The circumstances in which I write these words should be unsettling to me, for spending a night in an unknown place with hostiles, the likes of which I could never have imagined, surely sounds grim. There was no doubt we’d battle spiders in the forest, and that we did, but to encounter traps obviously made by beings other than the mindless spider swarms was not what I anticipated.
This mystery was soon solved, however, when we entered a sort of fortress in a clearing. Old, tattered, with broken statues. It was clear by the corpses of the magus group who came before us that we were in the right place. I’d wager the amount of corpses I have seen in my lifetime has more than doubled by now. I expect that count to rise dramatically before we leave this place granted I am not among those corpses.
But it was not the corpses or the spiders or the traps that alarmed me. Grotesque creatures the size of a tall man were anything but a man, with distorted limbs and hunched over backs, greyish black in color and sinister in nature; it was as if the monsters of nightmares had come to life. They cannot be from this plane or the next and pondering why they would be here in his fortress in a forest I’d regard as my backyard piques my curiosity greatly.
I mention all this to say that despite my circumstances, I oddly feel at ease here. While I cannot say I regard my companions yet as a solid group whom I trust, I get the sense that this is all just the beginning of something far more grand than a single quest in search of a culprit in a forest and that there is reason for me to be part of it.
That being said, with the archer gone I admit I feel a bit better about this group, he was a weaker link for me. The dwarf continues to bring me comfort and all but the cleric seem formidable enough a team. That is not to say the cleric has not improved… slightly… but her continuous hesitance and obvious reluctance to continue with us is still troubling, perhaps if we make it through here and her sentiments remain as they are, we can drop her off and find another more adamant in their mission from their god or goddess to assist us. Perhaps I assume too soon that there will be more beyond this, but with all that we have encountered so far I can’t stop the tugging in my mind saying this is all merely in the outskirts of something grander and more frightening.
A few discoveries I should mention: A contraption that seems to dial back time and play back recordings of the happenings in its ‘eyesight’, a sort of scouting or surveillance magical device at the front of the fortress. Another was that the dwarf seems to have an almost lustful admiration for well crafted stone walls and doors. I’d guess it is because dwarves spend far too much time surrounded by stone walls in the underground. The most significant discovery though was the incredibly large and loud man we encountered in the fortress. Caught by the other planar creatures, he finally escaped his bindings and was quick to rush into the fray and conquer his foes in the name of Jlyne, his goddess. He seems content to remain with us and my hope is that his pure and fully trusting gusto for the same goddess the cleric claims to follow will prick the cleric’s heart and give her a bit of gusto of her own.
There are noises, small echoes in the corridors surrounding us. I know we are not alone. I have already communed with Percival, I have decided to have him keep watch while I sleep, his watch usually comes to me in the form of a dream if I am sleeping and is helpful in remaining always alert. I am sure I will need my rest for the day ahead.