May 20th, year 525, Age of the Imperium
Our arrival in town was rather uneventful, if not for the villagers being suspiscious and children running away at the sight of our strange party (which could easily be blamed on my own looks, people often fear half-orcs). We are accompanied by a gigantic warrior maiden who’s name escapes me for now. Our first decision in the city is to spread out and find a comfortable space where one would sleep for a few weeks. I decide to go straight to the local temple, a church to the goddess Merika, Lady of Agriculture.
The high priestess of the temple seemed to me as unusually tense at my arrival, refusing to let me visit her temple, and not letting me ask for a safe place for me and my companions to rest for the first days of our journey. It seemed strange for a church devoted to the well-being of the community to refuse to host a few envoys sent to safeguard said community, but I was ill-versed in the customs of the area, thus refrained from insisting.
We chose a local inn, The Golden Grain, over the other inn of the village, The Sleeping Serpent, if only for the Golden Grain being a little less dingy, choice which would be revealed a terrible mistake later that night.
We splitted up to go to our room, the men in one, the women in the other, and opted to go to bed early after our long trip. We had yet decided to have guard rounds done, given the strange events in the village happening lately.
Claerun realized, after a few hours, that the women, who had the first round, did not come back to wake us up after a few hours. Upon investigating their rooms, we found nothing but a lone rock of very little interest in the middle of the room. Upon searching the village, at night, for clues regarding the dissappearance, we met with 2 elves suspecting cult activities in the town’s church. These same two elves told us about the Golden Grain Inn being infested with cultists. After much debate whether we could trust the elves or not, our group decided that the information given by the elves was our only lead.
We thus decided to sneak in the inn’s basement and see if we could not find our companions. Our trip to the cellars was eventful indeed. We captured and liberated a cult assassin, apparently still sane and trying to run from the cult (but not after requisitioning a very fine suit of leather armor), found our companions and explored a strange network of caves, invaded by a few undead creatures (ghouls) and a pair of gigantic snakes. The exploration of the cave network went incredibly well, with no more damage than a scratch sustained by Rolan. It is though a shame to have lost the equipement of both Ayvlys and the warrior maiden (her elven chainmail would have been quite useful, one would admit).
We managed to get out of the inn after a minor scuffle and after taking the inn-keeper’s chest, with a cultist prisoner, no less, and lucky for ourselves, no one of the villagers who saw us raid The Golden Grain survived, making an extended stay at the village significantly easier*.
Two details should be noted of this first expedition in dangerous territory.
1- We have found, under the inn, a large ivory statue of a creature part-woman, part-snake. We could not carry it out of the inn, but we will have to come back, the fortune the statue is most likely worth would undoubtably be a boon to our work.
2- We are fighting a cult of a goddess known has Explicita, who’s attributes, other than her affinity for reptiles, are yet unknown. Her followers, up until now, seem completely fanatical, resisting torture with little difficulty (claiming it brings them ‘’Closer to their gods’’). This leads me to believe something brainwashed the cultist. Yet, considering it was too dangerous to let our prisoner go, we opted to leave him tied, alone, in the forest. It proved the safest route and preserved the moral of our less practical members. The cultist was eaten by wolves.
May 21st to 23rd, year 525, Age of the Imperium
These few next pages are stained with blood
Ayvlys identified the leader of her kidnappers to be the high priestess of Merika, this being our main lead from a truly respectable source (although some would disagree). Our elven allies seemed to agree with our suspicions and sent us to meet with the town mayor, who although very hospitable, seemed to know very little about his own town, suspecting a local hermit, the old Ramnet, to be heading the cult. After investigating this Ramnet, we’ve discovered him to be a kindly retired adventurer, and undoubtably one of the most helpful local yet met. The warrior maiden who had helped us during the first day of our arrival did not follow us this time.
Our next step was to investigate a ruined old tavern, destroyed some time back has a result of degenerate bar brawl. The investigation was indeed fruitful, for we’ve uncovered a nest of slimy reptilian creatures, troglodytes, who apparently often visited the temple of Merika. After dispatching them very quickly, thanks to a timely spell by Clearun, we had more than enough proof to justify attacking the temple. We waited day and went up to the temple after nightfall.
We opted to climb the wall behind the temple and try to surprise any potential guards. After going up the wall, we climbed a shed and dispatched 5 guards and two pet wolves. Both myself and Sister Ayvlys were wounded after the short battle (she was thrown a knife, and I was bitten by one of the wolves), but we were both quickly back on our feet.
Exploring the temple proved harder on some of my colleagues of lesser moral fiber (or lesser intelligence) for some had to fight against themself to not defile the temple, seeing quite a few beautiful statuettes inside, but the three religiously inclined individual of our group managed with little difficulty to dissuade them. One would not want to make himself enemy to the gods of foodstuff if one every wants to eat fresh food again.
We encountered the priestess again, clad from head to toe in armor, armed and sporting an amulet shaped like a snake. Not willing to let her speak her foul prayers or even wait to see if there was logic behind the madwoman’s actions. Having surprised her, I quickly dispatched her with a well aimed piercing of the neck. A ring was found, identified to be a ring of armor. We opted to give it to Claerun, given his lack of endurance.
Further in the temple, we found a small cohort of strange men with fists of iron, who tried to kill us without weapons. Obviously, the idea of wailing on an armored man with one’s fist is ridiculous, but they still managed to give us some degree of trouble.
The party found a trap door under a prayer mat, in a small prayer room, but being out of ressources and wounded, we opted to barricade the trap door and explore the top floor, and establish a camp there until we can regroup and regain our strength. Upon going upstairs, we fell upon a room surrounded with upright skeletons, unmoving. Obviously suspiscious, Sister Ayvlis and Father Arkonnen entered the room, bradishing their respective marks of faith and seemingly intimidating the 8 skeletons in covering piles of bones. Destroying these abominations was afterwards, a simple task for Claerun, Rolan and myself.
Upon pushing further in the second floor, we were ambushed by a host of goblins, hiding behind a secret door that we seemed to have missed and we were quickly overwhelmed. The battle was a disaster, I was quickly knocked unconscious, losing 2 fingers off of my left hand in the process. So were Father Arkonnen and Rolan. Sister Ayvlys did not share our luck and was killed by the greenskinned devils. Somehow, Claerun single-handedly fought off and fell the goblins, stopped our wounds from making us bleed out and dragged us into the room of the now dead goblins, which was safely behind a secret door.
As I write this journal, I lay uncomfortably against one of the walls of this room, barely alive, waiting for Father Arkonnen to be granted healing powers by his god, and hopefully make us fit for battle before more cultists enter the monastery.