39 Ahrn Ahnvae, AI 408
The morning came bright, and cold, but for the first time in over a year I awoke in a bed. Straw stuffed, but a bed nonetheless, with a heavy blanket of elven make. The smell of food in the hearth below was warm and herbaceous, a far cry from the endless months of potatoes. As I write, I break fast with Silv, our half-eifr charge Aratha Blackleaf, and perhaps a dozen elven merchants and other winter residents of Sothynea in a dwarven-owned inn.
After a time Erdan and Floure awoke and had baths drawn – the healing powers of the Gloaming Consort left them more or less unconscious, perspiring heavily and retching through the night, and I ordered the Imaskari wizard – subdued with a Collar of Obedience – to tend to them. A fitting role.
Today we sha
39 Ahrn Ahnvae
Heroes of the River and their families are being murdered in Sothynea.
Word spread, somehow, that one of the human wizards plaguing the realms had entered Sothynea, and a host of high city watch and the Sothynean wizard Kelaxiim the Seeker came for him. We happily handed him over. After speaking with the wizard, we left for Erdan’s family eculea, an impressive tree some 300 feet tall, crafted during the Axe Wars by the last of the eculean druids for his grandfather’s service as a Hero of the River.
Upon reaching the Grove of Champions, however, we were waylaid by city watch removing the corpses of the Liadon’s neighbors – Lord Haryk Aunglor, his wife Lady Alea Aunglor, and his son, Tarron Aunglor. All burnt to death by an unknown assailant.
- There were no burn marks, no signs of struggle. It appears as if they burnt to death where the stood, motionless.
- The Aunglors were within earshot of one another, indicating that they were unaware of one anothers’ fates, or were unable to respond.
- The portable valuables were stolen.
- A crude dagger of human make – roughly built and wrapped with a cloth and leather handle – was found.
- The clay volgjða figures of the family altar were destroyed, intentionally to create dust, into which a symbol was traced, which I have reproduced here:
Upon our release, we were approached in Sunset Market by a wisp votary of the Consort – a yeðhûn of flame – who was led to us by the Consort herself. If true, I am heartened. So long has a dark cloud hung over us, so long have I felt that our gods have left us here in this foreign land, damned for our arrogance. If it is a sign… And yet, we remain suspicious of this wisp, Kivik of Amrûn Gœthrad. A fire priest appearing and offering his aid the same day a Hero of the River is found burnt to death…
With the fire priest, we continued investigating:
- The last surviving Aunglor is Lord Aunglor’s youngest son, Gallan, who lives in the district known as the Low Keep, with a human woman – apparently the brother of the human illuminator Willex working for the wizard Kelaxiim. The fire priest cast divine magic supposedly to force all to speak the truth, and Gallan and the woman denied knowledge of the murder, though both seemed to hate the family.
- They led us to a human smith, in the Dying Quarter, who under duress admitted to making daggers. Recently, he has made many more, for foreign-sounding men. He pointed us towards the hall of the Wraiths, a human mercenary company licensed to carry weapons and located in Springgate.
- A half-elf captain named Imra was the only of the Wraiths who would speak to us. Though we learned little of use, she did tell us that a group of men with heavy accents attempted to recruit men away from the Wraiths to fight against “elven oppressors”. None took the offer, but they said to ask for Bonebreaker at the Fisher King, a rough human tavern in Springgate.
On our way to the tavern, our passage across the main bridge in Springgate was blocked by city watch, who were blocking access to an area where three humans were sawing a burnt corpse from the thick ice. For reasons I cannot fathom, Kivik cast a fireball beneath the ice, breaking it apart, which, when he ran out onto the ice to speak to the corpse (as wisps can) he slipped beneath it, into the canal.
The fire priest was almost lost. Floure cast remove water, clearing a small hole in the ice which Kivik was able to thrust his staff into so as not to be pulled further by the current. Erdan ran onto the ice, but slipped and fell, luckily sliding away from open water. Floure cast water walk to push Kivik towards the surface, while the fire priest wildly shot beams of fire to break the ice, and was able to pull himself up.
Once the fire priest had recuperated by the hearth of a nearby inn, we returned to where the guard and human laborers had hauled the corpse from the river. It was Thallan Selakiir, another Hero of the River. Word arrived that his wife, son, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter, also died in similar manner. The fire priest was able to glean the following from the corpse:
- His attacker was human
- He called the attacker “fire mage”
It was late, and we returned to Erdan’s family estate. Goodbyes were said to Aratha, who Erdan took to Tyranor Stoneshoulder, a dwarven smith of high reputation, under whom she will apprentice, alleviating our concerns that she might have unwittingly been sold into slavery. Though she was with us but days, I do believe she will be missed, especially by Floure, who seemed to take to the child.
Erdan has run across town back to us. A third House of the River has been exterminated. Though the Hero of the River Ara Dree died many years ago, her daughter Lady Faelar Dree, her husband Rhys Goldenbow, and her son, Orym Dree, were murdered by the same assailant.
Though elder Lady Dree’s daughter – Faelar – inherited by right the name Dree, the elder Lady herself took her husband’s name when she married her compatriot at the Battle of the River – Jharak Riverblade Liadon, Erdan’s grandfather.