The Stone-Hearted

Missed Journal 5

Melissa will write this one.

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Missed Journal 4

Loren Ipsum

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Missed Journal 3

Loren Ipsum

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Missed Journal 2

Loren Ipsum

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Missed Journal

Lorem Ipsum

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27 Urmarillion, Pass of 3820 - The Shining City
Brodria's log

It just didn’t feel right, all those Duergar in the city. How can you have a truce with them? Do they even understand what a truce is? But this isn’t my home and it really isn’t my business so I swallowed down my unease and followed through on our task to deliver the shield. Too many strange interactions with the other dwarves and too many hidden agendas make me even uneasier though. I’d rather be locked in a cage with an orc than dealing with all of this – at least I would know where I stood. But my fellow travellers are so excited by this enormous leap closer to their main goal, and contact with an actual family member has given them an energy I have not seen in them in months so I’m loathe to mention my feelings to any of them.
But of course, as I should know by now, my intuition was right. Everybody knew why we were there and what we were carrying and ‘everyone’ included the Duergar. And that is how Aeric and I ended up down in the forge fighting for our lives (once again) while the rest of the party suffered what I can only assume was a similar fate elsewhere. Aeric fought bravely of course, as the immovable stalwart of our group he is the dwarf I would always want standing by me in a fight. But it was us against many and our usual good fortune did not smile upon us (perhaps the gods were angry that I ignored my intuition for so long?) and after Aeric fell the shield was stolen from us. It was at this point that the rest of our party arrived and after a solid battle I ran after the thieves, unexpectedly running into Prince Grunbar and his guard unit, but ultimately the shield was lost.
It is with shame that I recall what happened next. Still smarting from our rare loss we became engaged in an unseemly shouting match with Prince Horgvar and King Vjorn in front of the entire royal court, with Dragor allowing his hot temper to get the best of him. It was not my place to say anything at the time but I secretly hoped that Ranina and I could put our tracking skills together to help get the shield back and redeem our group (and restore some of my damaged pride too.)
In a race against time and the Duergar we set off to find the shield, or at least the group holding it, but at every step we second guessed ourselves and our enemy. It was as much a battle of wits as it was a test of our tracking skills but nevertheless we ended up at a promising ruin ahead of our competition and I can only guess yet another battle awaits us.
With tensions running so high and emotions clouding the judgement of some I can only hope that we remain clearheaded enough to work as the fantastic unit we have become. After all, ballads are rarely sung about those who lose battles.

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25 - 27 Urmarillion - The Shining City
Civilisation, at last!

Dear Reader

Ah, finally. We have the comforts of a civilisation. After months in the filth and fiend infested darkness, we were finally able to clean up properly. I had forgotten that my hands were not, in fact, dust coloured. To be in clean clothing that is worthy of our stations is a feeling I had almost forgotten about. Once we were cleaned up, we hit the markets. Figured we may as well spend the ridiculous amount of coppers we had acquired over the journey. Though I do not think some merchants appreciated that… alas, I’m sure they could turn it into something else.

Once we had finished, Filgren took us to his mother. My brothers were particularly keen to meet the woman. I was, but not to their extent. I suppose it has to do with memories and childhoods growing up with the man that is, or was, our father. Nethris is a stern and serious woman, not prone to much humor. Given what had happened, I wouldn’t have been either. We helped her with her daily chores as we chatted. Topics included the city and our journey so far, but the most interesting topic was her own journey here.

Of the men that left, only seven came back. They would not tell her what had happened and by her own observation they were sad, sorrowful and clearly hiding a secret. As she couldn’t travel she was left behind in this city. What they were hiding could have been anything. I almost don’t want to know but in order for us to go on, eventually we will have to find out. I just hope that whatever it is doesn’t tarnish the memories my brothers have of our father.

On our way back to Filgren’s home, we were accosted by the little upstart, Horgvar. I suppose I should mention he is a Prince, the third heir. Of nothing, I had much delight in taunting him about. We could have gotten away without incident but he just had to insult our father, a slight Dragor could not let go. I managed to keep this shifty thing away while the boys handled the upstart and his goon.

Managing to head butt then kick the shifty fellow in the balls just before the guards arrived, they did try to stop the fight but then we were accosted by something else and the poor Captain of the Guard promptly took a bolt to the neck. I think it’s only due to Orlaf/Azgan (can’t remember who in the heat of battle) quick thinking he had any chance at all.

Next thing, we were surrounded by these shadow creatures and a male and female drow that seemed to be commanding them. It was a hard slog, not without some injuries (namely to myself, the bastard).

Whatever they were looking for, we clearly didn’t have it. I worry for Aeric and Brodria if they are after what I think they are.

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3 - 17 Urmarillion - To Sail the Firesea
Azer Rejoice and the group head on

Dear Reader

We begin this entry with a battle. The drow had thought to blackmail us with Azgan’s life. As seems to be our way, we all went down save for the brave and mighty Brodria and Dana. All but one lone wizard was dispatched. With the danger gone, we took the time to heal up completely and loot the place while we did.

Once we headed back, we returned the Soul of the Forge back to the Azer, who were very thankful for its return. They offered to have a feast for us, and as per my entry a few days ago, by feast it would have been get drunk on fire wine. However, with supplies dwindling, we had to head off or else we’d starve. They were understanding of our plight and allowed us use of their passage way.

Once we reached the end, we were left by our escorts and were alone again. The tunnels were confusing and, loathe as I am to admit, I was not the best navigator those few days. Thankfully, we were saved from starvation by the superior gathering skills of Brodria. We had to overcome various obstacles, including an unforseen swim in a sticky mud type quick sand. We all crossed with incidents and soon after, we came across what seemed to be a good camping place. The entire time, we were followed by an unnatural clicking and clattering noise.

The mushroom oasis, as I remember it in my mind, had four different types of mushrooms. Once we could turn into rations, one that could be grounded down into a flour like substance, one that glowed and the other? To put it nicely, would expode if disturbed too forcefully. Whilst setting up camp, a duager skeleton was found. Not that it was particularly interesting, but it may have been a meal for something. Or it died.

As we settled in for what we could only assume was night, traps were laid and all seemed peaceful. Until the noises got closer and the source was revealed. I am unsure of the creature’s name, but it was slimy, eye and mouth monster that seemed to slide across the mud, rendering Azgan’s traps useless.

How we fare is anyone’s guess.

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63 - 64 Oontrom, Pass of 3820 - To Sail the Firesea
A bad decision.

After dispatching the giant and partially healing themselves the most logical thing the party of dwarves could do was to loot the castle. Blood stained, bruised and battle weary they made their way through the serpentine corridors and stairways taking stock of all the loot stashed away by the giant, some of it useful but most of too impractical to take with them. Dragor and Orlof were left to explore the throne room as they still hadn’t recovered properly from their injuries, so they were not there when the rest of the party ran into a group of Drow. Maybe the group was tired, or perhaps conquering the giant had filled them with a sense of invincibility, but they made what would surely turn out to be a bad decision and agreed to swap a member of their respective parties (a Drow warrior for Azgan) and set off to find the Soul of the Forge.

Unsurprisingly, the Drow warrior sent with them did as little as possible to assist them in their search, but he also seemed uninterested in attacking them which was a relief. Thanks to some dumb luck the dwarves eventually found the gem they were looking for, taking great care not to defile the grave of the giant’s mother where the Soul of the Forge rested. Apart from some sassy comments and unimpressed glares from their companion the trip to find the gem was relatively uneventful. Azgan did not fare so well.

In a completely predictable turn of events to Drow immediately targeted Azgan, first by the slightly more subtle poison and then by open attack. All he had to do was hold out until his companions returned, but as his ability to cast spells dwindled and his injuries mounted it became clear his situation was dire …

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59 Oontrom, Pass of 3820 - To Sail the Firesea
A close call

As Brodria stood before the fallen giant, surrounded by her dying comrades, she wondered again whether taking on this quest had been a good idea. Her fantasy of exploring unknown places and defeating a variety of foes had not exactly come to life in the way she expected, and she wondered what the point of being the best caver ever would mean if no-one lived to tell her tale. But it was a bit late for such musings and she herself was at death’s door with very little chance of recovery.

The day had not started well, narrowly escaping the jaws of a fire serpent only to be delivered into the blazing maws of a pack of fire hounds. But somehow, thanks to a combination of luck and Azgan’s magic, we prevailed. As we approached the giants tower, perhaps with too little care, Aeric and Dragor were suddenly buried underneath a pile of rocks (delivered by the giant from his window) and it became clear our battle weariness had left us open to attack. For what seemed like the thousandth time I had to stand by while the all too familiar family bickering took place but eventually our far too injured companions were forced to stay behind, and hopefully not get picked off by the two fire hounds we had not properly dispatched. With her usual careless abandon Ranina set off a series of traps just inside the main door to the tower, with one missile coming uncomfortably close to our injured friends.

In search of Snurre we set off through the corridors of his enormous castle, carefully avoiding the traps he had laid out. Well, we did carefully avoid them until Ranina acted on the impulse that I had simply thought to myself and lurched forwards to defile a statue. After fighting off the firebats that attacked us thanks to that flight of fancy we made our way once again down the great hallways in search of our ultimate foe (albeit very burnt and quite annoyed at Ranina.)

Considering the overwhelmingly ostentatious decor of the castle it should have come as no surprise to me that he would be ensconced in a throne room behind an enormous door and surrounded by flaming skulls and fire hounds, but I was still taken aback by the sight of him. The ensuing battle was long and painful, and as I saw my fellow dwarves drop one by one (I will never erase the sight of the brave and strong Uster being cleaved in two) I struggled to contain my despair. But at the last moment my faithful Dana delivered the blow which helped me dispatch Snurre and I then focussed on attending to the needs of my companions. This was by far our most desperate fight, on yet another side quest that pulled us away from our main goal. Well I guess it is their goal really. But I want to get to the end of this and then go home to my clan so they can sing songs in my honour and make toasts in my name for the rest of time. But right now I would like a long drink, a decent sleep and for someone to tend to my life threatening wounds.

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