PnP:Liberation of Osoerde Turn Fifteen

Campaigns » PNP:The liberation of Osoerde » PnP:Liberation of Osoerde Turn Fifteen

Dear Rudolph,

I know it has been some time since my last missive to you, and I know there is no apology I could give that would gain forgiveness for my disappearance from my duty. Just know that I needed time to clear my head after our battle with the Hound, and I have returned to my mission with a new focus and dedication. I understand you provided your services to the young duke in my absence, and I am grateful for that.

I do not know all that transpired while I was away, but I find that William seems colder and more distant to me since my return. Perhaps this is for the best so I do not risk becoming too attached to his cause. You always said detachment from the contract was best, and I should heed your advice.

I barely had time to stow my traveling gear before we were called to the northern trailhead by one of the guards to meet two groups seeking William's aid. William asked me to stand in for him in case these strangers had treachery on their minds. One group claimed to be from Elinie, and their leader Walter de Bolbec was asking for our aid in what sounded like an assassination. In one of the towns that lay on their borders with Ghoere, he said there was a traitor that planned to help troops annex the locale for Baron Tael. While he seemed sincere enough and I had heard rumors of something going on there in my travels, there was something about his demeanor that made me feel he was not being honest in his request.

The other group were from a small silver mine a few days north of our camp, lead by two dwarf brothers named Harold and Gerald Brittleboar who seemed to be at odds with each other about something. The site was also a meeting place for merchants, one of the few safe places where they could avoid Raenech's men. They claimed that something evil inhabited the mine, and William's own father had given them rights to the claim and they hoped the young duke would honor it. Harold seemed to be drowning himself in his drink as we talked, but he would not talk of what bothered him. Gerald was more open and said that his sibling had gone into the mine after the lost workers, but he had fled in fear of whatever was down there.

Although there was merit to Bolbec's claims, the unease we felt at whatever he was hiding made the duke leery of helping him. We felt the pleas of the miners were more sincere, and it also helped that the duke was promised a small amount of their profits if we could rid of the mine of whatever haunted it. So we set off into the wilds to stop whatever dwelled in the deep.

The journey there was quiet, and gave me time to get to know the new members of our company. Bartholomew is a priest of Cuiraecen and seems to be of the same fierce warrior vein as Varg. I can see the two of them getting along swimmingly. Rena is a priestess of the wood, apparently a resident of the Aerenwode who had decided to learn of our cause since we had been calling her charge home. It was when we arrived at the road to the mine that she said she saw a strange puff of purple near a steam that ran next to the road. We found nothing unusual and went forward to the site.

It was unnerving to see the place looking as if workers should be milling about and the sounds of picks should be ringing off stone, but instead it was quiet as the grave. We searched the outbuildings and barracks and found only empty beds and long dead horses. It seemed as if the workers just up and left on their own. We steeled our nerves and went inside, and I was thankful for the special vision that reveals the secrets of the dark to me. The others relied on conjured light through the deep dark, and it did not take long for us to find the first bodies. The miners were killed with blades of some sort, and we found the remains of crushed crystals near the corpses.

We were startled by footsteps behind us and readied ourselves to confront whatever menace awaited, but we were relieved to discover it was Cerin, who was delayed in following us. With him by our side again, we ventured further in and found an underground pool where the miners dumped their refuse. We also found a sign that warned any from passing beyond it. While it seemed that might be the way to go, we decided to go back and look at another passage that we had previously ignored. That proved to be a dangerous choice.

More corpses awaited us as we traveled down the side passage, and it soon opened up into a large chamber that smelled like a charnel house. At the edge of my vision I could see the pile of bodies at one side of the room, and the magical light that my companions relied on was starting to grow weaker, as if whatever evil laired here diminished the glow itself. It was then that we heard the scrabbling of small feet and raspy whispers from the shadows at the edge of the weak glow. From holes in the walls, what looked like twisted children crawled out, dragging wicked blades that scraped across the stone. Wisps of darkness clung to them like scraps of clothing, and they chattered and gibbered at us as they moved forward with murderous intent.

Rena was first to set upon them, taking the form of a wolf as she snapped and bit at the hideous things. The creatures proved to be quicker than any mortal thing, rushing out in a seemingly endless wave to surround and stab at us. It seemed for every one we killed, another two were quick to take their place. I felt a surge of something that bolstered by spirit, a prayer from Bartholomew, and felt the heat of William's magical fire pushing at the unnatural cold that hung in the room.

More emerged from a nearby passage, and one which seemed to be their leader called for the deaths of my companions but asked for me to be kept alive because apparently I seemed to be the best looking meal. Cerin's arrows felled the leader, and powerful blasts of fire and thunder from William, Rena, and Bartholomew whittled down the rest in rapid succession. One of the creatures survived the onslaught, and we questioned it about their presence here. All it would talk about is pleasing its "mother," and we knew our work was not finished. William and Rena remained behind with the prisoner as the rest of us ventured forth.

The next room was very unnatural in feel and sights, with rivulets of water running up the walls and a pressing darkness that even seemed to cling to the edges of my special vision. Ruins of some ancient structures pushed up out of the ground like massive teeth, and the cold here was almost arctic. As we slowly pressed on, we could feel something deeper within drawing closer. This was one time that I wished I was not blessed with my vision, for I got a good look at this "Mother" before anyone else did. I am still having a hard time finding the right words to describe what I saw, but visions of it still linger somewhere in the back of my mind when I close my eyes. The only thing I can say for sure now is that it was taller than a tree, with tentacles bigger than branches and mouths snapping from within the writhing mass.

I was filled with a fear unlike any I've ever known in all my life, deep to my bones, and I lashed out with a shot from my crossbow before backpedaling towards the entrance. I think Bartholomew felt the same from the wild look in his eyes, although Cerin seemed more focused and his arrows flew through the darkness. One of the tentacles came crashing down and nearly grabbed me, and the fear only increased within me. I am not proud to write this, but after firing one last wild shot I ran from the room as fast as my legs could carry me. I don't recall what happened after that, finding myself with the duke and Rena without remembering how I got there.

While still recovering, I was relieved and a bit ashamed to see Cerin emerge from the chamber with a badly burned Bartholomew. From what they could tell us, it was a tough battle and poor Bartholomew was swallowed whole by the beast but was still alive. We did not have long to recover though because whatever evil had brought those creatures there was starting to collapse and was taking the mine with it. We hurried back through the tunnels and barely made it outside before the whole mine crumbled into ruin. I heard the duke mumble something about his "two percent" with a small choke in his voice, and we spent a few hours resting in the abandoned camp before heading back to the Aerenwode.

Upon arriving home, we learned that the brother Harold had taken his own life out of his shame at abandoning his miners out of fear. I can say that I do understand what he was feeling. Until next time we talk may Eloéle protect your secrets with her shadow.

Harker Graywind

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