Tales of the Adventure
From the diaries of Rabinagath Bador:
The 6th of the Third Moon.
At long last this dreadfull caravan is over, of all the indignities my family has suffered none has been so grating as this latest journey over the sands. My caravan so full of promise was lost to me as I approached Drudenia two months ago. Penniless and indebted once again I was forced to join the caravan of the the Qi merchant and profiteer Feng as a mere baggage handler in order to earn my keep across the sands. Feng took a keen interest in my humiliation during these trying times. The only position he offered me was that of manure keeper. My blood boils in its veins with heat of my shame. In Drudenia however Feng himself was the misfortune one, for this now cursed land had no interest in his eastern trinkets and silks. He departed for home a poorer man for the efforts of his journey and I rest soundly when I imagine the crippling taxes he will face when he passes back through Khosh.
18th of the Third Moon.
Times are bad in Drudenia, the once proud houses are led by broken even maddened men. Whatever darkness scourged this land, has left it once again in Age of Dust. The oasi’ are dry, the valleys wilted the merchant banks depleted. No one here will lend me the money’s I need to return home. As my own resources are nearing their end I have decided to enter deeper into Tandesea looking for new products to sell in the east and investors to finance me.
The Fourth Moon
I’ve taken in with a Drudenian magician who fancies himself a learned man and doctor. He speaks constantly of his knowledge and potential while doing nothing but smoke his numbing leaf. However poor he is though he always finds provisions and being a man of the sands cannot leave another man without bread. He is a man lacking the shame due his lowely position, but he scarcely notices such deprivation. He sells concoctions of mud as medicine to the ignorant in exchange for the brown coins of this country which are not even worth their own weight in bread.
However his company is worthwhile.
Two on the road are safer and he knows this land better than I.
15th of the Forth moon
After a long March we have arrived in Sandsend, a trivial market town at the end of the Tandesean sphere of trade. From here we wish to obtain passage to the capital of the province by river craft.
16th of the Forth moon
At long last fortune shines on me again, today a river boat protentiously named the Cloudhopper docked in Sandsend. The captain, a reasonable man, saw promise in me and has agreed to bring myself and my Drudenian with him on his return to the capital.
Interestingly these water folk are wiser than they at first seem. They captain has proven to be a generous and reasonable if remarkably gutless man. While dealing in limited goods he is a trader of some sophistication I notice.
The captain has a reasonable collection of maps and and charts, albeit in dreadfull condition, that he has gullibly allowed me to correct and clean up for him. Thinking little of their worth he has unwittingly let a fellow merchant see these most prized possessions and bizarrely even offered me compensation for their adjustment. Obviously I have altered several key locations on the caravan routes to protect them from Tandesean merchants and spent every conceivable effort in memorising these charts.
This evening a Farusean criminal offered me a trifling sum to bring a package to the capital for him. As an exercise I tried to bargain with him in order to test the value of his goods and managed to attain a value worthy of consideration. He has given me a small book to transport which must be of significant importance. It is sealed with what the captain believes is the seal of a high house.
Curiosity, ever my bane, I have opened the package. It’s contents are puzzling. A book of floor plans to one or several large buildings, conspicuous in their absence of notes or written information. I will have to think of a way room reseal this package before I arrive in the capital.
17th of the Forth month
An eventful day. I’ve seen things I never thought were true. Man beasts, of lore. The locals call them Orcs. Around midday we noticed burning on the western bank. Great plumes rose in the distance and blew towards us filling the river with acrid smoke. As we accented the burning drew nearer. Suddenly we saw peasants on the shore running for their lives, pursued by ragged men on barbarous assortments of armour. A few were hacked down others dragged into the woods. Four managed to leap into the river and seeing our boat swam out to us.
One of the crew, the youngest and most awkward wetlander I’ve ever seen left to their aids without hesitation. Taking a line he hurled himself into the water and sea out to them. Impressed with his bravery I leant what aid I could, securing his line and hauling him and one man back on board. The orcmen were more barbarous then Qi soldiers, firing at the women with arrows. Two were killed barely off from the shore, one lasting minutes as her wounds tormented her. The sailor reached the closest peasant first as the captain brought the boat out of danger from the Orc arrows. We managed to get them back on board but the sailor was hit by a deadly arrow through the chest. I have treated him as best I can, and can only pray he makes it. The man on reaching the boat left back off to save the remaining woman as our crew fired back at the orcs. Two fell to our bolts and another spontaneously burst into flames. Some devils magic of the Drudenian perhaps. I saw him playing with oil earlier.
It’s evening now, things have settled down, I wish to hear what these peasants say of the Orc beasts. I fear another danger has been unleashed on this land, one detrimental to my designs. If the trade routes are further cut and Tandesea is lost to us as Drudenia has been, I fear the caravans may cease completely, and my nation which depends on them, will be lost.
We have reached the town of Goom halfway on our jourey to Hela Girith.
Fortunetly we have found a medical man who was able to extract the arrow from Cloudhopper’s woud. He rests now at the Doctor’s home, With luck he shall see the morning.
The two farmers we rescued are too shocked to speack much but they told us of the invading orcs, and how the neglegent rulers of this land’s armies, left their farmers unprotected. Such things are impossible to comprehend. Arable land is more valuable than gold, yet in this opulent land, swimming in it, they think nothing of leaving vast tracts unprotected. In Khosh our fields are surrounded by defences and walls. Yet we have so little in comparison to this land. It is similar here to the lands of the Qi, where the rulers think nothing of their farmers, but in Qi they would never leave a field unguarded.
I feel for these poor farmers, unlike the people of Drudenia, recently scourged, these people are inoccent, kind and protectorless. It seems they know some peope in Helas Girith I will see them there safely, and see to their needs as best I can when we arrive. I myself know what it is like to lose my home to invading dogs.
On other manners, the mystery of this meaningless book only deepens, most likely I never should have opened it, but it was too hard to resist. Who would offer so much to send something of no worth, it must have some hidden value. No doubt the maps theirin are of some castle, or keep, and it must be that they are of use only to an assasin, thief, or invading force. Fearing i may have got in over my head I have let my drudenian freind see it, he has destroyed a page of the book but reveaed thhat there is hidden though indeciherable texts on it. Now my concearns are about delivering it so damaged and opened without angering the recipiants. Judging by its worth, they will no doubt be eager to have it and pay the remaining silver, but it could be that its contents are something they would silence a man for having seen, though I cant make heads or tail of it.
Zartoushvar has gone, a bit crazy with suspicious thoughts. For some reason he covets my meager silver, a if i would see him starve without paying hi back for his prior generosity on the road. Still I thinkk it best that I keep the actual amount secret from him. These drudenians have shifty eyes and slippery fingers, everyone knows this.
In the morning I hope to aquire a spearhead for my weopon, times are growing dangerous and I must be able to defend myself if these orcs attack again.
We sail in the morning and should arrive in Helas Girith before the end of day.
Diary of Rabinagath Bador part 2
20th of the Forth month.
GOLN. An eventful day, first thing we fetched our injured crewman from the doctor, who we later discovered robbed him and then charged the captain for his healing on top of that. Afterwards I went to an armoury and purchased a healthy spear, which greatly satisfies my sense of personal safety.
Back aboard the Cloudhopper around noon we came upon a half sunken river boat. Inspecting it we discovered it had been attacked, the crew and two of its Farusean passengers had been murdered. The younger of the two was still clinging to life where we boarded and through him it was revealed that a third passenger, a young lady on her way to being married was kidnapped. The body of an assasin was found on deck as well. We are now towing the boat into Helas Girith, this has delayed us some and we will not arrive until morning.
21st of the Forth month.
Helas Girith is a sprawling rats nest of a city. Previously I’ve only known this nation through its old southern city at the terminus of the trade routes. Compared to that this is a city of shear chaos and disorganisation that casts even drudenian cities in a good light. From a distance one could see the spires and rooftops of fine buildings in the city centre, but as you approach this is lost to maelstrom of filth and disarray. Soon you forget this place is other than an over grown refugee market. People from all lands crowd the port, thieves, swindlers, and suspicious officials thrive here and it wasn’t too long before we had our first incident.
Arriving in town our weapons were confiscated from us simply because we were foreign, though the locals seem to carry them as they deem fit. Personally I managed to smuggle in my sword and knife as well as my trusty firepick I use as a staff past the inspector with ease. Zartoushvar however was thoroughly searched.
I was glad to at last be free of the Cloudhopper, for relations with the captain had taken a turn for the worse since he exploded in an unwarranted outburst the previous night. I had simply been preparing to engage in my filial rituals using the bodies of the murdered crew as an aid to my meditations upon the transitory nature of life, when the captain came storming in. Accusing me of sickening acts, it took me all my control to resist skewering him for his disrespect towards the already started ritual. The ungrateful wretch Cloudhopper, who whispered dark imaginings into the captain’s ear, lives only because I cannot strike down an injured man. To think that I’ve already saved his life twice and even carried his misproportioned body to the doctor in Goln and this is the thanks I receive. As thanks any civilised man would offer himself as a vassal to repay such kindness, yet in this land one simply whispers behind their saviour’s back.
People in this land have no honour, that at least is something I’ve learnt from these travels. Nonetheless I must love among them for some time and must learn to forgive them the errors of their upbringing.
It is my intention to see our peasant friends safely to their family in the granary district and then to find decent accommodations fit for my stay here. I will be needing more silver soon.
Zartoushvar turns out to be a coward. How else to explain his odd behavior disembarking the ship and his refusal to accompany us to the granaries. Instead he decided to remain in port and meet us later tonight at the Boots of Grace.
Crossing town I’ve seen that this city is rich in its desires, the market is swollen with products and I think some western items would sell well here. Though I’ve seen nothing yet worth bringing home to Khosh. This land is rich in grain alone, but it’s too far and valueless to transport so far.
Surely there must be something of value here that I can remake my fortune on. If not perhaps I will have to travel deeper in my search.
The previously mentioned incident occurred shortly after we passed the market. We had entered a warehouse district where the crowds began to peter out. The suspicious looking red scarved fellows from the docks had been following us for some time and I had been alert to them, however as we entered a long stretch of isolated road we were ambushed by three more approaching us from ahead.
I wasted no time, knowing the only way to defeat them would be with shock and fear. It was kill or be robbed, there was no choice but all out attack. As soon as they were close enough I flew upon them smashing one in the chest. River grass, our dog, then attacked him ferociously. Turning to the second I floored him. Then as he rose I brought my staff down upon him again. He went out without a twitch. I turned again on my first opponent who had now injured Rivergrass and smashed him against the side of a building.
As I did this, I turned backed just in time to see another attacker coming up on me from behind, but before I could act he fell to the ground with Cloudhopper stabbing him in a frenzy.
Perhaps he has finally realised what he owes me? Or perhaps he is just a backstabbing sociopath, we shall see.
With three members down the others gave up the attack and ran away.
Crowds had begun to gather and I thought it best to depart quickly. I picked up two knifes from the fallen attackers and we moved off towards the granary once again.
21st of the Forth moon, part 2
The day was far from over. As I sit now in the homely comfort of a dirt floor in a squalid tenement in the dirtiest slum my body is truly exhausted. Still I attempt to write this all down before I drift into sleep. My memory is not what it once was and I’m keen to remember certain details of the day.
Following the attack in the granary district we made poste haste from the scene diverting around a few bends in order to distance ourselves. The last thing we need is the suspicions of the authorities on us as well.
As we approached our destination at last it seems a fire had broken out in the warehouse of a wealthy merchant. Among the crowds joining in the fire effort Quintas spotted his cousin. Putting our week and wounded safely upwind I joined in the bucket brigade for what seemed like hours. Fire is the natural enemy of life, it is one duty to always contain it.
As things settled down Quintas’ cousin invited us to stay with him and his family in a district known as the Beggars Ditch.
Towards evening we arrived at his home, his wife having prepared a scant meal for us all. I was ready to at last collapse into sleep but Zartoushvar was rather keen to go outside suddenly and nothing I could say would dissuade him from the dangers that would entail. At last, I agreed to escort him.
It was dusk and the crowds in the slum were thinking. He took us to visit a series of Drudenians and the babbled on in their language, though I hardly had the energy to follow what they discussed.
At last as we were about to head home I noticed the approach of three figures that bode I’ll for us. Trying to lose them I quickly dodged around a few corners before trying to dissappear in the shadows of an alleyway. As they passed though they must have smelled something as they stopped and started holding their noises and laughing. They then started to enter the ally.
What a town this is, I’ve been attacked twice in a day.
Bravado has sent many a man to his doom.
Today it sent six.
The alley was dark and an excellent place for me to defend with my trusty firestick.
Slowly retreating into the alleys depths we drew them into the maws of the Lord of death. St last they charged us but in the dark had little chance of slipping past my defending staff. Something flashed past my ear and a man went down screaming then in a blaze of fists Zartoushvar attacked another, knocking him off balanced enough for me to smite him to the ground. The final man again tried the same and again Zartoushvar nailed him in the dark distracing him from the incoming staff. All three had fallen now but Zartoushvar wasn’t finished, he left on the back of the staggering man with a knife in his chest and drove him head first into the ground.
My collection of knives is increasing rapidly, perhaps I should open a shop.
But first, home, and sleep at last.