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Trilith’s Report on Moonday, 2nd of Rainmoot, 1267,
to High Magus Rurik Vikstrom and the Council of Fortitude
Circumstances have yet to prove whether or not I failed in my duties in the worst possible way. If wizard’s chess has taught me anything it is that one cannot celebrate the small victories when the battle has yet to be won and that one must always try to understand one’s opponent’s tactics and anticipate their next move. I failed in both these things last night.
I can only plead our inexperience and our extreme exhaustion after our three fights of yesterday. But after we dispelled the creature possessing Iduna and returned Geir to his family, we went back to the inn and slept. I say it with shame. I slept. It wasn’t until the morning that I realized what I might have done.
Only in the morning did it occur to me that the creature had inhabited Iduna possibly for days, and that it might have called forth many more of the creatures we had fought. Or it may have called up something entirely different, or released whatever was contained in the box we found. We have no idea of the power of this Xexorel, but it seems far beyond our own capabilities. Its minions could be all over and could have already killed many of the folk living in the outlying farms with no one the wiser.
If so, their deaths are on my head. I went to sleep instead of rousing the Jarl and warning him of the danger to his town. It is a heavy burden that makes me sick with shame.
When I realized my grave error, I spoke with Geldion and Antinua about my intention to speak with the Jarl. They agreed, but wanted first to check in on Geir’s progress overnight. I agreed, despite my reservations, thinking that it might be helpful to have Geldion and Robi with me when I spoke to the Jarl. Some of these provincial strongmen are more inclined to listen to armed men, than a woman in wizard’s robes. I also hoped Geir could shed more light on the nature of the creature, and on what had transpired before we arrived. That information would have been valuable to the Jarl as well as to us.
I sent Quenya skyward to check the perimeter of the town for any vile creatures as we hurried to Geir’s home. Geir’s condition had improved overnight, but he was still unconscious when we arrived. Geldion prayed to Pelor and Geir’s color improved and he started to stir. It was at that point there was a knock on the door and Birkir, a fisherman, presented himself. He told us his daughter Arna had taken ill and that she had black veins, just as Iduna had.
My stomach clenched.
This was my fault for not raising the alarm last night when I had the chance. If the town had been on alert, perhaps this could have been averted. I assumed the creature had headed north, but it must have circled back to town. But this seemed odd. Why take over a girl child when there were so many strapping men it could have possessed? And a child’s body could not contain it any better than an old woman’s had.
On the other hand, perhaps it possessed the child so that we could not strike it down again. We’d only defeated it before by destroying the body it inhabited. There was no way my holy companions would be willing to destroy the body of a small girl. So how could we even fight it? And even if we did get it out of Arna, it would only find yet another body to inhabit. Where we to chop our way through the entire thorp?
Robi and Geldion, of course, hurried to help the child, but I didn’t see how I could be of any use to them. I wasn’t going to use any of my spells on a little girl. So Antinua and I hurried to find the Jarl, trusting that Robi and Geldion knew enough to try to contain the creature without engaging it.
Thank the stars, it was not the creature. The girl was feverish and her veins were black, yet Geir’s holy symbol didn’t glow and Robi detected no evil. They looked around and Geldion found a locket with a small portrait with glyphs. The mother explained that a traveler gave it to Arna two days ago. She described a middle-aged man in a long robe carrying a staff. Black beard, greying. Geldion quickly realized the glyphs were a disease curse.
Robi laid hands on the girl which helped, but didn’t touch the disease. Luckily Robi and Gelion finally remembered we had a potion of cure disease. They gave it to the girl and the black veins faded and the girl relaxed into sleep.
At least that injury, since it happened before we arrived, cannot be laid on my shoulders.
Antinua and I, meanwhile, knocked on the Jarl’s door, and only after nearly breaking it down did we manage to rouse him from sleep. The Jarl, Ern, appears to be a man who likes his drink far too much and sleeps au naturale. But, you have taught me well that I must work with what I have.
Once I told him all that had transpired the night before, he roused himself to dress and to look toward the protection of his thorp. I suggested he send men in teams to check all the northern farms and to warn the people that there were unnatural creatures about. I prayed to whatever gods might be listening that I was not too late.
The Jarl had also met the traveler but described him as an old man. Curious.
I think I must tell the Jarl what happened on the island. It appears that this town is somehow involved, and the folk here must prepare themselves. War is coming, and perhaps this is yet another front. It would make sense. Why try to move an army of undead off the island when you can simply raise or summon another army on the mainland. What if the creature’s plan is to get us to move all our forces to the island, and then to attack our undefended city with an army of extraplanar creatures that he summoned here?
But if that’s the case, why summon them so many miles from Reykholdt? Though, I hate to even think it…what if the creature had his summoned monsters kill the residents of the thorp, could he then reanimate them as zombies to send against Reykholdt?
I realize all this is pure conjecture, but if we don’t anticipate the game our opponent is playing, it will be checkmate in no time.
Geldion and Robi joined us at the Jarl’s with good news about the girl’s condition. We were all relieved. We looked at the locket and noticed it seems to be made of the same iron as the box we had found. Geldion and Robi had sent Arna’s father to the other houses of the Thorp to see if anyone else had been given or sold anything by the traveler.
A wise move indeed! We decide to go back to the Inn since the Jarl mentioned the traveler had stayed there.
The innkeeper, Delling confirmed that the traveler left yesterday. He described him as a young man. How can that be? Can he appear any way he wants? How could he have gotten younger while he was in town? Was he drawing youth or energy from some source here? Or was it mere illusion? Did he release Xexorel from the box, or was Xexorel possessing him? That doesn’t make sense since it seems that Iduna had been possessed for a day or even two, and the traveler was at the inn yesterday. So was Xexorel what had been in the iron box? If so, how? So many questions and so few answers.
Delling told us that the traveler left something behind and that they had put it in the cellar. His wife, Frey, took Geldion and Robi down to the cellar to show them the item. I heard her yell for her axe, and hurried down after my companions. There were over a dozen little flying creatures with sharp teeth flapping around the cellar eating anything they could fit in their mouths.
It was a long and exhausting battle against the swarming, voracious, flapping creatures. They were a bugger to hit, and mundane weapons did not seem to do much damage against them. But a good hit would pop the creatures in a mist of yellow ichor and sulfur, which soon covered us.
Frey did good duty with her axe. The battle would have been much shorter had I been able to use Burning Hands, but the barrels and crates of alcohol made that impossible.
Still, bitten and annoyed past tolerating, we eventually prevailed. We checked the item left by the traveler and it was yet another iron box covered in glyphs, this time with 15 compartments. One for each of the little bastards, I assume. How many more boxes like this could be out there? And how did the box open with no one around? Questions, and more questions, it could drive a wizard mad!
The Jarl is to meet us at the inn once he has spoken with his people. In the meantime, we plan to check the room the traveler stayed in.
That done, do we use Antinua’s considerable talents to track this traveler down? Certainly, he’s leaving chaos and death in his wake. But where would we even begin? Should we wait to see if more creatures are found that must be destroyed? Or should we head back at once to report what has happened here? Certainly, we must take away any more of the cursed items that have been left behind.
I think we must rely on the Jarl and the residents to defend their town. We’ll warn them against this traveler in case he returns. Though I would love to know the direction he traveled, I feel it’s more important to get this vital information back to Reykholdt as soon as possible. I’ll see if my companions agree and if the town has horses to loan us that could speed our journey.
As always, your humble operative,
Join us as we explore the campaign, The Northern Menace: Letters from Trilith!