PnP:Liberation of Osoerde Turn Four

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Translated from the Shadow Cant of the Velvet Night

Dear Rudolph,

It was good to see you, my friend. Although your presence and how easily you entered our camp should give William pause about the security of his forest. If you and I have the means to change our appearance so easily, it stands to reason that Raenech might have agents who can do the same. And I am sure William will want to thank you for dealing with the spy who sold us out to the Hound. I can understand the man's desperation for the money he was paid, but it will make us all more careful in our dealings with them.

As for the battle against Raenech, the past few days were strange indeed and proved to be very productive in the war effort. With William, Varg, Ardenna occupied with other business, Cerin and I decided to head to the Lost Towers to investigate rumors of bandits using the ruins as a base of operation. We figured we could either do good for the local villages by clearing the brigands out, or determine if the bandits could be potential recruits to the cause. We also decided to take Draken with us, because his erratic behavior made us wary of leaving him behind.

Our first stop was in the village of Blacksly, a tiny place among the ruins of an ancient ruined city. We were astounded by the remains of this once great civilization, and Draken had a curious moment of potential insight when he exalted that may have once been a place of the gods. The actual settlement within the ruins was more unsettling, the people of Blacksly watching us like wary animals as we passed through. The blood is thin there and the families close, if you catch my meaning. The town constable came up to assess us, and he talked of visitors getting "lost" in the swamps. I think we placated him with a monetary gift from the Duke, and he had no love for Raenech's men. We didn't see allies there, but if we leave them be I don't see enemies either. A traveling tradesman at the inn gave us some rumors about the situation in Aamon as well. He said the Frog Patrol is a divided legion, with some little more than thugs and criminals and others growing disillusioned with Raenech and his rule. There may be recruits to William's army there.

After leaving Blacksly, we ventured into the swamplands in search of the towers. The marshes were full of predators, and we were set upon by giant lizards that sought to make a meal of us. We dispatched them without real harm, and Draken swam down to the creatures' den to search for victims. He emerged with the belongings of a poor soul, gems and coin. He also brought up the remains of the man's steed, mounting the rotting head of the beast on a stick and calling it his horse. I have no words.

We made camp before heading to the ruins, and the night was quiet. The swamp is a vibrant place, even with its perils. Cerin made a meal of the lizards, and it was actually very filling. He also showed me how to milk poison from their fangs, something that may prove useful later. Draken spent the night cooing to his "horse." The next morning we arrived at the towers and saw activity there, but not what we expected. Lizardmen had taken up residence, with one brute who was nearly the height of two men! Cerin said that unless they were desperate, lizardfolk are not evil creatures. We decided to approach them cautiously, and they were not initially hostile. Draken surprised us when he knew their language and even claimed to have lived with the creatures at one time. Thankfully the chieftain spoke other tongues as we did not have to leave diplomacy to Draken. The creatures calmed when we were able to prove we knew the Swamp Mage, again thanks to Draken. The creatures had cleared out the bandits, but their tribe was driven to the towers by a terrible, multi-headed beast that took up residence in the deep swamps. It dwelled at the site of the lizardfolk's hatchery, and they were desperate to reclaim these sacred lands. We offered to help them slay the beast, and in exchange they agreed to help William with his cause.

We rested at the towers, and the lizardfolk celebrated with us. It was a fun night, and our hosts were surprisingly friendly and full of life despite their plight. The next day several of their warriors lead us into the deep swamps to where the monster lived. We arrived at the ruins of their village, and Cerin's keen eyes saw something that initially looked like a log until it moved. He shot an arrow at it, and suddenly the monster burst from the waters. It was a massive serpent bigger than a wagon, with many heads on long, sinewy necks! Cerin told me later it was a hydra, but at the time it simply looked like death. The battle was a blur, instinct and adrenaline taking over. I saw Cerin put an arrow in the eye of one of the heads, and the beast shed the dead appendage like dead skin as two more heads burst from the stump! I also thought Draken was crushed at one point as the monster lunged forward, but he emerged to beat it with his fists. In the end we managed to bring it down with the help of the lizardmen, and they exalted us as we regained our bearings.

We found the creatures lair and gathered treasure from previous victims, and the lizardfolk refused payment because they were elated to have their sacred ground returned to them. I write you now from an inn in Gulfport, rested and still trying to process the past few days. Outside my room I hear Draken arguing with the innkeeper about the man's refusal to stable his "horse," and Cerin is off trying to find an elven bow he was told a merchant had in his wares. We are also having armor made from the hide of the hydra to commemorate our victory. An interesting few days indeed. Until we talk again, may Eloéle protect your secrets with her shadow.

Harker Graywind

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