Alden Minor

1st - BOOK OF DAYS

by Thorn Galanodel

BOOK OF DAYS, by Thorn Galanodel

1364 DR (the Year of the Wave), Tarsakh (The Claw of the Storms)

First Ride, day 4 Ah, the first entry in a fresh journal. Pen and ink skillfully applied to yielding virgin vellum. It is always a pleasure to begin a new book. I must thank my benefactors for being so kind as to provide a clean slate upon which to capture events for posterity. This chronicle is to mark the humble beginnings of what promises to be a heroic band of epic proportions. Of course, that is easy to say when you are one of the members of said band. We do not yet have a name. I think of names, but none seem to fit. Blooded Band. Restless Knights. Lost Souls. None fit as of yet. There has yet to be that special, defining moment in which a name evolves. For the moment, we are but a collection of talented individuals with great potential. And I foresee our efforts as a group being far greater than the sum of the parts. Our fearless leader, Kylverin, is a human bard from a noble line. There is something about him that commands attention, some quality almost otherworldly. Perhaps it is just good breeding, but he seems a natural leader. Our front-line warrior, Teeny, is a humanoid of some sort. He calls himself a Mule. Surely I can believe some mighty sorcerer combined mule and man to create this brute. Massive and hairless, he presents an intimidating figure. Combining brain with brawn, Rhynn Dohn is also a warrior. He served for years as a bouncer in a particularly rowdy tavern, “Bucky’s Lost Sword.” There is no doubt he has seen his share of the rough and tumble life. Our wizard, Thorn, is a bastion of humility. He is too shy to mention his supreme intellectual abilities. He is too modest to mention his mastery of skills as a scout and artist. Well, maybe he is not so unassuming after all… Though we are currently a group of four, it is my understanding that our benefactors shall be sending us a potential fifth member. Rumor has it this person shall be a member of the clergy.

First Ride, day 5 Today we have accepted our first job. We shall convey merchandise through dangerous territory, perhaps never to return, or perhaps to return with heavier purses. Only time will tell. <sketches> Dramatics aside, we are to deliver a heavy chest to a person who has purchased to contents, carting it through potentially dangerous territory.

First Ride, day 6 We have successfully delivered the merchandise. It was a quiet journey save an attack by a trio of stirges in the middle of the night. Even caught by surprise we dispatched them with ease, so quickly that Kylverin was not even roused from his sleep. Two of the abominable creatures began to feast on Teeny, but with Rhynn Dohn’s help he took them down. I cut down the last one with my dagger even as it latched on to my arm. These creatures have a fascinating ability to drain a large quantity of blood in mere seconds. I was lucky to have exterminated the beast attacking me in such timely fashion. I feel a little woozy now and then, but seem otherwise unaffected. Teeny was not so lucky and seems quite worse for wear.

First Ride, day 7 Our group heads back to town with a few extra coins jingling in our pockets. The success of our first mission, however humble, has us all in good spirits. Though Teeny has yet to completely recover from the Stirge attack, he can hardly talk about anything but the first ale he will buy with his adventuring money! Moments like these are what make the life of adventure worthwhile: The knowledge of a job well done; the satisfaction of brushing evil creatures aside; anticipation of the first purchase to be made with newfound wealth.

First Ride, day 8 We have returned to Alden Minor and collected the rest of our reward from our employer. My companions have already begun their celebration at Bucky’s tavern. I doubt our coin will survive far past this night, but we have earned it. Come the morrow, we assemble before our benefactors and meet the proposed fifth member of our stalwart band.

First Ride, day 9 This day carried with it woeful tidings. Our meeting with the Blades of Grace brought news that our potential fifth member, a human ranger by the name of Davin Farsight, had turned coat at the last, joining a rival band sponsored by the Warlords of the Bloody Axe. Apparently he has even become the leader of this group (which has taken on the name of their benefactors). In case this rivalry leads to future problems, I have begun inquiries to investigate their membership.

The new Warlords of the Bloody Rose Davin Farsight, human ranger, known to be a military strategist, natural leader, and visionary. Lodi Battlecry of Clan Blueboot, dwarven warrior, twin of Raus, a real barbaric powerhouse, wild and resilient. Raus Battlecry of Clan Blueboot, dwarven warrior and priest, twin of Lodi, controlled and pious. Cadiance of the Red Knight, priestess. Shade, half-elven sorceress.

Our group has at last taken a name, one that honors the influence of The Blades of Grace, our patrons. We shall henceforth be called The Hammers of Justice, a worthy suggestion by Rhynn Dohn. <sketch> This day also carried pressure from our benefactors. They are hosting a ball during the Greengrass festival. During this ball, we are to regale their guests with tales of our wild adventures. Somehow, I doubt we can play up the delivery of a chest sufficiently to entertain a crowd of nobles who have led their city through war and strife. Despite this, I look forward to the ball. It should be a wonderful opportunity to find out more about this town. A new mission is in order, one that can load us with wondrous tales and have us back in town quickly. To this end, we have investigated several leads. The temple of Chauntea had advertised a request for help reclaiming a druidic grove, but a group called the Shadows had already accepted this contract. Clan Blueboot offered a reward to exploration of a mine, but the journey alone would cause us to miss the festival. The wizard Ozwinbourne wishes to recover items from a human section of the Ruins of Thaztilcha. So now we find ourselves in the service of Ozwinbourne, accompanying him to explore a derelict Temple of Oghma. The deal we struck was far less than satisfactory to my taste. The best we could haggle from the greedy old man was that he kept 75% of all we found and had the option to buy us out of any items we claim. Still, it is far better than his initial offer and the only mission available that could possibly have us back in time for the Greengrass Ball. An additional revelation – Ozwinbourne seems convinced that Kylverin is not human. Kylverin made no attempt to deny this claim, though he neither seemed interested in further discussion of the matter. Something else keeps nagging at me. Thaztilcha rings a bell somehow. I am sure if I had some time I could remember, but the disappointments and pressures of this day have perplexed me. I hate to go into a situation where I do not know what to expect. I am sure Ozwinbourne knows more than he is willing to tell, though I am unsure as whether he is holding out on us or simply keeping his cards hidden. Once again adventure beckons and only time will tell our fate.

First Ride, day 10 Thaztilcha – an ancient elven city, brought down after they opened their doors to other races. I would have thought that knowing more about where I go would bring me some comfort. I was wrong. This evening finds our group staying in a barn. A friendly farmer was willing a trade a warm meal and shelter for a little labor. Teeny performed in an hour what may have been a day’s work for the man AND his family.

Second Ride, day 1 Another day of travel, highlighted by a chorus of tavern songs. Ozwinbourne’s repertoire of these songs is like unto that of a bard, though the same cannot be said of his talent.

Second Ride, day 2 We have been joined this day by a creature that is strange in deed and action. I would seem to be a badger, by appearance, but either tame and trained, or somehow intelligent. This beast has befriended Teeny, who inadvertently sheltered it from being food for a wild bear. An array of magical missiles from Ozwinbourne sent the bear running, and the badger apparently decided to stay.

Second Ride, day 3 The terrain is subtly changing as we travel. Rolling hills are slowly replacing the flatlands.

Second Ride, day 4 Ozwinbourne has keen eyes, especially for an aging human. We may have inadvertently crossed paths with a two-headed giant – an Ettin, I suspect – had he not spotted it before we were too close. The creature seemed to be constructing a shelter or fort of some kind. I have heard Ettin to brutal, mindless creatures bent on evil and destruction. Though I was curious, there was no reason to test the validity of that particular rumor.

Second Ride, day 5 We have arrived at the ruins and made our way to the section that once was inhabited by humans. This has been a day of strange portents and visions. Rhynn Dohn was the first, seeing the city first as it was when it was in its prime, flourishing and full of life, then as it was during the humanoid attacks that brought it down. Recognizing the terrain where he saw a mighty warrior brought down, he dug up the skeleton and recovered a blade that is likely enchanted. Kylverin succumbed to a similar vision and began digging. Soon he found himself with a rapier that also is likely enchanted. This, however, is quite puzzling to me. How would a rapier, a style of weapon created within my lifetime, appear in a city so ancient? Thaztilcha fell before my grandfather was born, if memory serves me correctly. Most likely some other band fell prey to whatever inhabits these ruins. One of them happened to be carrying an enchanted rapier. Still, my instincts call out that something is wrong. Perhaps my mind has simply had too much time to itself while we have been mindlessly excavating the centuries of dirt accumulated in the ruins of the temple. The sooner find the items and retreat from this mysterious place, the better.

Second Ride, day 6 After we spent a good deal of the day excavating, I found the door to the catacombs below. After I was certain it was not trapped, I allowed Teeny the honor of opening it. A fortunate move, for the mob of skeletons that poured out would surely have overwhelmed me. As it was, I fared little better. I foolishly grabbed up a prying tool to use as a club and attempted to assist Teeny and block the creatures from getting to Kylverin and Ozwinbourne. It turned out that Teeny needed no help from me, and Kylverin and Ozwinbourne only bickered with each other rather than using the opportunity to provide assistance. For my trouble I received a nasty head wound from a rusty blade and a snide insult from Teeny. Were it not for a handily delivered healing potion from Ozwinbourne, I am sure I would not be writing in this very journal. It is clear that The Hammers of Justice have much to learn about teamwork. I should write this off as growing pains and lessons learned, but I cannot help but wonder whether joining this band was a mistake. One way or another, I must rely on them until we leave these ruins. Perhaps in that time they can redeem my trust in them.

Second Ride, Day 7 My previous entry was written as I lay recovering from my near-deathbed. Poor teamwork and bad judgment on my part nearly led to my early demise. I was left pondering the validity of the Hammers as a group. Fortunately, we finally experienced a crowning moment in which each of us had the opportunity to shine both as individuals AND as a team. As we further explored the defiled temple, more undead inhabitants rose against us. All the teamwork missing in the previous skirmish finally surfaced. Teeny and Rhynn Dohn worked to hold back the horde as the rest of us found cover and began peppering them with missiles and spells. While we did not escape unscathed, our actions to help each other resulted in a formidable route of the enemy…and perhaps a growing bond amongst our group. Perchance there is hope for this group after all. If we can continue to perform in a way that is mutually beneficial and allows each of us to contribute our own strengths, we can only prosper. This morning finds our band heading out and away from the ruins. We travel back to Alden Minor, the object of our respective quests in hand. Ozwinbourne has his book (Quite a prize it is! Out of professional courtesy, I shall not name its powers in this unguarded journal.). We Hammers have a tale of honor and glory…and a little swag to boot. Just as we were about to leave, the elven guardians of Thaztilcha greeted us. It was a surprise to meet them on the way out rather than on the way in, but I am sure they have their hands full covering so much ground with what is sure to be limited resources. They were quite concerned that artifacts that came from the city should stay with the city. Fortunately, after a brief conversation in which we explained our mission concerned only the ruin of a defiled human temple, they granted permission for us to pass. < Sketch of temple layout >

Second Ride, Day 8 Pouring over the books recovered from the temple has brought Oz (he insists I call him Oz) and myself closer. It seems we are now working together as peers. I believe we have found the cause of the corruption of the temples’ dead. Several of the books we discovered were devoted to raising and strengthening the dead as animated servants and guardians. These were vile and twisted tomes that displayed some of the worst aspects of necromancy.

Second Ride, Day 9 The road is hard but our spirits lighter as we head back to town. Though our hearts call for adventure, it seems our bodies call for well-earned rest. I find myself looking forward to a long, relaxing soak in a freshly drawn, steaming bath. Add to that fresh, clean clothes unstained by road and blood, and the company of a good lady, and you have the formulae for happiness. I find my spirit further uplifted by Kylverin’s music. He surprised me this evening by singing an old elven ballad I have not heard for decades. I am sure my reverie this night will be filled with childhood memories of sitting on my mother’s knee as she sang me the very same song. It is strange how even the sweetest of memories must also carry a burden, a toll to be exacted as the price of remembrance. As happy as I felt a moment ago, now I am just as sad. I miss my mother and father dearly. Would that Evermeet had waited a little longer before calling them home.

Second Ride, Day 10 Rhynn Dohn took a fall today. As we were crossing a ravine, the ground gave way beneath him and me. I was close enough to the edge to scramble to safety, but he was not so lucky. He fell and twisted his ankle. Stoic in his pain, he claims he is all right and denies offers of help. He would not allow the group to slow on his account. However, as we traveled on I could not help but notice the limp. Add to this the wounds he received from the defiled priests, which are only just beginning to heal. As we arrived in camp, I removed my boots to massage away some of the pains of this day’s march. Rhynn avoided doing such, possibly for fear that a boot would be unable to be returned to its rightful foot. Teeny also suffered from the skirmish with the priests, taking a nasty blow to the head. From time to time he seems disoriented and dizzy, but he quickly snaps out of it. He and his newfound animal companion chatter away at each other…though I am unsure as to whether this last item should be considered unusual behavior. Rhynn and Teeny are both warriors, and as such project themselves as tough as nails. Despite this, I can see their eagerness to rest whenever the party halts. I worry for them both; though there is little else for me to do, as I am neither healer nor divine spell caster. For their sake, I hope our trip home goes smoothly. < Sketches of the undead priests shambling through darkened hallways >

Third Ride, Day 1 Perhaps Rhynn and Teeny are as tough as the image they try so hard to project. Despite their aches and pains, they keep up their usual banter. While it would be untrue to say there is no complaining, their banter has taken on new proportions. It almost seems to have been elevated to a rivalry – whoever calls for rest first loses the battle of wills. Kylverin seems to have sensed this, and calls for rest with increasing frequency. The excuses are amusing if only for their inanely shallow veneer. Surely he does not expect us to believe so many pebbles could become stuck in his boots. < Sketches of Hammers of Justice coat of arms >

Third Ride, Day 2 Today we came across something that struck fear into our hearts. It is not unusual to find a mauled animal in the wilderness. However, when that animal is a bear… I cannot help but wonder if this is the very same bear we encountered on the way out to Thaztilcha. My curiosity, however, was not strong enough to keep me in the area long enough to investigate. < Sketch of Teeny and badger leaping into bushes as a huge bear looms over Oz >

Third Ride, Day 3 Excitement builds as we draw nearer to Alden Minor. Around the campfire tonight we discussed our adventure and how we would present it at the upcoming ball. As the conversation turned to other matters, Rhynn shared a vision he experienced before he discovered the long sword in the ruins. He later presented the sword to me. It is truly a masterpiece. Though I have determined it is not enchanted, it is certainly of sufficient quality to sustain an enchantment. < Sketch of the sword >

Vision: The sun hangs high in the sky, blazing down upon a city teeming with life. It is a metropolis teeming with activity, if only everyday doings and typical day-to-day routines. A dark cloud rolls in from the north across the city. Darkness comes quickly to the city, cutting off the comforting warmth. The cloud descends upon the city, and it is quickly realized this is not truly a cloud but a vast swarm of locust and grasshoppers. People begin to flee in all directions, seeking escape from the sudden onslaught of pestilence. But escape is quickly cut off as endless multitudes of ants come up out of the sewers and attack the people. Striding through the heart of the city, casually directing the movements of this swarm is a humanoid form, composed entirely of bugs. It casually directs the hordes in their vicious, unrelenting assault. People fall before the wrath of the insects, and slowly everything is destroyed. Nothing is left but the bones of the fallen. In time, even the buildings begin to wear away. Rhynn said he awoke from this vision to find himself staring at a large grasshopper flying toward him. It quickly buzzed past his shoulder.

Third Ride, Day 4 So tired…weariness casts a haze upon me. I find my thoughts slipping away even as my quill touches the page.

Third Ride, Day 5 Rest at last, I thought as we entered the city. Hah! These last two days have been a blur. The rigor of working with Oz to identify our recovered items has taken its toll. Oz has been most generous; so happy he recovered his book that he allowed us far more than the split previously agreed upon. Fortunately, I have found time in between for the bath, the fresh clothes, and the company previously mentioned. I am weary, but all is good. We have returned with time to prepare for the ball.

Third Ride, Day 6 Today the Hammers shall make preparations for the ball. This morning we set out to take care of all the necessary formal arrangements. The first duty of the day is to gather the proper attire. This may yet prove to be a daunting task. I must confess I pity the poor tailor who must gather enough cloth to cover the massive frame of Teeny. Come to think of it, Rhynn Dohn is no small specimen himself. And Kylverin is sure to have particular tastes that may be hard to satisfy on such short notice. This day may prove to be a far more interesting adventure than exploring a corrupted shrine in the time-battered remains of Thaztilcha. Addendum – “This day may prove to be a far more interesting adventure…” When I first penned those words this morning, I had no idea just how truly they would ring…especially for Rhynn Dohn. As I sit down with my journal yet again, I am seated at the Tankard’s Tear listening to a minstrel of great beauty and talent. Her features mark her as a combination of elven and human ancestry. Her powerful voice marks her as gifted. Mere minutes ago, her lilting voice nearly brought tears to my eyes with an excellent rendition of an old elven ballad. I sit here going over the day’s events, trying to sort them out and put them to paper. It seems amazing how much can happen in such a short time.

Grievous errors… Emotions exploded this evening as Rhynn had quite a misunderstanding with one of the waitresses at Bucky’s Tavern. Apparently she was an ex-lover who had not yet moved on. Enraged by his invitation of another to the Greengrass Ball, she made quite a scene. There is no fury like a woman scorned, and I have long ago learned to keep myself clear of such raucous arguments (though truth be told, the waitress did all the arguing). Apparently Rhynn Don is just learning this valuable lesson. I beat a hasty retreat from the situation. The matter was between Rhynn and the woman: any bystanders served only to further muddy the issue.

Times like this make me feel alien; Elven sensibilities set me apart from the human culture. Though many humans have no problem making their affairs a public spectacle, in my culture these things are usually kept private. There is nothing to gain in grandiose spectacle but the stroking of fragile egos.

A Place To Call Home? As our group gathered for breakfast this morning, none other than Davin Farsight, leader of our esteemed rivals, approached us. The new Warlords of the Bloody Rose had returned from their quest and come to us with a business proposition. It seems the elder Warlords own a property they are willing to sell to our respective groups. As it is located somewhat close to the docks, it would not be considered a prime piece of land. With secret doors and a hidden exit to the sewers beneath the city, it is extremely likely to have been a safe house. However, it is a rather impressive estate with room for both the Hammers and the new Warlords. Our own sponsors, the Blades of Grace, previously spoke of providing us with accommodations. It was unanimous among the Hammers that we owe it to the Blades to check in before accepting the offer from the Warlords. We have made an appointment to do such tomorrow. If we do accept, we will need to consider personnel to provide upkeep. I will need to make some inquiries around town about where to find skilled help. A good butler is essential. A cook and maid would also prove quite useful. Once we have acquired mounts, we will also find need of a hostler and a stable hand. Kylverin suggested that we also employ a page. I will also need to allocate space to set up a rather extensive laboratory. I will need to house equipment for magical research and alchemical work, with room left to conduct experiments with constructs. Perhaps Shade of the new Warlords will need similar accommodations. If so, perhaps something can be worked out between us. If this is to work, there are many plans to be made. However, there is time enough to think things though.

When is a badger not a badger? During my exhausting ordeal of identifying items, Teeny grew closer with his pet badger. He even named the creature Tito. He later had the strange experience of Tito leading him to the local temple of Lathander. To the best of my knowledge, Lathander is a human god of dawn, rebirth, and renewal. Dali, the high priest of the temple, granted the creature access and sanctuary. Dali came to Bucky’s this morning to return Tito to Teeny. At our invitation, Dali joined us for breakfast. He was treated like royalty by the staff. It was almost comical witnessing the extreme measures taken by the barkeep to provide Dali with the best of everything. However, I have rarely met a man who seems more deserving of such fine treatment. I found Dali to be a sincere, soft-spoken man who was honestly interested in the well being of others. It is my impression that this is a very rare quality in humans of high standing. Then we had the opportunity to get to know Tito better. Through limited speech in the common tongue and Dali’s ample translations, we learned a bit of Tito’s past. Yes, Tito can speak, at least as well as his current form will allow. Though much of his past is unclear even to him, Tito remembers that he was once a human priest of Lathander named Alanon. He died or was killed. Somehow his body fell in to the hands of an old enemy who proceeded to reincarnate and torture him. Tito eventually escaped his captor and lived in the wild for a while. Avoiding the grim prospect of becoming bear food, he came across us. In accordance with the tenants of Lathander, Alanon has taken the name Tito and accepted his new lot in life as a rebirth of sorts. Rather than be crushed under the oppressive weight of a strange new existence, he has chooses to accept this twist of fate and move on, building a new life for himself. It is always a pleasure to meet one with such indomitable will. It was a relief to discover the truth about Tito. I must confess that I had been on my guard against the creature, for from the first I knew it to be in some way unnatural. Simply stated, it did not act like a badger. When is a badger not a badger? I suspected some familiar sent to spy upon us or some shape-changer attempting to infiltrate our band. I am glad I was wrong. However, this story does not yet have a happy ending. Somewhere out there is the vile, twisted person who committed such a heinous act. This person is undeniably powerful, perhaps beyond the ability of the Hammers to bring to justice. Yet, by traveling with Tito, we will inevitably have to face Alanon’s past. It would be far better for us if we sought it out rather than letting it come to us.

A fitting end The skilled assistant tailor, Pedro, handled Kylverin and my needs. A lively and easily excitable young man, he has quite a flare for human styles. Rhynn and Kylverin spent much of the time talking about their respective dates for the festival. It made me think about how lonely I am for the company of my own kind. The companionship of by fellow adventurers is stimulating, but there are times when one feels the need to be amongst others with a similar cultural heritage On an impulse, I slipped out of the shop while Pedro was busy with Kylverin. Pushing myself to act quickly, to keep from having a chance to think better of it, I tracked down Shade of the Warlords and invited her to the festival. I could tell she was startled by the abruptness of the invitation; after all, we had met only that morning. If only her grasp of the elven language were a bit stronger…I had to repeat my invitation in the human tongue before she fully understood. However, she accepted. I slipped back into the shop and found little changed since my disappearance. I do not think anyone even noticed my absence. Certainly not Pedro or Kylverin, who were busy arguing over hose. Rhynn Don was too distracted making arrangements for both himself and his date. Teeny was clearly overwhelmed by the whole affair, caught up in the middle of such bustling attention.

Third Ride, Day 7 There is little time for a journal entry this evening. My time must be spent copying some of my sketches for a dwarven craftsman. Therefore, I will be brief. Perhaps I can elaborate later. The meeting with the Blades of Grace went quite well. So well, in fact, they offered to finance the endeavor. Needless to say, we eagerly accepted this wondrous deal. The dwarven craftsman was an odd little fellow named Bubba Bad-Crack. At least, that is what he told us when we visited him within the profoundly deep halls of the Blue Boot clan. Apparently his dwarven name is hard for others to pronounce, and as a joke humans dubbed him Bubba Bad-Crack. It seems the name stuck. Back in Alden Minor I once again threw caution to the wind and erred on the side of bravery. Fortunately, things worked better this time thanks to the teamwork of the Hammers. Acting upon a cry for help, I rushed to an alley only to find it blocked by men posing as Blue Cloaks; the local city guard. Blue Cloaks are rarely in the habit of turning people away from a crime rather than subduing and arresting criminals. Kylverin and myself brushed past the guards as Teeny and Rhynn set into them. Rounding a corner, we came across a woman and a man being accosted by armed and armored brigands. The two of us managed to hold them off – barely – until Teeny and Rhynn were able to rejoin us and finish them off. The pair – a butler and a hostler – had just been let go with a handsome severance from the estate of a woman who had recently passed. The gang had apparently targeted them for this money. Before we had a chance to learn any more, the true Blue Cloaks interrupted us. The squadron was led by none other than the father of Rhynn’s date to the ball. Needless to say, for a while this made a tense matter a little tenser. For our trouble, we received a gift from the woman – the dagger used by the brigands to stab her father. It is obviously an item of magical power. Though I am curious as to its properties, it makes me nervous. Though the owner of the blade died by Teeny’s hand, this was an organized gang with magical resources and accurate reconnaissance. Given this, there may be trouble from the local thieves guild. If so, steps must be taken to prevent repercussions.

Third Ride, Day 8 I presented two problems to the group. Both were answered by “lay low and let it blow over.” The first was the matter with the brigands. The second was the matter with Alanon’s (Tito’s) captor. I fear we have not heard the last of either, though at this time I agree with their assessment. For the moment, I would rather let these issues blow over rather than face them head-on. Rhynn had a most disturbing revelation today. He was “invited” to meet with Sergeant Irongrasp, the father of his date to the ball. Apparently the conversation that ensued was the typical overprotective father type speech. However, the accoutrements behind the father’s desk – the black hood and headsman’s axe of the town executioner – seemed to give the speech a bit more impact.

Third Ride, Day 9 Good news has arrived. The couple we saved from brigands agreed to become the first of our staff at our new home. Perhaps the home needs a name. Hammer Hall? Justice Hall? No, these sound far too much like a human courtroom. Daemon is a butler by trade. Margaret is a hostler. We spent the day showing them around the place, talking about our plans for the future, and letting them know what duties are expected.

Third Ride, Day 10 Nearly the whole day has been spent making final preparations for tomorrow’s ball. The whole town is in full bustle, yet strangely quiet. It is much like the strange sensation before a powerful storm.

Greengrass The ball could not have gone better. We were a hit, and certainly brought glory to our sponsors. Kylverin was certainly in his element, making a lasting impression upon all with an extravagant display of grace on the dance floor and poise with a poem I translated. Teeny and a human bodyguard, perhaps the strongest woman I have ever seen, began their own courtship dance. Rhynn’s actions could best be described as diplomatic. He walked the fine line between date and doomed with expert grace. Shade and I have gotten to know each other a little better. Disturbingly, I discovered her magic is focused mainly upon manipulation of the dead. Necromancy. Though I am a fierce proponent that no spell is intrinsically evil, I do not willfully seek out such spells. If I come across them in my explorations, fine. They are merely tools.

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