Extracts from the journal of T'kaarth Dardemmon
Known in the overworld as Razor the Blade, a banished drow noble during his pursuit vengeance on the undead lord of the southlands. - Compiled and annotated by the historian Taln of New Sevenigy
(These notations are gathered from the oral history of the descendants of Sven Va Elemental Warrior of the Chi Caste. He was a great dwarf lord who freed the slaves of Mitre. His account of events is less flattering of the drow lord, although the two traveled together for many years, and were known to be friends.)
Fireday the 5th
I awoke from a strange dream, in the small tavern where the dwarf (The Dwarf in this case refers to Sven, throughout his journals Razor refers to Sven and most other non-elves by defining characteristics rather than their names.) and I have taken rooms during our journey through these human outlands. I find these humans to be bizarre creatures, useful for manual labor, but their minds simply cannot compare to the sophistication of the greater elven intellect. I will admit that their ale, although a heavy tasting liquid, is interesting both in flavor and in effect. The dwarf consumes far to much of it in my opinion, but it doesn't seem to impair his ability to either carry on an intelligent conversation or to brawl. (Sven, his family accounts were fond both of strong ale and of wrestling, and often wrestled humans for sport, often winning.)
I joined the Dwarf below and we discussed plans for our journey when the wind outside began to pick up. I commented that it was an evil wind, and as the dwarf began to respond there was a tremendous roar and explosions. Suddenly the roof was ablaze, what wasn't falling all around our heads. As the humans fled in terror I looked about and saw one of them ransacking an unfortunate patron who had been killed by a falling beam. The greed and lack of honor in these humans disgusts me. I immediately went to stop him, but a piece of the roof fell on me and I was dazed. The dwarf came to see to my health, but I was fine. The criminal had fled upon my advance, so I suggested we leave. ( According to Svens descendants, when the chaos hit, Razor, got the dark look, which often accompanied his bloodlust and killing frenzy. He rose and drew his knife obviously intent on slaying one of the humans. However he tripped on an overturned stool and nearly succeeded in castrating himself. He landed stunned on the floor. Sven lifted him and carried him out of the burning tavern.)
Once outside the building we quickly became aware of the source of the chaos. A huge dragon screamed above us. His breath was an inferno, transforming the buildings in the town into a firestorm of destruction. All around us the town was in flames, the stench of burning flesh and wood was overwhelming. I was struck motionless with awe as I saw the enormity of the beast. It was tremendous, larger even than these floating houses the humans call "ships." (The dwarven version confirms the size of the beast, referring to it as a Behemoth. A dragon of enormous proportions which sleep for thousands of years at a time)
Here I have to give honor to the dwarf, he stood firmly, drew back the string of his crossbow, and launched a quarrel directly at the beast. The bolt glanced off its armored chest, but got its attention. I moved to the cover of a building which was still standing, but the dwarf remained and prepared to launch another bolt at the beast.. The dragon landed and knocked the dwarf aside like a gnat. He was rendered unconscious by the blow and lay helpless before the great worm. I lifted him and ran for the open side of town.
As we ran from the beast we came upon a group of humans, the residents of the town. They were gathering about a tall human who looked as though he was considering attacking the dragon directly. Then sanity returned to his face and he began to lead the people away into the woods. He led them using a sing song command style which I was not familiar with. But knowing dragons prefer human meat to the higher races we followed at a slight distance. Then the tall one sang out that the dragon was returning. I could smell the foul stink of the beast and I split from the group, yelling scatter to the unthinking humans. The tall one got the idea and sent them off in smaller groups, probably saving most of their worthless hides.
By now the dwarf was moving again so I dropped him and we headed for the woods together. We stopped in a small clearing safely away from the town and dragon. Shortly, the tall human and another human in uniform entered the clearing. I heard a sound and turned to see three other beings: a tall catlike humanoid, a halfling carrying a bow almost as large as itself, and a tall high elven female. She was quite impressive, obviously a wielder of spell power. She moved with a grace even greater than that normal for her race. In a situation where I myself was unnerved her composure and beauty were amazing. The hobbit quickly entered the circle and made his presence known as Oscar. These mini humans amaze me with their brazenness and yet their capability. When my quest is over, I plan on studying the potential of this group as a warrior race for the underworld, where their speed and small stature may be assets.
What struck me as odd about this group was their familiarity although I could not say why. (Sven recounted to his descendants that he had also had a similar dream to Razor where he was part of a group in an arena with faceless beings all about. He was forced to fight a band of orcs, and that these people where actually participants in the dream.)
The shorter human, who I would learn was a minor leader in this region, turned to the tall one and questioned him about a messenger which had arrived prior to the attack. The tall one responded by producing a fine broadsword, and handing it over to the smaller one saying that the messenger had come to deliver that before expiring. (Sven later learned from Arnie, the “tall human”and a defender of the town Seveigny, that the messenger had not really relayed any information but had died with only a few words. Sven believed the messenger was trying to warn the town of the attack, and that Arnie had actually taken the mans silly decorations prior to the dragons attack.)
At that point the halfling noticed a sound coming from the north. It was more humans, and as we listened I detected a language of which I was not familiar. The tall human said that it was esternian or somesuch, and the speakers were suggesting hunting down survivors. The cat thing leaped bodily into a tree and hid. Quite a feat actually when you consider it leapt 6 feet straight up. (Sven, explained the cat was actually a catkin, of the sabretooth variety. She was a noble of her race, on a quest to learn how other races lead their subjects.) I took my cue from it and climbed a tree a bit closer to the north. The others took positions as well, and as we prepared 5 humans entered the clearing. With drawn swords they charged us. The halfling fired off arrows at the advancing humans, hitting one in the arm. The tall human advanced with his axe drawn and engaged one. I saw one of the eastern humans move to the side and begin the motions of a spell. Fortunately, the dwarf was as observant as I and put a crossbow through the human's stomach. The elf maid began preparing a spell of her own, and the others engaged into combat. Waiting for the appropriate moment I leapt out of the tree and slashed one of the attackers. Rolling quickly to my feet I saw an unmatched attacker moving to flank the group. I moved to block him, and engaged both humans.
From the corner of my eye I saw the cat leap from the tree and rip open one of the eastern humans with here claws. The eastern had been advancing on the halfling, who was trying to cast a spell. The spell seems to have no effect, but the cat rakes her claws over the scalp of the attacker. I turned my attention back to my opponents, Striking the wounded one again, opening his sword arm. I blocked his weakened counter, and twisted out of the way of the others strike.
(Sven accounts here that Arnie strikes a mighty blow to his opponents abdomen almost cutting him in half. Sven circled to engage the eastern humans, setting aside his crossbow. The halfling launched two arrows which pierce the humans vitals and drops him to his knees.)
I swung, and he parried me, I must admit I underestimated my opponent to be a common thug, then he riposted and left me with a line of blood across my breast. I parried his partner and moved to the side, so to keep an eye on the whole battle. The tall human struck again at the human he was engaged with. Suddenly there was a shout, and a tremendous wall of fire engulfed our attackers. I turned to look, the elven maid was drained, and obviously weakened from the effort it took to cast the fire wall.
My first opponent began retreating, and I followed. The cat leapt upon my other adversary, and made short work of him. I was wearing down my opponent, and preparing to take him alive when the human stepped in and virtually decapitated my quarry. I almost killed the fool for taking my prey.
At this point I looked about to see if there were other intruders, which I would need to dispatch. I saw that Sven was unconscious on the ground with a huge bloody bruise to his head. (Sven had actually slipped briefly into a coma, but luckily his natural dwarven constitution prevented his permanent loss of consciousness.) The wall of fire suddenly disappeared and the elven mage walked through its wake untouched by the violence surrounding her. There may be redeeming qualities in the brothers of my race after all.
Not all the flame was gone however, the tree in which I had been hiding, was now ablaze. The halfling appeared to be concentrating on it, and suddenly a deluge of water washed over it and quenched the fire. He had been wounded also, but not gravely. There were two other dead humans on the ground near him, and it appeared that the cat had subdued the final attacker.
The tall human went to where the cat was questioning the captive. Another human in strange forest colored robes bent over the dwarf and reached forward with one glowing hand. I raised a knife to throw into his neck, but I saw that the dwarfs wounds began to heal and disappear. I returned my dagger to its wrist sheath, and picked up one of the fallen warriors' helmets. I walked over to the now sitting dwarf.
"Here you are short one, although I thought your head was harder than steel myself."
"Shut up Drow" he returned with his usual wit and flair. (Sven's descendants suggest that this banter never actually occurred, although the gift of the helm did. It suggests the real nature of their relationship, and the actual caring of the drow for someone other than himself.)
At this point most introductions were made. The tall human was Arnie Oleson, the halfling piped up with Oscar Mayer, the cat growled a sound I could not reproduce and then stated that she was known as She-Sha in the human tongue. Finally the elven maid came forth with Rae as her name. The dwarf made his usual " I am Sven Va Elemental Warrior of the Chi Class." The stoned headed Prizzat, (a Prizzat was a large lizard with a three foot thick cranium used by drow to break stone.) I certainly don't go about telling demielves that I am a deposed drow lord and a dark blade who has given countless souls their release to Jerondim. (Jerondim was the eternal resting place of non elves. It appears that according to Razor's particular religious sect that he actually believed himself to be granting those he killed release into a better existence. )
During this foolish parlay I searched the bodies of our foes looking for clues to their purpose. I found nothing but a piece of paper with strange scribbles on it. I took this over to the tall human, as I knew the dwarf would not be able to read it if I could not. The tall one seemed to be taking the leadership role in this group. This suited my purpose well, as I wanted to be away from this as quickly as possible, and back to my pursuit of the drow vampire.
The human translated it as an order to awaken something. Then he began to intimidate the prisoner. I was actually quite impressed with his pretense of insanity. He found the prisoners name to be BOB, in the ancient spelling. He was frustrated in his initial attempts to gather information. So I stepped in. I grabbed the captive by the hair and hauled him up. Then I screamed at him in trade tongue, and flashed my dagger across his scalp cutting off a good amount of his hair and dropping him back to the ground.
Then the human began questioning him again. The prisoner was far more forthcoming now. The human learned a great deal, but the rub was the following: The prisoner was of the dragon cult, and trying to awaken a leviathan. (This is a gigantic dragon bound beneath the sea.) Then the prisoner ran. The tall human chased after him. I watched them disappear and sat down to bind my wounds.
After a time it was apparent that the tall human was either lost, or something had happened to him. The elven mage and the halfling went with the brown rode one to find him. I was content to wait, but the dwarf naturally wanted to protect them and find out what was going on. It was then that I discovered the body of the uniformed human. He had a long deep wound down his back. The coward had been trying to run when he was cut down. But was it by their side or ours?.
We wandered through the woods until we heard a horrible cacophony coming through the trees. At first I thought it was a harpy or other horrible beast, but it turned out to be the tall human singing. He was carrying the other human trussed up.
Returning to the clearing I suggested that at least one of us return to the village and find out what is happening there. My ulterior motive was to learn if it would be safe to travel on or not. Then I memorized the face of one of the dead soldiers for use if we ran into other of his ilk. The dwarf volunteered to join me, I think mainly to make sure I would return to the group with my findings. He was right to be concerned, but I had already begun to feel a sense of comfort with this group I had not previously experienced. I attribute this to the strange dream sharing experience.
When we arrived at the city it was in ruins. Most of the buildings had been destroyed, and many were still alight. There were about 40 men at work clearing out the city. They were dressed as our attackers. I used my magic to appear as the one whose face I had memorized, and entered the camp.
I wandered into the middle of the camp. There a warrior confronted me with stripes across his uniform. It was fortunate he challenged me in trade tongue, I had not thought of the fact that I did not speak their language. He questioned me as the other soldier, asking where were the others. I explained they were killed during an unexpected battle. Then he questioned me about my clothes. I said they were destroyed during battle, then I asked what I was supposed to do next. He shrugged and told me to clear out these bodies. I hinted around about things and found out also that they were looking to release three behemoths from under three cities, to aid them with the release of the leviathan. Then I was found out as I probed to find how they were traveling. I turned to leave and was questioned as to where I was going. I said to relieve myself. He said I could use the outhouse and summoned guards. I queried him if he had been in the outhouse recently. They laughed but followed me anyway. I entered the woods and led them away from where the dwarf was hiding, and our enclave. Then I lost them easily and returned to where the group was hiding.
I related to the group my experience in the ruins of the town, and the tall human questioned the captive more. As a group we decided that it was necessary to stop the dragon cultists from proceeding. We determined to ambush them as they headed on to the next town. The human suggested we get help from a neighboring lord. I wanted to follow the cultist and thin their numbers, but was swayed when the dwarf nudged me. Besides which, the elven maid would need someone to protect her from the bestial humans.
Stone day the 6th
We traveled to the human city. Along the way we were set upon by wolves. A strange occurrence as wolves rarely attack groups of travelers. Yet we quickly scattered the pack and they fled. The rest of our journey was uneventful.
Sunday the 7th
We arrived at the scattered hovels these humans call a town the next day, and sought audience with the towns leader. He turned out to be a short sighted human named Bjorn. -I think these humans like to name their children after the sounds they make when the pop out of their mother. -The interview started out badly and grew worse. The tall human attempted to reason with this Bjorn, explaining the situation and requesting assistance in the form of men and horses. The leader failed to see the long term need to defeat this foe. Focusing instead on the fact that the next town they were to attack was an enemy of his. The tall one called upon their times as brothers in arms, but the leader did not even have the honor to acknowledge the tall ones claim. The leader had the audacity to state that they had never fought together in a war well know even by us in the underworld.
I grew even more distasteful of these beasts than I usually am of humans, and began to feel the blood hunger coming upon me. I spat at the stupid human and called him a coward. He grew angry with this and I believe he was about to call for his vermin guards. I swore at him and said "I am not even of your race yet I would stop this senseless slaughter, you who are human will not even help your own kind. You are the ideal of a coward and I will not speak to you further." The dwarf spoke up then echoing my thoughts. I turned to leave, seeing no further use in yelling at a wall.
The tall one began to speak about the fall of the races one by one if they failed to support each other, but I could see it was of little use. I left the chamber, surprised to find Rae at my side. Also surprised to find how comfortable I was to have her there. Since my former wife's betrayal and her subsequent death, I have had little to do with females of any ilk. However I must not think of such things, Women are not to be trusted, and she is not even drow. (Here we have a glimpse of some of the anger which feeds the drow. It is rumored that his wife and the undead drow lord were lovers, and had plotted and succeeded in stripping Razor of his lands and titles with the aid of some other minor nobles. This was because Razor would not lend his support to an assault of the human lands to the north. Believing that such an attack would result in the deaths of countless drow, and seal the hatred for dark elves which currently only smolders in the other races. It is also rumored that the death of his wife was by his own hands, after Razor found her with the vampire. It is also said that she did not ask for mercy, but rather spit on him. The final piece of this tale is that his face was wet with tears after the deed, and he has never wept since.)
I later learned that the tall one continued to argue until he was told to leave, and even then it was necessary for the cat to remove him. I was amused to learn that the coward actually commanded the halfling to do the deed.
Sven joined Rae and I shortly (There is no humor among the Chi Caste at this common disparagement of dwarves.) as we went and purchased horses. It seems the others had left their wallets in town with the rest of their goods during the attack. Fortunately drow are not so unaware of the chaos of the world as lesser mortals. I purchased horses for all of us except the cat. She could neither ride, nor would the horses remain near her for any length of time. I truly believed she considered eating Rae’s pony at one point. (The dwarves chalk this up to drow racism. catkin have never been known to harm horses, and animals are often more friendly to them than to drow or humans. It is true that the 7 foot She-Sha would have never been able to ride anything short of a heavy war-horse.)
After a discussion the group decided to hunt the cultists and winnow their numbers until an assault could be made successfully. Also more information was obtained from the captive BOB after plying him with alcohol. The tall one’s attitude even suggested the captive was coming around to our point of view. The prisoner divulged additional information that he was from Mitre. This overjoyed the tall one, who apparently had worked in MITRE for a time and began reminiscing. According to the prisoner, the majority of the cultists were cast-offs who, filled with self pity, joined a group for a sense of belonging rather than any ideals. My desire to kill this one grew steadily, but alas that pleasure was to be denied me.
Moonday the 8th
We returned and made camp a short distance from the ruins. The group set watches, and worked on BOB. The dwarf and I stalk/hid to the ruins to gather information and plan the attack. The buildings were gone, and the cultists had been busy digging for their dragon. We left without giving away our position. Upon returning to camp and discussing the information we made plans for the dealing with the cult.
Our first step was to infiltrate the camp and poison the well. This was the idea of the tall one, and I was satisfied with the suggestion. (This was high praise coming from Razor. He rarely credited anyone other than himself with intelligence, and to speak so of a human indicates his growing respect for the man.) We decided to use feces for this purpose. I had my doubts that this would hurt humans, as I was under the impression they were full of it. I gathered a bag of the stuff and prepared to leave with the dwarf. He was to accompany me, and report back to the group if I were intercepted or killed. I would be the only one entering the camp. I took a moment during further conversations between the tall one and BOB to memorize the prisoner’s face. During this time we became aware that there were actual clerics in the camp. Five to be exact. BOB showed us the symbol, which designated their tents.
We came upon the camp and took our positions. I gathered myself and entered the camp as the sentries wandered by. I came quickly to the well, and dumped in the feces. Then I stole about the camp and took note of where the cleric’s huts were. As I came upon the third hut, which bore the mark which BOB, had shown us, I heard stirring from within. I stopped and hid behind a pile of rubbish as one of the spell casters passed by me to urinate. (Sven's own account of this was that the Drow was showing off and was very cocky in his fearlessness. There is no record of an incident such as the one previous.) Upon returning for the night I washed and slept. I believe the group actually expected me to keep watch after all I had been through, but they quickly abandoned that idea.
Tallday the 9th
The next day we rested and healed. Apparently It was one of the Dwarfs holy days, although he only remembered as he was about to break his fast. (Sven's descendants firmly deny that Sven would ever forget a holy day, and that he was one of the most pious of their people.) I learned that the brown robed one was a shaman of some sort. I still am not aware of his name. That night the second phase of our attack commenced.
Leaving the halfling and Rae with BOB the rest of us went forth to cause some havoc. We waited slightly away from the camp as the jungle kitty crept up. She was almost as silent naturally as I was with years of training. Her people might also make exceptional bodyguards. She left our sight, and a few minutes later we heard a scream and one of the eastern sentries came running through the woods at us. This was just as we planned it. The cat could control humans for a short time, and she had sent him to us. If I had known she could do this earlier, we could have used it on the cowardly leader.
The dwarf, the tall one, and myself fell upon the guard. My shurkien entered his armor at the waist and he was severely wounded, but the human and dwarf finished him off anyway. Retrieving my weapons and preparing to dispose of the body we saw torches, and left the scene of the battle.
We were to learn later that during this time BOB ran away. I lay no blame on Rae as the halfling had obviously failed in his duties. They had chased him, Rae using a light beam to track him and the halfling trying to slow him by missing with arrows. Unfortunately a pack of wolves converged and BOB was taken. But Rae and the halfling managed to return safely.
Earthday the 10th
The next night I had planned to begin killing clerics, but the camp was wide awake with disease. When I came upon a cleric he was awake, so instead I assumed BOBs form with a little extra blood, and walked through the camp without challenge. The soldiers who did see me whispered of the camp being cursed.
It was time for our attack.
It was the eave of ChaosDay
We prepared by using my chalk to give ourselves a ghostly pallor. Being a dark elf I refrained from this. The others did an excellent job of making themselves look like fools. I was amused.
We left to take our positions and prepared to attack the camp. I waited on the eastern side of the enemy camp, for the signal. When it finally came it was a doosey, as these humans say. The tall one rode the horses through the camp. Behind them he had hitched a number of burning branches and bushes. I was glad to see he had taken care to keep the fire far enough away so as not to hurt my animals. He released the mobile bonfire in the middle of the camp and leapt off the horses yelling as a banshee. I wondered if he had entered one of his bizarre berserk states.
I slid into the camp and entered a hut. There were two cultists there and I began to battle them. It was a bloody battle. When I finally defeated them I emerged from the tent to find the others in need of my assistance. I chased off another two cultists, when another of their number took me by surprise. He and I fought to a standstill, when suddenly he kicked dirt into my eyes. As I threw up my arm to block the dirt, his saber descended and cut off my hand. We were both quite stunned by what he had done. In tremendous agony I drew a dagger from my belt and thrust it straight through his throat. He fell gurgling blood at my feet.
I collapsed and drew off my belt. Cradling my stump of and arm I wound the belt around what was left of my wrist to stop from bleeding to death. Then I picked up my hand and fell into a period of delirium.
The dwarf has described much of what transpired in the meantime, I rely on his account to portray the actions of the others.
It seems Sven entered the camp on schedule and playing the chalky ghost role to the hilt he yelled “Vengeance for the dead.” And he beheaded one of the Dragon Cultists. The tall one battled valiantly slaying many of the enemy, including a few clerics. Rae cast several spells in support, flaming walls and other spells flew across the grounds. The brown robed shaman went crazy and began lighting all the tents on fire. Including one, which obviously held magic items and exploded across the camp. The cat felled more than her share of warriors, and the halfling put shafts into many of the cowards who fled from our battle.
When we had finished, I placed my hand in salt, and was only able to move about due to my tremendous will power and strength. The others threw the bodies into the well, searched the camp, and set several of the leader’s heads on stakes.
We rode off with some documents we found to the king. As we neared the castle, we were met and treated to a hero’s welcome by the castle guard. As we rode through the streets we were showered with garlands, and crowds of onlookers gathered to cheer. It seems that many of those saved by the tall one had come here for safety. Also a few of the kings scouts had witnessed our bold attack on the camp and reported it immediately.
When we met with the king we were treated to a magnificent feast. It was quite an experience to say the least as I ate with a single hand. The tall one explained our story to the king, with many interruptions by the halfling. It made me reconsider them as warriors, when the king almost had him beheaded. Finally Sven and I stepped in and clarified the matter.
The cat had restrained the halfling, and then let him go when he had quieted down. The small one must have taken offense to this abuse, because he then turned and launched a waterbolt at the cat. Being quite drunk at the feast he missed, and instead hit one of the kings retainers. As the king went to send for the guards I, being cranky both from the endless foolishness of the lesser races and from the pain in my throbbing hand, smashed a tankard over his head and knocked him unconcious. We pleaded on behalf of the halfling, explaining that his kind were not well versed in the effects of alchohol.
The next day the king rewarded us handsomely with money and weapons of quality. I went to the temple of Freya and they ageed to reattach my hand. The ceremony was long and agonizingly painful. But when complete My hand was grafted back to my arm, and I was whole once again.
Here ends the translation of the journal, where the group journeyed from here is another tale of which little may be revealed.
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