This is the journal kept by the party’s first foe. I felt I had to chronicle my players frustrations from the villan’s viewpoint. I have made the effort to showcase this alien mindset, but none of these views do I hold as my own. So my appologies to anyone who my be bothered by any of the language.
March 22 Today I met with a representative of the firm in the village of Barovia. (I will not even put their name on paper, since it will somehow make my journal into their property). The representative appeared human, but did not have the stench of fear that their kind has. He offered me 2,000 in gold to go in search of a lost king’s tomb. The details sounded good, I could do pretty much whatever I needed to accomplish the task. The only stipulation (I hate lawyers and all of their big talk) was that I had to meet with another lawyer who handles all of the firm’s special projects in Scourange. I am to be paid when I meet this Amberling Hapenscotch in the town of Scourange. Anything to acquire is to be mine, with the exception of some moldering old bones.
March 23 it will cost a bit but I have decided to hire Grislong and his hobgoblins to provide the muscle. This will mean that I have to leave from Darkon, instead of Nova Vasa, but it will mercifully make the ship voyage shorter. Thank Set! I must go to meet Olvis and the samurai, Okabe in Arak as well, so this detour makes much sense. The stupid samurai and his people are so superstitious, that his own beliefs are what hold him captive to my will. He has been an excellent lackey, but I do fear the possibility of him breaking the spell.
March 29 I have met with Olvis and he has agreed to supply a balancing force of muscle to my expedition. 100 gp plus a share of the bounty, steep but it is worth it. So I now travel to the coast of Darkon to meet with Grislong. I have not yet told Okabe about who we are to meet. Last he met them; he was turned into his present form, so I eagerly await the meeting. Set, how I love chaos!
April 2 Nowhere near the excitement, that I have craved, the samurai did not even react to the other hobgoblins. Grislong agreed to bring 6 of his warriors along. I was not in a good mood so I did not even barter with him, I gave him the same deal as the Olvis, primarily to thwart any future problems.
April 3 The boat that the firm provided has arrived. It will take a week at sea to get there. I intend to meditate throughout the journey, in hopes of making it shorter. I did inquire of Okabe about his lack of reaction. He said that the problem under his scales was always been Yoshi Hackoru, the demon that slayed his father. It was so hard to keep my laughter in check. If only the fool knew why he is where he is. HA HA HA
April 7 My meditation was rudely interrupted this evening, by the gathered idiots. One of the hobgoblins made a poor joke at Olvis’s expense. Olvis does not understand humor, so thus no more hobgoblin. Unfortunately the hobgoblin that was killed has a brother who is with us. He has vowed vengeance. I separated the idiots as much as I could and placed Okabe in charge to keep the peace. By now, all of the savages have realized how good my pet slave is with his sword through there repeated sparring contests. I almost feel that he could kill every one of them and not break a pant.
April 10 We have arrived at Scourange without further incident. I am to meet with Amberling Happenscotch at his manor in the morning. I am eager to begin the real work on this expedition.
April 11 After a wonderful night on the shore, I travelled to the lawyer’s house. I expected a big grandiose place, but apparently he rents out an apartment over a stagecoach stables. He does not at all impress me. He is one of those halfmen. Heavy set, and over dressed in some silly suit, he does not even use big words. I believe that he is a simpleton, merely a puppet for some more powerful being. I am to take him with us, as he has the map and a pair of scouts who know the area. This is unexpected; I am not at all pleased to be saddled with worthless baggage. But I have already signed a contract and though I might be willing to break one with about anything else, I know better than to cross the firm.
April 12 Idiots! Grislong has brought along a wererat! Apparently the brother of the slain hobgoblin, Jerrik, decided that once a shore he could enact his vengeance. Scourange, unfortunately could not care what you are so long as you have money to spend or be separated from, so the lesser races are welcome along the docks. Sometime in the night, Olvis went out to relieve himself and did not come back. Murag, his 2nd went looking for him and found his boss being eaten by a wererat who was wearing hobgoblin armor. Fight ensued and all the remaining Bugbears were badly wounded. Jerrik looked perfectly fine in the morning. I forced Grislong to heal the bugbears and told Murag, who wanted to quit that I would throw in 50 gp more to compensate. I also congratulated him as new boss. That seemed to work better. Damned. I will remember that when I deal with him in the future. I also ended up paying Grislong 50 gp more for the potential valuable service that his wererat was bringing to the expedition. I have decided that this is the last time I work with that greedy, goblin chink. Perhaps Jerrik might want a promotion.
April 13 We left the city under the cover of night since most of the group does not like daylight. Amberling and his 2 scouts have kept up well with us. One is a seedy human and the other is a dwarf sized goblin. The human appears to be skilled in scouting and no doubt burglary. The goblin seems to be little more than a pack mule for the Halfling. I generally try to ignore him, but the little lawyer never seems to stop talking. He has a very important client that he needs to see along the way, so we must stop at a human mudhole called Brannon.
April 15 We reached Brannon. The loud pip squeak has gone to meet with his client. The only thing that he would tell me is that he “daylights” as a regional salesman for the Kincaid Brewing Company. I have heard of them. They do make a fantastic cider called Apple Root. Perhaps the fellow might be good to me yet. I expressed my appreciation for the drink, and he promised to bring back a fresh vat. April 16 Now armed with 2 vats of Apple Root, we are continuing on towards the town of Kingsholm. This is were the Halfling, that fine little fellow, says that the tomb is hidden. We have had to keep away from any thing resembling civilization, since these pasty skins are not as enlightened as the city goers.
April 17 We have found an ancient statue of a king deep in the forest. It took some time and one of my scrolls, but I was able to spot the secret passage at its base. I decided to immediately head down, only to have my friend talk me out of it. He suggested using the statue as an alternate route incase we could not get in through the crypt. My friend Amberling thought that it might be good to create a distraction for the town, so I charmed a worg to keep town folk away from the graveyard. 2 bugbears and my pet choker are to keep watch over our base camp. Bizentin, my familiar seems to have an extreme dislike of my fine short friend. He seemed surprised that I had changed my opinion of Amberling so quick. He just doesn’t realize that sometimes we mortals make mistakes about others. Amberling is an intelligent and funny companion I replied, especially considering the company. He told me that I had never once in the more than 10 years that he has known I had admitted to a mistake. I could not recall that happening either, but I was not telling him that.
April 18 We headed in, unfortunately we surprised a town couple and had to kill them. Grislong immediately set about animating, all the dead bodies. Amberling suggested that I keep my eye on him, as we did not want him to get too greedy when he noticed how much he outnumbered us. So he said that I ought to get the priest to leave his dead minions to guard our backs. Then came the beholder room. It was an incredibly easy puzzle, taking longer to move the blocks than to solve. Amberling suggested leaving Bizentin to watch and report how the undead were doing. Bizentin was whole heartedly (if he has one) against this, but I felt relieved to have the nagging imp, stay behind. Now I could focus more on what my intelligent little friend’s advice. We camped at the base of the beholder puzzle for a rest.
April 19 We moved out again. Amberling suggested spots for Grislong to leave his guardians. I had no idea that Grislong was as powerful as he is. The Skeletal Ogre was incredibly impressive. Amberling agrees with me that Grislong must be left behind at some point. Maybe it was his idea; bah it’s not that important. We moved easily through the rope bridge but had to make our own across another chasm. It took all-day but their was no excitement. So far we have not encountered any guardians.
April 20 We found the tombs of the lesser heroes and looted them. Over 2,000 gp worth of coins and gems. The items were all Mastercrafted. We decided to leave Jerrick here after Bizentin, reported that we were being pursued. The imp could barely keep from laughing at these heroes. It took them half a day to figure out the puzzle. Bizentin was making particular fun of a fat mage in the group said that the rest of them were too. Apparently at one point, the fat mage thought that he had, figured out the puzzle, doing everything perfectly until the very end. He stood off and pouted while the ugly half orc solved the puzzle. If this is the best that could be sent after us, I have already succeeded. Amberling kept me from going after them with my whole force to destroy them.
April 21 We had a horrible fight with a Water Demon. It appeared like a snake! What blasphemy! We lost a skeleton, hobgoblin, and a bugbear in there. We found another area and decided to rest after the battle. That is when Bizentin, gave me a running account of the idiots behind us. They apparently tried harder to kill themselves than the ogre skeleton. What buffoons! They had to take a rest after only going down stairs. We are perfectly safe from them! I told Grislong that I wanted him to stay and raise a welcome for the idiots if they chose to continue. He raised 4 more skeletons. He said he had a big surprise, but it would take some time for him to prepare it. Amberling seemed relieved that he would be staying.
April 22 More humor. Apparently the fat mage fell off of the rope bridge and some water monster tried to kill him. He was saved by the orc. How do these idiots even breathe without hurting themselves? We passed through a waterfall chamber; Amberling spoke with the waterfall and gave it some fish in a jar that he pulled out of his magical sack. He is a great companion. In the next room he was able to command the spider to pull the webs up and away, allowing us to pass freely into another area. The yokels behind us had great difficulty getting across the rope bridges that we made! I mean we did all of the work for them and they can not even cash in on it. Praise Set for granting me the intelligence to do the right thing.
April 23 We found two sealed doors. We managed to get one opened. Or rather poor Adoplh the scout did. He was yanked into the room by some sort of ghoul. We heard his dying screams even as we worked to reseal the door. We might miss him, especially his magic bow, as he is our only archer. Finally we entered the chamber of the false king. Amberling and I spent much time negotiating with him. But in the end, he showed us how to get to the actual tomb. Fumbling, Idiots behind us had their hands full today. Apparently Jerrick killed the half orc, but died in the process. The imp said that the group’s archer is really bad. The only targets he hits are his companions. I asked Amberling about him, wondering if the firm had an inside man with our pursuers. I lost my connection with Bizentin, right after his report. I think that they might have killed him. Oh well I guess I will summon another once I leave here.
April 24 We have begun work on getting all the goodies from the final tombs. I am surprised by the lack of defenses; I mean this has been a cake slither. I am starting to feel that there will be nothing here of real value. I have several times noticed a strange figurine/medallion around my friend’s throat. Each time I ask him about it he says that it is a symbol of his life’s purpose. I thought that it looked like a black onyx demon, kind of cross between a snake and succubus. Probably a lawyer thing anyway. It appears that there is indeed magic here. I can’t wait to identify these new items. Amberling talked me out of it for now. He has me focusing my energies on finding a way out. With a scroll, I found the secret exit. I immediately put the hobgoblins to work digging us out.
April 25 Bizentin woke me up this morning. He said that a magnificent presence knocked him senseless at the end of the fight between Jerrick and our special pursuers. He said that one of the ancients brought back the half orc! I am stunned. Are they followers of the same dark gods we are? Or are they competing with us for our treasure? Perhaps I have found treasure more valuable, than I had anticipated. Amberling reassured me that they are indeed agents for the light, but that imp must be lying. I will punish Bizentin, for his lies at a later time. Bizentin also reports that when he awoke, Grislong had been defeated, as well as the bugbears left behind. The group was resting even now before descending into the waterfall cave.
April 26 We are still working on digging to the secret passage out of here. It will be fun to be well away from here when the short cart heroes finally arrive.
Halfway thru the day, and Bizentin has just reported. The waterfall spirit is flooding the tomb! Apparently the fat mage tried to poison the spirit with a tainted decanter of Apple Root. That little porker is going to die, the most drawnout, horrible way I can make him. How dare he defile such a wonderful beverage? But to anger the spirit into flooding the tomb, now we are in a race for time. The highlander seems to not be as stupid as we though he seems to be a very innovative fighter. Perhaps he will be a good match for Okabe, especially if Bizentin, is telling the truth about how the tomb spider was slain.
Later in the evening, we managed to break into the next chamber enough so that Amberling and his goblin could climb out and go and get the bugbears to help from the other side. Amberling even suggested that he go ahead and take the treasure, so that it would be safe. I agreed with my friend. Both Okabe and Bizentin told me that it was a bad idea. They are jealous, of my friendship. Amberling said that he had one last surprise that he wanted to leave for the short cart heroes. He took off his amulet/medallion. I noticed that it had changed to the form of a young naked woman. Even though she appeared human, the beauty called to my very soul. I could feel the innocence of the presence that the amulet/medallion represented. Amberling told me to let no one touch the amulet, no matter what. I would not let my best friend down. He set it down between two sarcophagi. He then left to get help. I already miss him; I hope he comes back soon.
April 27 The fat apprentice was nearly eaten by the spider last night. I failed to put that into my journal, as I was distracted with our mining operation. The short cart heroes (Amberling, coined that by the way, I really do miss my friend, I hope he comes back soon). Apparently stopped instead of pushing on. This will give me some time to organize my defenses. By Set I wish that Amberling was here to advise me. Not that it matters. I doubt that they could make it past the pretender. I have left the defense to Okabe. He is at least competent. I am worried that he might snap, he is very much on edge. I will have to look into some way to control him better. Perhaps invite some more like minded soul to take over his body. Still no Amberling. Bizentin, reports that the fight has begun between those short cart heroes and the Pretender. It appears the fat mage died quickly. Too bad. I must put this away for now, I will come back to chronicling my life once I determine what the idiots might do next. Even if they get as far as to face us, I have no fears . . . . Where is Amberling?