To Build a Throne

A New Beginning
A New Hope?

This has already become a different task than I thought it would be.

When the elders of Restov offered me a charter to explore the Stolen Lands I almost said no. Only pride made me take it. I thought I was offered an honourable death against bandits, that no-one need hear more of the Incident. but it seems I was wrong, for I am not the only one who was offered this charter.

I now travel with 4 companions.
Jaroslaw seems easy enough to understand. A warrior, and a mercenary if my guess is right. I’m sure he’s here for either money or as a punishment. More likely the former.
Raina I’m less sure of. She’s a nature lover, but rough and gruff. Not at all lady-like. And that bird of hers? Why it’s as large as I am!
The last two seems to know each other. Brother and sister perhaps? If so, surely there’s a story there, for one is half an elf and the other isn’t.
Which is actually interesting. The other men in the party are both fully human, while the women are both half elves I believe. Most curious.

But be that as it may! We arrived at a small trading post west of Restov, via the South Rostland Road. Two people live here, Oleg Leveton and his wife Svetlana. The reception was somewhat mixed. She was happy to see us, he perhaps less so. And they had a bandit problem no-one had mentioned.
I offered to help ofcourse and my companions agreed, much to my relief.

I talked the Levetons into telling us all they knew and all they suspected. Armed with this knowledge, we set up a trap for the bandits.

I was hoping the wizard would have an easy solution, but he claimed his magics were ill-suited for tasks like taking bandits alive and so he ended up hiding one of the towers with his crossbow. We let the bandits in, and closed the gate behind them. I can’t say I am entirely happy with our ambush tactics and the willingness of my new companions to kill, but by all accounts these bandits are murderers and evil-doers and our main priorities had to be the safety of the Levetons.

The wizard acted as spotter and his signal was to shoot one of the bandits – not fatally, but nearly so. I charged their leader ofcourse, and struck him down with a single textbook blow (crit!). Jaroslaw did much the same with another bandit, though he claimed his blow was poor!
Raina’s bird got one, leaving just the one the Wizard had winged.
He tried to run. But he was too close to Jaroslaw. Never turn your back on that man – his blade is fearsome. Seeing what he did to this one make to believe his comments about the first attack being merely glancing, he fully split the fellow in twain!
And then they were all down.

The Levetons were most please! They insisted to rewarding us, and even agreed to let us keep the horses. Which made for another problem. Only 4 horses, but there’s 5 of us. Still, Svetlana insisted we could keep them in their stables for free, and Oleg declared he would make sure to get an extra horse for us within the week! He also made us a list of outstanding offers of reward from the nearby area – or further afield.

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How it all started
Jaroslaw reminisces

How things change.

Less then a month ago, I was a mercenary. Since then, I have been thrown in jail for a crime I didn’t commit, pardoned, and given a charter of exploration, only to discover that I shared that charter with 4 other people.
Cezlaw is a fighter like me I think, though he talks like a priest. Also, I wonder what’s with the spikey-blue hair? Raina’s not much to look at and probably nearly as strong as I am, but I think she’ll stick around longer than any of the others. Tough as nails is my guess.
Though I wonder where she got the bird!

The last two are … off. Both spellcasters I think. I thought at first they were a couple, but now I’m thinking maybe brother and sister? She’s certainly easy on the eyes, but what in the name of the Unmentionable is a little girl in a flower dress doing way out here?

Anyway, we beat up some bandits and made the locals happy. Big deal apparently. But now we’re real explorers! Going through terrain and mapping in out. Just easy stuff so fair, wide opend plains. We saw a wird doggy thingie and met a mad old potion brewer. Not sure I’d drink any of his potions though. Eww.

As we were heading back though, we came upon a giant spider. It wasn’t that hard to kill it, but as we went through it’s lairwe found another of those silver amulets the bandit’s leader had. I wonder if they mean something special?


Forget what I said about a little girl in a flowery dress! She’s really a a monster or something!
She claims it’s a magical servant, but I honestly think she’s possessed. Or something.
Still, if the wizard can keep the monster under control…

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Exploration
Is this thing normal around here?

Exploration. It is our charter but is hardly the most exciting thing to do.

We returned to Oleg’s after about a week as agreed. The promissed horse was there, and so were new people.
The guards Oleg had requested had arrived, under the command of one Kesten Garess. Presumably of the Garess family, though not one known to me. Still, he is welcome, if not very talkative.

The other arrival is one Jhod Kavken. A priest of Erastil! Such exalted company is ofcourse most welcome. He spoke of a lost temple to Erastil, somewhere in the south. Later in the evening, he warned us that it might be guarded by a giant bear. Still, I have no fear, and hope we will find it!

Having spoken with him, we set out the next morning with fresh supplies, quickly exploring what remained on the northern plainsland in our charter. From here on, things will be more of a challenge I fear. We found a corner of what turned out to be the Shrike river and decided to follow it into the hills. Here we came across what remained of a bridge. There was a bell and I rang it.

Imagine my surprise and horror when a corpse came crawling out of the river! I was already preparing for battle and am sure the others were as well, when the dead man spoke. He claimed to be victim of a crime, murdered by a bandit he called the Stag Lord. He demanded that the corpse of this bandit be thrown into his river.

I’m ill at ease, both with bargaining with the dead and with having promissed the death of a stranger. But this Stag Lord is a bandit, and banditry is punishable by death in these lands. Indeed our very charter not only empowers us to do so, but remind us, making it our duty.

I fear I will not rest easily for a while yet.

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Fascinating!

I have seen something new!
Davik Nettles does not rest easily, despite being dead. He was clearly so upset with what had happened to to him that he’d brought himself back from the Great Beyond.
Cezlaw is worried that what he said was a lie, but to be honest, I doubt the apparition we saw would have been able to lie. It was not a whole man, it was but a fragment. A being of pure hate, come back but for vengeance. Fascinating!

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Bandits

Following the encounter with the dead bridgekeeper, we turned north.
Hills as far as the eye could see, moslt naked and barren.
On one particularly barren hill was a tree. Raina claimed someone had been there, though I honestly could not see how that place was any different from any of the other hills for miles around.

Still, we dug into the hill where she pointed, and something was indeed burried there.
A book and some small wand. The wizard seemed interested, so we let him have both.

The following day we found something shiney in the hills. Gondlir claimed it might be valuable, but I doubt it. Wizards have odd ideas of value!

At this point we decided to enter the forest. We’d visited Oleg’s to bring them a couple of boars we’d caught, and had been told how there we still bandits. Garess and his men had had to drive of several ‘scout’, and while we’d thought banditry had gone down (since we haden’t seen any bandits), it appeared to have gone up instead.
Clearly the bandits were hiding in the forest.

In the forest, we came upon some kobolds. I tried to reason with them, but the little critters charged me! The fight lasted almost a minute, but we got them all. not that I noticed the wizard doing anything useful! We then sent Raina’s bird to the Levetons with the raddishes – Svetlana had asked for them – while we kept searching the forest for bandits.

And we found them. I’m amazed. It’s been over 2 weeks since we encountered the first bandits at the trading post. But Raina still managed to pick up their tracks in the river clay. We knew there’d be trouble and the spellcasters prepared for it. Spells were cast.
Gondlir had his raven scout ahead, and told us what to expect. They expected us to come by the trail. So we didn’t.

3 went down from magic before they noticed anything. Then we attacked. Jaroslaw almost died. Would have died if Raina hadn’t been there. We took 3 prisoners. The rest died. In the end, we brought all of them back to the trading post for interogation. Maybe if they talk, we won’t have to hang them. Still, we’re going to have to go through more of these woods I suspect.

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Bandit Camp Blues

So, I nearly died.

A brush with death changes how a man looks at life they say. I wish it was my first. I used to work as a mercenary, so sadly I don’t have that luxury.

We’ve travelled a lot recently, seen a lot of hills, a fair amount of forest. A few bandits too I guess. Not as many monsters as I’d feared. Which is probably a good thing to be honest, as they do tend to target me. Which is OK I suppose. Makes sense, big guy with a big sword and all.

We found the bandit camp. I was all for killing them all, but the wizard said he could maybe knock some of them out. Wasn’t that what he couldn’t do back at the trading station? Anyway.

We killed their leader and about half of her minions. Took some prisoners. Tied them up and took them back to the trading station. Let Garess decide their fate. But not until after they’d talked. So we had to walk while they were on horseback. Great.

Remember when I mentioned how the monsters target me? Not just me though.
We got jumped by a big dumb monster. I think the wizard called it an owlbear. Big frakker anyway.
Came out of the blue – how could a thing that big hide like that? Anyway, it disembowled my horse. Crushed the prisoner ofcourse – And now I have to get a new horse!

Anyway, we killed it and got to the trading post. Luckily Oleg had a spare horse to sell, so that wasn’t too big a problem. Sadly when we asked, the lady-in-charge wasn’t the Stag Lord. And the booze was for him, so he’s real enough. Though a monster from what they tell. Man with a skull for a face? Some wierd kind of undead maybe? We should’ve brought a priest!

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Bandits and Kobolds

When we finally got to the trading post with the bandits, there was a bit of celebration. Aparently these were the rest of the ones that had threatened the Levetons. We questioned them, and got several pieces of information from them.

They served someone they called the Stag Lord. Almost certainly the same person as the one mentioned by the Dead Man by the broken bridge. The bandits claimed this Stag Lord lives in a fortress near a lake they call the ‘Tuskwater’. This left us with a minor quandry. Clearly this Stag Lord character was responsible for the organized banditry in these parts. But the Tuskwater is south of the lands bounded by our charter. If we simply went south and killed him there, wouldn’t we be as guilty of murder as he? Jaroslaw was all for it ofcourse, and Gwendoline gave some pretty good arguments. but for now, I think I’ve managed to convince people that we can’t. Not now anyway.

Garess has mentioned a thief and mercenary named Falgrim Sneeg. I think maybe he could be the Stag Lord?

These were howerver, the bandits that had taken Svetlana’s wedding ring the first time they’d robbed the Levetons. It wasn’t in their camp however and they claimed it had been stolen from them by creatures they called ‘mites’. I must admit my inexperience with such, but Gondlir claimed to know about them. I persuaded the group to go to the mites the next day. To distract them from the Stag Lord, as much as anything.

We rode off the next day. The bandits had provided a fair description of where to look for these mites. And we found them.
Actually, the first ones we found were dead. Dead kobolds too. Perhaps the mites are taking care of those for us? There has been mentions of kobolds being aggressive in the hills.

Then we encountered a warparty of mites. It seems a hilarious concept in retrospect, but at the time we just got off our horses and made a defensive position. The spell casters went for their crossbows. I think Gwen got two before she had to put it away. Then they were upon us. Gondlir had clearly figured out how to make that wand work though. Still, I must admit I don’t understand why they all mentioned expecting such a tough fight? None of these mites had the wedding ring though, so we had to keep looking for their lair. We ended up spending a night, watching that old tree, just to be sure that that was were the mites came out. We killed the warparty ofcourse. Or rather, the spellcasters did. Crossbow practice seems very important for spellcasters these days.

After the sun came up, we searched the area again and found the entrance.

I don’t particularly fancy reliving that again. Fighting on two front is always bad.
They didn’t notice us right away. But ofcourse Jaroslaw had to charge the first thing he saw. And eyll loudly while doing so. The fool! The whole thing would’ve been even worse if Gwendoline hadn’t decided to guard our rear, I’m sure.

We searched the warren, but no sign of the ring. There was however a prisoner. A kobold. I must admit I disaproved. Kobolds are evil little creatures. And now we’re saving one?
But the spellcasters insisted. They claimed to be able to speak whatever heathen gibberish the little spoke, and that we might be able to find out why the kobold were so restless. Which seemed good to me. I was sure Jaroslaw would’ve objected, but he seemed very tired after that fight of his.

Funny how Gwendoline spoke in a much deeper voice than the kobold, but they did get us information.

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Kobold Diplomacy

Dear Diary.

No doubt you thought I’d forgotten about you? Especially seeing as how your previous incarnation was burned?
And even more so, now that I have both Gondlir and The Other to talk to.

No, you are not forgotten.

We have a mission. Ah yes, ‘we’. It’s not just Gondlir, me and The Other now. I travel with a group of… well, two of them are rough types, one appears to be a clean-shaven knight of some sort. So, a mixed bunch.
We have a mission from the Swrodlords of Restov, to explore an area known as the greenbelt. This is not without problems, but that’s to be expected I suppose. A lot has happened during these explorations, but they are for another time.

Right now, I must keep my head straight.

We.. were in a fight with some little creatures called Mites. A type of Dark Fae I believe? No matter. They’d stolen a statue sacred to a group of kobolds – and a great many other things besides.

We.. were in a fight with some little creatures called Mites. A type of Dark Fae I believe? No matter. They’d stolen a statue sacred to a group of kobolds – and a great many other things besides.They’d also taken a kobold prisoner, which is how we know all this. Cezlaw was about to kill the little reptile, but he screamed and begged for mercy, in Draconic of all things. Terribly nasal Draconic, but no matter. He called himself Mikmek and was a clever little fellow. And I think we have a way to resolve the problems with the kobolds without further bloodshed.

We.. were in a fight with some little creatures called Mites. A type of Dark Fae I believe? No matter. They’d stolen a statue sacred to a group of kobolds – and a great many other things besides.They’d also taken a kobold prisoner, which is how we know all this. Cezlaw was about to kill the little reptile, but he screamed and begged for mercy, in Draconic of all things. Terribly nasal Draconic, but no matter. He called himself Mikmek and was a clever little fellow. And I think we have a way to resolve the problems with the kobolds without further bloodshed.*

We.. were in a fight with some little creatures called Mites. A type of Dark Fae I believe? No matter. They’d stolen a statue sacred to a group of kobolds – and a great many other things besides.They’d also taken a kobold prisoner, which is how we know all this. Cezlaw was about to kill the little reptile, but he screamed and begged for mercy, in Draconic of all things. Terribly nasal Draconic, but no matter. He called himself Mikmek and was a clever little fellow. And I think we have a way to resolve the problems with the kobolds without further bloodshed.*Ah yes. Mikmek was able to get us to the Kobold chief, Sootscale. Cezlaw had decapitated the statue on sight, probably thinking it was a monster, but luckily Gondlir was able to mend it.

We.. were in a fight with some little creatures called Mites. A type of Dark Fae I believe? No matter. They’d stolen a statue sacred to a group of kobolds – and a great many other things besides.They’d also taken a kobold prisoner, which is how we know all this. Cezlaw was about to kill the little reptile, but he screamed and begged for mercy, in Draconic of all things. Terribly nasal Draconic, but no matter. He called himself Mikmek and was a clever little fellow. And I think we have a way to resolve the problems with the kobolds without further bloodshed.*Ah yes. Mikmek was able to get us to the Kobold chief, Sootscale. Cezlaw had decapitated the statue on sight, probably thinking it was a monster, but luckily Gondlir was able to mend it.My plan was to use the return of the statue to negotiate with the kobolds, and find out if the warmonger was Sootscale himself, or that odd shaman Mikmek was so scared of, Tartuk. Then we could probably deal with that problem.

We.. were in a fight with some little creatures called Mites. A type of Dark Fae I believe? No matter. They’d stolen a statue sacred to a group of kobolds – and a great many other things besides.They’d also taken a kobold prisoner, which is how we know all this. Cezlaw was about to kill the little reptile, but he screamed and begged for mercy, in Draconic of all things. Terribly nasal Draconic, but no matter. He called himself Mikmek and was a clever little fellow. And I think we have a way to resolve the problems with the kobolds without further bloodshed.*Ah yes. Mikmek was able to get us to the Kobold chief, Sootscale. Cezlaw had decapitated the statue on sight, probably thinking it was a monster, but luckily Gondlir was able to mend it.My plan was to use the return of the statue to negotiate with the kobolds, and find out if the warmonger was Sootscale himself, or that odd shaman Mikmek was so scared of, Tartuk. Then we could probably deal with that problem.that was not what happened. When we offered him the statue, he took it and then smashed it, declaring Tartuk anathema to the tribe. He then charged into Tartuk’s quarters, only to come running back out even faster. Then we went in. Or rather, Jaroslaw did. I was right behind him. Just one slash, with that big sword of his, and the purple kobold was down.

We.. were in a fight with some little creatures called Mites. A type of Dark Fae I believe? No matter. They’d stolen a statue sacred to a group of kobolds – and a great many other things besides.They’d also taken a kobold prisoner, which is how we know all this. Cezlaw was about to kill the little reptile, but he screamed and begged for mercy, in Draconic of all things. Terribly nasal Draconic, but no matter. He called himself Mikmek and was a clever little fellow. And I think we have a way to resolve the problems with the kobolds without further bloodshed.*Ah yes. Mikmek was able to get us to the Kobold chief, Sootscale. Cezlaw had decapitated the statue on sight, probably thinking it was a monster, but luckily Gondlir was able to mend it.My plan was to use the return of the statue to negotiate with the kobolds, and find out if the warmonger was Sootscale himself, or that odd shaman Mikmek was so scared of, Tartuk. Then we could probably deal with that problem.that was not what happened. When we offered him the statue, he took it and then smashed it, declaring Tartuk anathema to the tribe. He then charged into Tartuk’s quarters, only to come running back out even faster. Then we went in. Or rather, Jaroslaw did. I was right behind him. Just one slash, with that big sword of his, and the purple kobold was down.And I managed to spin it! We walked away not only with a peace treaty, but also all their magical treasures! The treaty is written in draconic ofcourse, but it’s signed by Sootscale, in his shaman’s blood. Which was Gondlir’s idea – but I think it’ll work.

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Death of a Friend

I still don’t know what to think of the whole deal with the kobolds.
Perhaps because I’m still not sure I understand – or even know – exactly what happened at the kobolds’ lair.
It was an old silver mine. There was a sign. After that, who knows what happened, not I, I don’t speak the language. Gwendoline explained it all to me, but I’m not sure I’ve caught it all.

Worse yet, our company has split up. Temporarily I’m sure, but still.
Jaroslaw wasn’t feeling well at all, probably after being bitten by … whatever that odd creature was. Also, we had a peace treaty to take to Restov, and so Jaroslaw decided to go to the trading post for a some R&R, bringing news and treaty with him.

Be that as it may, we had other things to do. Our charter still was to explore the area, and Jhod Kavken has been asking for traces of a lost temple. There’s also a Benzen fellow who’s put a reward on a specific boar – it took his leg – and we were open to the idea. If we could find either.

We went up to the bandit camp on the Thorn River. Partially to see if anyone had been there since we were there last. No-one had, so we continued south the next day. We found Tuskgutter – or rather he found us, a day later or so. He charged us out of the undergrowth and hurt Raina’s horse badly. She managed to get off in one piece, but the horse was running. Everyone else dismounted and prepared for battle. It got Raina. I healed her and it just gored her again. It was horrible. I… I’ve seen many deaths. Caused my fair share I’d say. Trying and failing to call Raina back to life again was … different. If only Jaroslaw had been here, I’m sure she’d have lived still. I can’t blame him – how could he have known. And yet.

I’d already started digging a grave for Raina when the wizard… No. his name is Gondlir. I’ve known him for too long now. He is Gondlir, not ‘the Wizard’. When Gondlir warned us that his familiar had spotted an unusually big bear to the north-west of us. So I picked up Raina’s body and we moved back to the bandits’ camp, where there were platforms to put her on, while we went looking for the bear. With any luck it was the temple guardian Jhod had spoken of.

It was. But it was hostile. I had not expected that. Luckily it charged at me, the only truely armoured target. I’ll be honest. The bear vented its wrath on me and I barely survived. Indeed I would surely have perished if not for the gift given to me by the divine.

The place is full of serenity, and brought me healing. But it did little good for Raina. She’s still dead, and there seems to be nothing we can do about it.

And just to rub salt in the wounds, on the way back to Raina, we got ambushed by something that Raina had called a Shambler. We’d seen one before, which is how I know, but back then we just ran away. This time it was more insistant. I’m thinking it smelled Raina?

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After the Raina

IT’s been some odd few days recently.

Jaroslaw went back to Oleg’s, in hopes that Jhod would be able to heal whatever was wrong with him.

While he was away, we went to explore a bit more land, and look for a few of those things people had been asking us for.

We went boar hunting, but the boar got us as much as we got it. Raina’s dead now. If I believed in omens, I’d say that was a bad one. She’s the first of our little group to die. As we were dealing with her death – Cez digging her grave – Hugin spotted a bear. A giant bear.
We moved Raina’s body to the old bandit camp, were atleast it would be off the ground, and then went after the bear. When we got to it, it went after Cez. In a big way. I honestly thought we were going to loose him too, right there. But he pulled through. Physically anyway, he seems to have taken Raina’s death pretty hard.

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