I had entered the fray with some more explosives, the cowardly orc savages ran away to lick their wounds. Unfortunately, due to the aggression of party, there was no winnings to show for it other than a battle axe that the creature took and the curious stone thrower for Rasani.

For some reason, Gaius started salivating over that stone thrower and started claiming that he could make one even smaller that shot out the projectiles faster. While it can be forgiven due to his non Calvan upbringing, I promptly corrected his mistake and informed him of the existence of Firearms that renders such a weapon moot. Ah, the look on his face. Sometimes, its the little things that keep a Calvan in tip top condition. Although that reminds me, I must pick up some honey in Middleborough. I am still angry at Gaius for ruining my tea and honey back in that inn when he accidentally hired some whores and then he tried to renege on it.

Afterwards, we came upon the wreck of Rasani’s former ship. Naturally I went forth to render aid but alas I came too late even for my prowess. The worst part about the ship was the state the passengers were in. Those Orcs were determined to represent the worst this frontier can offer. While the savages in our caravan even the creature and the Tyrant Cree may have a air of restrained civility about them. A thin one, yes, but even they know the tenets of civilization while these pirates set up these passengers and brutally disemboweled them and sliced them up after they been rendered helpless but while the passengers still lived. These orcs got off far too lightly for their crimes. If I had known of the depth of their crimes when we fought with them, there would be some on my operating surface awaiting their contributions to Sanguine via vivisection. It would be no less than such monsters deserved. At least some good came out of it. We recovered some Jaddha Ayiff trade goods that we may sell and also some repair materials which I suspect will be in high demand in the days to come.

Following that jaunt through depravity, Rasani, no doubt due to his past wounds, came down with a bout of Filth Fever. I expertly administered care using my bedside manner that I have carefully improved on through the Collegiate of Sanguine Sciences. According to my professors, my approach is so successful that it would rouse the dead into walking away healthy. While he was down, I decided to pass the time in the traditional manner by recounting tales of my youth. Surely an imperial countryman would relish at the opportunity to learn how such a fine example of a Calvan Gentleman had come to be. I continued forth the entire day on this vein while making sure to extol to the man that Gaius can not be trusted to be right and ways that the man has caused trouble with his ideas. Alas, this opportunity to inform a Frontiersman of the glories of Calva came to an end when the savage creature appeared on my door step. Rudely interrupting me, it somehow convinced me to take up guard duty for that day while it watched the patient. I would assumed some sort of pagan magic was involved if it weren’t for the fact that no uncivilized magician or sorcerer could pull the wool over the eyes of an Calvan. So bidding my patient farewell, I went forth to guard for the day and to sign up for second watch.

Other than landing and bidding farewell to Jackie’s barge, not much happened during the day. I did get some amusement at watching Gaius get used as a porter while I had the excuse of having to be alert and on guard to prevent me from such a fate. It was not until night had arrived that the truly interesting happened. I was posted on second watch, a paragon of perception as any true Calvan can attest. Throughout the night, I had heard strange noises but was unable to find the creature making them. I wisely and cautiously awakened the hunter Rasani to see if he could help me in my search for the elusive creature. But alas, the Frontiersman merely scoffed at my correct assumption that something was out there and went back to sleep. I continued my vigilant search for the noise until my watch was up. Upon waking up Rasani, I calmly and collectedly returned to my wagon to sleep for the time I had left before morning.

I woke up to Cree getting the camp ready in the morning. It turned out that the noise Rasani had scoffed at had marked up all our wagons. Upon recalling some of my learnings about the region, I informed that it may have been a creature called a Fieand Bear but the fools merely scoffed at this notion. The savage Gerrard even went so far as to strike my personage. The only reason that I didn’t cripple the man where he stood was for the good of the caravan. In reflection, I do wish that I gave into the ungentlemanly response of gutting the man but as they say only Calvan hindsight is perfect.

We set out to the ridge above the ruins that Cree found the day before. It was an imposing edifice, almost a rival for a Calvan Guildhouse, with pillars of different materials. It was these pillars that drew my attention. I noticed upon these pillars that there was writing. I decided that rather trust my rusty linguistic skills that it would be better to employ the Linguistic Cognate Agglutinogen, a marvelous formulae that actively forms antibodies that somehow interpret the literal meanings of any language spoken or written. Unfortunately, as this only affects one’s perceptions it cannot be used as a shortcut to communicate to others. Oh dear, I believe that I have gone off on a tangent.

With uncharacteristic intelligence, Gerrard delayed his entry and also attempted to translate the pillars. While it was a good try, the man had horridly mistranslated some parts into words of safety instead of warning. Luckily, I remembered that this man was merely a savage and not a Calvan and decided to double check his work. I worked out the warning as “Beware this place for it the is home of Fiend bear. Ancestor Spirits rest with Him below. This is where death Treads”

As you can imagine, I promptly decided to leave this place until we can come back with more men or at the least a Calvan firearm. The others of the party decided as well. It wasn’t until I was calmly telling Charlie that it was best to leave this ruin to another day and to move on that I noticed that Gerrard was missing. At first this did not seem remiss but amidst a loud bang, I knew that savage stupidity the likes of which no Calvan would ever stoop to was being committed. While the rest of the party prepared for trouble, we continued with our attempt to get ready to leave. Suddenly, with a loud roar from down below, Gerrard cleared the top of the dune and took off running as the coward he was.

Then I saw the beast. It resembled a gigantic humanoid bear with the talons of an eagle and curling ram horns sprouting from its head. I imagined that this Fieand Bear must have been angered at Gerrard. In my sense of urgency, I admit I let my Calvan resolve slip for a moments as I humbly beseeched Gaius for the best placement for my plan. Using my Calvan intelligence, I placed a bomb to bury the foul creature underneath a dune of rocks. I then expeditiously retreated myself to the wagon.

By this time, the wagon had taken off at full bore. At this time, I reflected well on my morning calisthenics which have lend well to my withdrawal. I managed to outpace the wagon and promptly jumped in the rear most wagon. Once in safety I decided to look back and found to my dismay that the beast had taken flight. For the next twelve hours that beast trailed us and hounded us. Our attacks were useless against it, our attempts to escape were curtailed. We only lost the beast through a fluke chance.

The beast evidently took umbrage that our caravan managed to elude it for so long and decided to leave us with a parting blast of lightning. Luckily, our wagons took the brunt of the hit and most of our people were left unharmed. The one exception to this was the poor Frontiersman Rasani. The man was apparently shotgun of the caravan and was trying to take potshots at the Fieand Bear with his stonethrower. After I heard the scream, I was unable to think of anything but healing the man. I used my skills honed through long years of improving upon my physique and tumbled, somersaulted, and leapt into the front Wagon. Somehow the savage creature followed me to act as a impromptu nurse. Over the course of our flight we managed to bring the Frontiersman back to full health. The man will be scarred for life most likely, however life already seemed to have beat this damage to this. We decided to rest for night upon consulting our Ironborn Driver for where we were in the mountains.

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Rasani's Log, entry 1
or, bearly enduring the first voyage?

My journey North has been eventful. Second day on Grrx’s Cut we get snowed in for two days. The day after that, I nearly die to a raid of Orc Pirates. The day after that, when I realize I’m not supposed to be in a pile of corpses, I nearly die of exposure trying to escape the wreck of the Neverwhere Barge with what bare essentials I could grab on the way out. I wake to find a one-eyed Calvis man, and a living ball of dough with goat horns providing medical care. I wake with enough time to warn this, caravan by the looks of it, of the danger ahead. Apparently, this caravan has better combatants then the barge, as we repelled the pirates. The notable fighters were the Gypsy Bladedancer, the arrogant and long-winded Calvis doctor, the large and brutal polished crocodile, and the wobbly goat-man. With the pirates either dead or fleeing, we came across the ill-fated barge. I recovered my things and even found a Dakka left behind by the Orcs.
The following day I discover the problems of getting out of a corpse pile, some of it comes with you. I spent the next two days recovering from some sickness that left me feeling weak and sluggish. The first day was spent under the care of LAZARUS S. BRIXTON. I have never in my relatively short life been so ready and willing to leave the care of a Doctor. The madman doesn’t stop talking, ever. and the entire time he was recounting his own life story, and paying special attention to his love-hate relationship with his current roommate Gaius. The next day was spent under the care of the blob. His method of disease treatment was prayer in an unknown language. He would also size up my leg bones when he thought I wasn’t paying attention. Unsettling, but effective. I was back on my feet for when we landed on the Northeast shore.
We set up camp on the shore, right on the edge of the rocky desert that sat between us and the Spiked Brace. We set up watch rotation, With Lazarus on second watch for some reason. I was shaken awake by Lazarus sometime during the night. He was adamant that he heard something stalking the camp. I found nothing to prove this, and went back to sleep. When I was awoken for my watch, Lazarus ran back to his wagon, and I’m pretty sure he barricaded himself in there. On the off chance he was right, I paced the camp every fifteen minutes or so, And I placed my recovered bear traps on either end of the wagons. During my last hour of watch, I heard the north trap close. When I checked it out, there was nothing in it. I woke Gerrard, the Shiny Feralkin, to help with looking for whatever snapped it. He noticed some tracks around the trap and encircling the camp. I tried to identify the tracks, and two things became apparent. One, these tracks didn’t belong to any animal I’ve ever seen, magical or mundane. And two, these tracks were still crisp, even with the wind as strong as it was.
The next day, we decided to Explore the ruins. The caravan was parked atop a dune and four of us, myself, Lazarus, Gerrard, and Undercooked, went into the ruins. I saw the doors, and began checking for breakwires, levers, or anything else that could possibly be dangerous. Lazarus and Gerrard were absorbed in reading the writing on the columns in the entry area. Lazarus, after translating one of the columns, loudly proclaims that this is the home of “Fiend Bear” and walks out. I have heard legends of fiendish animals, mostly horror stories from my mentor Korinth. I didn’t want any part of this, so I left as well. The holy man also followed for his own reasons. Which left Gerrard, and he, instead of taking the sane option, he travels farther into the ruins.
A few minutes later, Gerrard comes bolting out, a spear in hand, and something big roaring after him from farther in. I would be lying if I said I didn’t expect something to happen, But this is a bid insane. After hearing the roar, I shout at Lazarus to bring all his bombs out, and point at the base of the dune. At that moment, all hell broke loose. Taking that as the sign to leave, the caravan takes off at full speed. Lazarus does something apparently very unexpected, he begs Gaius for help. with his help, Lazarus plants the bomb at the base of the dune, and then runs faster than I thought possible straight back to his wagon, diving into the moving wagon screaming about the “FIEAND BEAR!”. It was gaining ground, and once it created the dune, it rose from the ground and flew after us, without aid of wing or magical trinkets. I, sitting in the shotgun seat of the first wagon, take a few shots, which I’m not sure even tickled it. Gerrard was far in front of the caravan, and not slowing down. As we were making our move to escape, the smell of lightning grew thick in the air, and the monster roared thunder and spat lightning. Because I dared to insult it by attacking, it was looking mostly at me. I managed to put myself between it and Charlie just in time.
I mumbled something to Charlie, tossed myself in the back, and passed out. I woke later in the day. Lazarus and jiggles were attending to me. We were still moving quickly, making sure the demon was gone for good. We came to a rest late that afternoon, and by then I was walking and able to help again. It took us a while to discern where we ended up, we had left the desert behind and were now in the mountains. There, we decided to regroup and make repairs. Once decided, we noticed one last thing, Gerrard was missing, and, honestly, I couldn’t bring myself to care.

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Gaius Travel Log 1

Entry 1
Once I again it seems that I am cursed to be forever haunted by one Lazarus S. Brixton. It seems he has the audacity to challenge my rightful position Ambrose Ballrene assistant. The opportunities to advance humanity’s position on Oki can not be understated here. This trip give me unparalleled access to many different races and creeds, thus giving me the valuable data I need to prove my Soul Weapon Realignment theorem.
If I can implement the Theorem, I should be able to realign weapons acquired through conquest from their original prophet alignment to that of the Spire. If I manage to pull this off, the possibilities are endless. And I will most be filthy rich, a minor if favorable side effect. 137 will be able to fill out armies easily with the opponents own weapons. Or the government can seed Spire aligned weaponry to puppet factions in puppet wars. I shouldn’t want to shed my own countrymens blood if I can avoid it.
The events leading up to actual caravan are not that interesting. Other than the typical arguing with Lazarus… While I’m on that subject.
Lazarus S. Brixton, he is an enigma of a man to me. Friend/Foe/Intellectual equal alike. He is unique. I have had the “honor” of being his roommate in Academy for as long as I can remember. I am normally a quiet respectful person, but he some how lights a fire inside me. Somewhere between his absurd personal habits. The breathing, or lack of, thing is unsettling at best. It sounds like he’s drowning momentary twice a day. His lack of respect of personal space is well documented. His poking and prodding of Gerard is very disrespectful. While he is technically sub-human, Gerard that is, he is still human none the less. I wouldn’t be surprised he tried to cut off a sample from him at some point. He, Lazarus, will no doubt scavenge some sort of flesh after the eventual battle.
Most of our childish bickering, I’m not above calling what it is, come from our mutual interest in science. Its our different specializations, research, and goals is what drive our frienemy, friend/enemy, nature. His focus on the physical body and its alteration verses my search of metaphysical nature of the soul and its working in the grand scheme of the after.
How souls interact with the afterlife is my, most noble, goal of my research. Does a soul have different weight/mass/value some how in the after? I’ve never been the preachy type, so I have to attack the problem of gathering souls for the Spire in a more scientific mathematical nature. Converting souls after they have departed, per say. Some would say this monstrous, but given the nature of soul alignment of weapons, It has be tackled. I care for the imperial souls that some netted and dragged into some other prophet. I do not want the fate of my brother’s soul to be that of any more imperials.
Back on subject, The trip so far has had its interesting events. The caravan crew is a bit exhausted it seems. I would assume that is from our late arrival and weather conditions. Giving a proper introduction and time, most of the rushed “moods” will dissipate into their natural states. And I became the fortune teller. Odd role, but given my interest in fate/time/personal choice, it should provide a valuable source of research.
Gerard (surname not given:note find out his surname. I don’t want to be rude.)
A were-gator skinwalker. Seems like a noble person. His nomad roots give him a sense of honor and respect. I respect his bluntness and honesty. I should inquire more of his past. I have not seen his combat abilities, but he can certainly swim and endure the cold.
Katarina Maximoff
I quiet woman of average height. The ears imply that she is half-something. Elf I would guess. Though the ears could imply anything. She hasn’t said much, given the presence of Laz and my self. Again, make note to interact and figure her out.
Charles “Charlie” Crayton
The owner/operator of the caravan. Straightforward businessman. Could possibly do well in the capital if he chose to. Though from my initial interaction, the internal politics of 137 might eat him alive.
Tyrant Chief Saltuk Cree
A short stocky man. Crayton’s enforcer. I can’t get a read on him. Too busy getting this caravan inline to be personable.
Jackie Bliss
A female River Giant. 10 Feet tall. Appropriate weight for her athletic build and height. She has 2 pet bears(dire?). She is a part of a Guild/Clan of river giants. Jackie was nice enough to ask most of my questions. She and her kin run a Guild of river flat boats that drastically undercut the competition, (Trade prince name) of (City)(play note:can’t remember the name of the trade prince and the city). She also mentions pirates. This can potentially lead to several options. The pirates could actually be pirates, and removing them could get the caravan in good graces with the River Giant Guild. Though, any thing brave enough to willingly attack a giant is nothing to venture at blindly. This raises the point that the pirates might actually be privateers. Most likely sponsored by (Trade prince). That would be a whole other venture. The third option, which I have immediately dismissed, is betraying the River Giants. But I have no interest in that. As I scientific minded individual, I have to look at all the possibilities. But moral responsibility has to be involved with the scientific process.

I can expect us, the caravan to reach the shore soon. Here is too fate that we don’t get attack by some random river monster…
-GLQ

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Travel Log of Lazarus S. Brixton
Entry 1

Lazarus S. Brixton
Entry 1

Gaius Larcius Quintus. This man has dogged me for years. As a classmate, a roommate, and most importantly as a rival. It seems that nothing I can do can get rid of this man from my life! The worst part is that I don’t even know how such a man got picked for such a prestigious opportunity under the illustrious Professor Ambrose Ballrene. I will give Gaius credit, he is a brilliant man and a damnable fool who has somehow beaten me in every single Alchemy Exam we had. Seriously, I swear that the Alchemy exams are rigged somehow. I got a perfect score once on the exam, and he just saunters up to his Cauldron of his and promptly completes the exam and gets higher than a perfect score! How is that possible! I can not count the ways this man has slighted me with his mere existence!

Regardless of his academic achievements, once we hit the open road, it became quite clear to me that Gaius has little practical skills for this internship of ours. The man cannot live off the land, cannot fish, cannot even read a map particularly well. I, being a premier Calvis Gentleman, decided to lead by example and showed him the very basics of these skills. Unfortunately, he seemed to have disdained them as the meeting with the Caravan head showed.

We finally arrive three days late to our rendezvous due to the countless breaks that Gaius forced us to stop at while I attempted to reason with him with my superior rhetorical skills. At this time the temperature was roughly around a tad chilly and a fog reminiscent of my hometown had rolled in. I, of course, decided to have a reasoned debate with Gaius over the status of the rendezvous. During this verbal interplay, we were rudely interrupted by the savage named Girrard. Girrard is evidently a Feralfolk. but at the time I merely thought of him as one of the many Savages that dot this land with nothing to add to the teachings of Sanguine. Unfortunately, he did not seem to like being addressed by his proper title of savage and gave me a little bit of a fright.

After this we met up with the Caravan and Professor Ballrene. I made certain to introduce myself first to prevent Gaius from attempting to ingratiate himself with the Professor. However, the Professor seemed to be rather distracted and merely pointed Gaius and I towards Charles Crayton, leader of our Caravan. I humbly submitted myself as a medic and then, in perhaps one of the most sublime moments of humor I have encountered, watched Charles run down the list of duties until he could find one that Gaius qualified for. It turns out the apparently the only thing he qualified for was to be our counselor in the form of a Fortune-Teller. As if an academic student in a vein of purely theoretical knowledge can assuage the torments of our souls. Hell knowing the fool, he’ll go on the claims that his research can somehow help and ignore the true cause of suffering, the body.

Speaking of suffering, we met Cree. A savage man for a savage land, not that I will ever tell him that to his face. Such a man puts the fear in me, although it is tempered with my Calvis resolve. I will try to limit my interactions with the man beyond the purely professional. We were assigned wagons. I was originally assigned a spot with six other, while Gaius in his uselessness was going to get a wagon to himself! A proper Gentleman of Calvis will not stand idly by while such a travesty against his stature occurred, so I promptly requisitioned a spot in the Fortune-Tellers wagon by moving my stuff in. We divided up the wagon in our traditional manner and prepared to set off.

We arrived later in the night to the docks. Cree forced even my esteemed prestige to operate as a porter instead of merely shifting it towards those better suited to such actions. Although, it lead to some hilarious situation where Gaius proved that he truly does not know how to handle himself with the proper self-restraint and that our savage scout does not know what a Ursus arcto is. Sadly, I could not enjoy this sight much longer due to the site of Cree sneaking up with a whip. I am fairly certain he would not dare strike my personage, but he is such a savage man that I dare not rely on the basic tenets of civilized society to stop him.

Once we had finished packing, we had a half hour to prepare. I decided to wisely invest this time by finding the nearest alchemy shop and bought some reagents and solvents. I had an encounter with Gaius, who promptly screamed something and fled. Afterwards, I gathered up miscellaneous fabrics to use as bandages as I predict trouble in the coming days.

Once underway and our course laid out, I started on the medical exams of the crew. I sped through most of them as our crew is relatively healthy and skipped examining Cree and Jackie for the reasons of him scaring me and uncertain if the other would assume that my interest is anything but professional and Sanguine in nature. After clearing though the healthy normals of our group, I got to the one I wanted to see, the savage Girrard.

My examinations of the savage yielded great results of the physiological changes. I’ll refrain from enumerating them here as I have already recorded these details elsewhere. Regardless, this examination will speak volumes in advancing my mutagenic research. Once I completed his examination, I sent him on his way. The damn savage fool promptly jumped into the water! The cold must have gotten to his reptilian brain as he stayed down there for six whole minutes before I realized that most people require air. I, of course being being a proper gentleman, jumped in to save only to have the savage pass me on my way down. Incidentally, next time I should rethink jumping into frozen waters wearing heavy furs as I was promptly dragged down. Luckily, the savage showed that he understood the importance of his betters and pulled me from the water. I retreated back to the Fortune-Tellers wagon to change into dry clothing and to warm up.

Well that’s enough for today journal. I have to hide you now.

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Diary of Inuon (day 5)

Day 5: While we were treating Kovu’s wounds and discussing what we should do next I hear something splashing in the room beneath us, I figured that it was just some more bugs until it called my name! I looked down through the grating and I saw some guy in the room below. He was half-submerged in the deep water and looked to be wearing religious robes, although they were literally covered in crap. I told him that he couldn’t go any further down there and to go back and come to the upper level. After about a little while he makes it to the room and we open the door. I had a ray of frost spell ready in my hand in case he wasn’t friendly. He claimed he was a Sanguine priest and had been sent by Mr. Larth to replace one of the members of our team who he could not reach. His story made sense, so I dropped the attack spell and instead cleaned him up with some simple prestidigitation. Figure if he’s going to try healing our friend then he shouldn’t get shit all over him, I already tried that, didn’t work. But he did seem to have some decent healing…he got kovu out of critical condition in moments, and did it without casting anything or doing that thing that religious people do…ummm…channeling. Admittedly kovu still looked pretty fragile, but he doesn’t seem to be fighting just to stay awake anymore. With a spell from the guy kovu looked much better and we decided to see if we couldn’t forge ahead a little further now that we got some divine magic. Unblocking the door we head onwards, our hired help staying there to maintain us a safe base of operations that we could fall back to.

We saw what looked like a picture of a goblin doctor on the door in front of us, and kovu and I instantly realize that this room would be right above where “licky-licky” was. So I knock on the door and as expected we hear the goblin who we gave the carcass to answer from the other side. It seems surprised that we are still alive, much less at its door. At this our priest comes up and says that he can help him fix ‘licky-licky’. Even I know better than to offer something like that carelessly to a goblin! But the fact that this guy, who should know better than me, just did shocked me so much that when the goblin opened the door and yanked him inside, I wasn’t able to get to the door quick enough and it was slammed in my face. The last thing I heard the goblin say was “YOU BRING BACK LICKY LICKY!!” I figure things are about to go to shit real soon, but I wait at the door and listen, hoping that the priest knows what he is doing. He doesn’t…a few seconds later I hear the goblin yell angrily and a loud thud and decide that’s our cue as I yank the door open to see the priest with a visible dent in his face wildly flailing his knife and throw his sunrod at it, while it tries to hit him with a lead pipe saying it wants his brain. I quickly run in and try to get between the two and keep the goblin from smashing our cleric’s face in. Unfortunately kovu once again is not paying any attention in the doorway and I swear I heard a crack as the goblin takes advantage of this to crack him in the back of the head while he tries to get around me to our terrified priest. Eventually he manages to dive behind me and get out of the door, which I move to block. Since the goblin helped us before, I don’t want to kill him…and I know from my last fight that these guys are very tough to hit with my bone and I’m not sure I could kill him with it if I tried. So I did the only thing I could think to do, I tried to desperately convince him to stop attacking us and that he didn’t want the priest’s brain. It took a while but eventually I managed to convince him to stop trying to kill us by convincing him my bone is cursed, although he didn’t seem very friendly towards us anymore as he slammed the door shut.

We take a few minutes and let the priest heal us all back up until even kovu seems almost completely healed, despite the fact that the goblin took him down in less than six seconds. Then we carefully proceeded onwards into the other room. There was nothing of interest, but we could hear enemies behind all three doors. We decided to kill the dog first, which kovu did effortlessly, although it alerted the goblins behind the other two doors. Eventually we fall back into the room before and I grease the room we left. And while the goblins slip and slide the priest and I take them out with little trouble. After we search the rooms for loot we find out something interesting about the priest. He’s terrified of bugs, well the giant ones at least. He spent most of the night huddling in a corner, as far as he could the grating separating us from the flooded rooms below.

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