Reign of the Axe

Elaine - Session Seventeen
A good day...I hope...

I noticed something the other day as I was leaving the jail. I managed to go to the market by myself. No panic, no upset. Went to the market, bought things, and left without having an anxiety attack like a normal person. Maybe being around this group has influenced my psyche positively? Maybe greater self-esteem? I know there are a million and a half words for whatever psychological effect this might be, but it was…pleasantly surprising that these people who were strangers a month ago could help me mentally in such a way so quickly? Dare I say that there is more to them than meets the eye, but I suppose that’s already been proven, hasn’t it?

I will see if I can convince Krakar to assist me with the gnolls’ treatment, at least the initial part of it. Bofdak too, if he doesn’t mind. There’s always a handy use for someone who can throw a stone pie at people. Agda, while capable, just didn’t seem to have the bedside manner for something like this, and in these delicate early stages, we need tact. I can only pay them in favors, but that’s what Master Gerard used. He said after a while, money doesn’t mean anything because certain people accumulate more of it than they ever need. Instead, they trade favors. I will see if he accepts these terms. This might be a purely wizard custom.

Belorin surprised me again by letting me use the jail for them. There’s something really special about that man. I hope the gnolls don’t give him reason to never tap into his compassion again, but if I can establish some kind of communication, I might be able to get them out of here yet. Even Bob was actually kind of pleasant. All in all, it’s a good morning so far.

The orcs are a concern. I am no mastermind of the battlefield, but we might be able to question the Six Fists of Hextor before they head back to Ignavus. They might have some idea about what’s really going on.

I also need to talk to Krakar about possibly assisting me in making some Cure Potions. Normally, I’d only make these for one person at a time, so I’ll have to fiddle with my formulas to see if I can make a larger batch in a reasonable amount of time. It’s not as easy as compounding the formula, you see, as in certain quantities, certain ingredients begin to overpower others, and it throws everything off, not to mention making the potion taste even more like the business end of a sick dog than normal.

Note to self: Buy lye and lead before we leave town.

If Bofdak plans on rebuilding our cart, I might see if he wouldn’t mind squirreling away some lead plates in the side of it. Useful for hiding things from magic users, those lead plates. Believe it or not, most mages are incredibly lazy. Lazy magic is a thing, remember? Most of the time, they use a couple detection spells, sense nothing, and move on. This is where bandits and other more hands-on people find things in secret compartments and such. You have to be crafty.

I will see if Krakar will assist in my gnoll endeavor. I might end up owing him a lot of favors, but if he’s nice enough to help these guys out, what he asks for might not be so bad.

Elaine - Session Sixteen
Irritating, but I have a point...

The others are giving me weird looks for wanting to keep the gnolls safe. I understand them, I really do. Being chewed on makes one tend towards their point of view, but listen to me. Hear me out. There is a point to this madness, I assure you. Be patient with me.

For one, race aside, they are prisoners of war. If they had been human, no one would have batted an eye at my wanting to help them. I know that stereotypes exist for a reason, but perhaps what kindness we offer them will have a lasting impact on their lives. Perhaps next time they do whatever gnolls do in their spare time, they’ll remember that kindness and it will change them. This doesn’t make those bites hurt any less, but I don’t blame the poor thing. Whatever justice and goodness you believe in, when you are starving, it all goes down the latrine. I should have thought better of it.

If I could find one that spoke a language my group could understand, I could ask him more information. I hope one of the unconscious ones can. It would be much easier to explain the situation to them and get them medical attention and out of the reach of the orcs. The others ran together after we freed them from the cages. Perhaps they are heading towards their home? I do not know, but I hope they get to a place they can be safe and heal.

I’m sure the others think that I’m trying to start my own beast orphanage. I assure you, guys, I am not. The troll and the goblins need to be properly quarantined and experimented on to find a cure for their ailment. This is no longer the case for Tim, who has been deemed too dangerous to transport, unfortunately. I will not let my desire to find a cure cloud the safety of the town or my new friends. The goblins will need to be fed and if that skittering noise is any indication, that third box left in the mansion’s basement will need to be recovered as well. It might be related, and I don’t want to risk it getting out and infecting the others, especially if Tim is loose down there.

The gnolls just need severe medical attention. Once they receive it and are able to leave, hopefully with supplies so they don’t just turn around and raid the town themselves, we point them in the direction of their brethren and get them on their way. I have no intention of keeping any of them.

I have never gotten that angry before… Not at anyone. I’ve wanted to be that angry at Auromvorax, but I have never gotten to that level. This is exciting and kind of scary.

I like my new friends. I will do what I can to keep them safe, even from my own weird sense of justice.

Note to Self
-Buy lead
-Buy lye
-Begin diamond horde
-Buy crackers and more bread
-Will also probably need to restock on aloe after the gnolls’ treatment

Krakar - Session 15
Found the old man

Finally managed to track the old man down. Of course I have no idea how to make him go back home, as far as the old coot is concerned he is still underground. He seems to have gotten caught up with some interesting characters though, the likes of which I haven’t met in all my travels…well at least in one place.

Most notably were probably the monk who was on lightning (like on fire but with lightning, not sure what else to call it) and of course the naked orc woman, Deneva. She wasn’t naked at first but somehow managed to not notice she was on fire for a good minute before I finally put it out and by that point she had burned all her clothes away. Not a bad looker if i must say but still a far cry from a good dwarf maid, too tall and simply not enough hair on her chin. Or perhaps it simply got burned away? An enigma for another time…

Funny enough, the old man got caught up in some war. Never needed much of an excuse to kill them orc types, present company excluded of course. It will be interesting to see where travelling with this bunch will lead me this time…

Note to self: Buy crackers

Elaine - Session Fifteen
Great balls of fire...ey gnolls...

Battle was intense, and I’ll be kicking myself for letting Larry get hurt for a while to come, but our side has been taken care of for the time being. I do not regret telling Larry to watch over the gnoll, but I do regret not correcting his proximity to him. Larry might fare better to just supervise from afar. The gnoll, as injured as he is, is still more dangerous than Larry, but Boccob let no bad happen to that boy, please. I don’t need more on my conscience right now.

Deneva displayed an amazing amount of apathy to being on fire. It was as much awe-inspiring as it was horrifying to behold. Maybe she and Mawmaw Olive should talk. Wob Zi used that electric eel elixir to its fullest potential and turned that one invader into his personal lightning show. I’ll have to make more of these kinds of potions for these two to play with. They used them very efficiently.

May not have gotten myself on the right side of Miss Abir right out of the gate, but she can clean the sand out of herself any time now and grow up! The Fists of Hextor were supposed to be in the south. If she was skulking around along the east wall, outside of the territory she was supposed to be patrolling, it would have been proper to let those shooting at things skulking around along the east wall know. Then she gets mad at me for casting magic on her that was a completely blind shot that I barely managed to pull off? You deliberately deserted your post during active war to come hunt down a troll because you were bored! A troll that I noticed you conveniently did not burn upon rendering unconscious! Woman, so far, you have painted yourself in a less favorable light than most of the Heironeons, and the only reason you’re above them is because you haven’t pissed me off as much as Doster has!

Deneva said that she was the only one like that. I sure hope so for the sake of my sanity.

I was surprised at the new arrival today, the young dwarf Cracker. No, no, his name is Krakar. Neither he, Deneva, or Bofdak have crackers. Note to self: get more bread and crackers. He is certainly a powerhouse and renews my faith in clergy. Effective, attentive, there was some mention of bacon and crackers, and I heard that distinctive sound of metal squashing invaders. It’s a good start in my book.

Bofdak and Thunk brought on the pain during this battle. Thunk just outright flattened six of the invaders. One second there was a person there, and then you blinked, and there was a boulder there. It was crazy effective. Bofdak summoned a woman, some kind of undead woman, perhaps? I’m not sure of her significance, but Krakar seemed to recognize her as well. I shall ask them later. She seemed very happy to assist in our endeavor as well, for which I am thankful. Thank you, Miss Hel. It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance.

Everyone brought their A-game at the wall, everyone, and I feel honored to know these selfless people.

The fact the troll was throwing burning gnolls makes me a little sick to my stomach, as does the paladin’s reaction to it. Is it a gnoll? Yes, and I am more than aware of what gnolls are known for. They are predators, and no one knows more about predators than what is essentially a mobile turkey dinner. Still, no one deserves to burn to death like that, having been turned on by those he considered his allies. In fact, if we can save him and heal most of his wounds, he might be willing to turn on them in return, which is why I am trying to keep him alive if he chooses life. If he chooses to be released from his pain and sent to his god, I volunteer to put my knife through his heart.

Was it foolish? Maybe. Probably, but there are those who would be kind to others if only given the chance, especially because it was denied to them. A wererat helped feed me after my accident. This wererat, seen as lowly by those who didn’t know of his affliction and hunted by those that did, helped cloth and feed a complete stranger. I couldn’t pay him anything. I couldn’t help him do anything, not in my current state. No, he did it out of what odd sense of kindness he had buried deep in his psyche, and I mean deep.

Once you go from a human to something considered undesirable, you get a lot of hard lessons about how people view them. Those lessons leave a bad taste in your mouth, and you learn hard.

So if the gnoll turns on us despite us trying to help him, I will not feel guilty about turning him into Gammi Ruth’s pin cushion. So far, we don’t know the circumstances surrounding his involvement with this invasion. He may have come along in a support capacity, a cook or squire-type role. He wasn’t wearing armor when he was burning. That would have impeded the flames. They stripped him down and set him on fire. If he had armor on, they would have probably had to wrestle him out of it, and that would cause a huge commotion. Drugging him is a possibility, as is knocking him out. Either way, he did not sign up to be their flaming fur ball of death. As far as his involvement, at worst, he was one of the invaders bent on taking us for all we had and, at best, he was taken against his will for this purpose. I do not think this is the case, either, since it would be inefficient to have to carry prisoners for such a long march. I am not delusional in this analysis.

Still, there is a chance that whatever hatred he had towards us will be directed towards those that did this to him, and it only takes one weak link to break the chain. If he can provide insight to what that is, then it might save a lot of lives, and if there are other gnolls in this battle, I do not think they will like hearing that their lives are being wasted in this manner.

Larry - Session Fourteen
Things are Ruff

Alpha and Beta Larry are working hard in the barn, but it is not normal working. Alpha Female smells scared, and so do Alpha and Beta Larry, only their scared is covered up by lots of work. Lots of scared smells now. All the humans that pass by are scared and in a hurry. Something is coming.

Which means I only have a limited amount of time to get that fluffy-tailed devil rodent. He has taunted me for the last time!

Phase 01 – Scouted the area around Alpha and Beta Larry. Perimeter secure. Picked up scent of fluffy-tailed rat at last seen location by the wood pile. Marked the area for later identification.

Phase 02 – Obeyed Alpha Female's orders to get away from the flat clouds hanging in the backyard. Scent of perpetrator is still present. Operative is following closely, suspects it goes to the oak tree in the next yard. The suspect has been seen loitering in this area under suspicious circumstances.

Phase 03 – Identified the location of the perpetrator 's headquarters as the mass of sticks and grass in the tree branches. Suspect does not answer to operative's challenge to arms.

Conclusion – fluffy-tailed rat is not home.

Phase 04 – Operative has been instructed to keep eyes on the suspect's headquarters the perpetrator returns.

Phase 05 – Then devour him with absolute glee and chew his fluffy tail into oblivion.

Phase 06 – ???

Phase 07PROFIT!

Elaine - Session Fourteen
The Air is Charged

The tension is tangible in the air. It feels like an ichy tickle across my feathers, almost like the sudden build-up of electricity right before you touch a doorknob and electrocute yourself. We prepared the best we could, I think, but time will tell if we prepared enough.

I need to ask Deneva for a favor, a deathwish. If something happens to me during this, I need to ask her to take my research journal and the goblins to the temple of Boccob and tell them about what is happening. They will know what to do. They have to know what to do with all this. She's got a much higher chance of surviving this than I do.

Note to Self: Hand out the potions we found in the basement laboratory. They have been identified as free of the contagion, and I think we will need them now more than ever. I believe Wob Zi will benefit the most from the Electric Eel Elixer, and since Thunk is throwing boulders, I think Deneva will be able to use the Rhino Elixer most efficiently. The Porcupine Elixer is useful, but we really don't have that many scrappers in the group aside from Wob Zi, and mixing potions is a bad idea.

I am uncertain about the two new additions to our company. Bofdak seems harmless enough, although I'm wary of the extent of his power, but I am concerned about the one-handed man traveling with him. He hasn't really contributed to fortifying the wall that I can see. He just follows Bofdak around, which is strange considering what is coming upon us. Who gets that excited about bombs upon meeting a total stranger? War time or not, their answers were unusual. I must try and keep an eye on them. It is possible that the one-handed man is a spy. The orcs may have cut off his hand and threatened to do worse if he didn't gather information on us. It would also explain his curiosity about the bombs and his lack of effort for the cause. Bofdak has been assisting with the fortifications, to a rather hilarious end, by the way. His magic didn't change the color of the Saternalia sweaters, so now we have Saternalia-themed palisades in front of the gate. The Blue-Haired Bombing Brigade would be proud.

It was exciting to learn that the Hextorians are here. I've seen them before in Ignavus, but I never dared to go too close. They are very strong and scary-looking, and I am small with hollow bones. I'd like to meet them if they're still around after the battle. We might need their assistance to deal with Tim if that is within their contract with Belorin. I know the Hextorians are big on their rules and contracts, and that Hextor is the sworn enemy of Heironeous. Outside of that, my knowledge of his clergy and traditions is very limited.

Still, if there isn't a possibility of retrieving Tim, we must make sure he cannot get out and attack the town.

Speaking of hollow bones, I've been practicing my arm movements for flying under Risher's supervision. He says I have forgotten how to fly and with my new body, it will be essential to learn where my equilibrium is. One I find that balance and get the proper motion down, I can start the physical trials. He made a comment wondering how thick my down coat was, and I believe he was hinting at my lack of cold-weather clothing. When you fly, it gets really cold quickly, and if I'm not prepared for it, I'll turn into a bird-cicle and freeze my tail feathers off. I'll be needing those.

I think my eyes are playing tricks on me. I keep seeing shapes and such right outside of the light, but Deneva hasn't made any move to arms.

Boccob, give me the wisdom to survive this night. Give me the strength to keep my companions alive this night.

Give us strength.

Elaine - Session Thirteen
The Blue Hair Bombing Brigade

I don’t have much time to write currently. Grangran Myrtle’s broken her latest grinding record, Onna Adelaide is slinging broken shards of glass everywhere, and the goat just escaped again and is curr-RENTLY EATING THE HARDTACK!!!!

The goat has been stuffed into the cleaning closet, the dog known as Bear is now attempting to clean the puddle of honey on the floor, and the chickens have been threatened with roasting if they dare do that again.

Nana Pearl has started a drinking game, and she just downed another shot because Meemaw Harriet threw out her back again. I admire the confidence in her skill, but now is not the time to give a demonstration on break-dancing, whatever that is, to the youngsters to motivate them. We need them youngsters out and hunting for broken glass bits like responsible young adults!

I wonder if Nana Pearl knows that’s lantern oil…

Mawmaw Olive has been waxing the empty eggs. I think she can touch fire, like without magical assistance. She’s just dipping her finger into the pot of wax and sealing the eggs off. When I asked her about it, she just said she lost feeling in that arm during the war. I have no idea what war this is.

Grangran Myrtle is a ruthless general. Speaking of ruthless, Gammi Ruth has been running those kids back and forth like a slave-driver. This is a crazy, yet surprisingly efficient process we have going on here. I need to warn Belorin to never piss off the Blue Hair Bombing Brigade. Now they all know how to make glass bombs.

I have eaten so many sweet rolls in the last five hours. I don’t know how, but food keeps appearing in random places, my pockets keep getting filled with candy, and knitted Saturnalia sweaters keep appearing in folded piles in chairs. The baker is busy using his oven to make the hardtack, so I have no idea how fresh, hot…rolls…keep…om nom nom nom!

We’ve made fifty bombs so far. It won’t be enough for the whole battle, but if we can give these to the guys on the front lines, it might at least discourage some of them from ever attacking again. High hope, but it’s something. It might be enough to turn the tide.

Hopefully the Fists of Hextor know what their doing. I’d hate for something bad to happen to the Undergrounders. Please dear gods, know what you’re doing. My faith in clergy needs to be restored!

By Boccob’s Blessed Book, there’s more bread! NO! THE GOAT’S OUT AGAIN!

Deneva's Journal, 3/8/2016
Everything is bad
Elaine - Session Twelve
It was a dark and stormy night

There but for the grace of the gods go I.

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that I am different. Not because I look like a gnome-sized raven that walks upright, but because I can tap into the Weave and sprinkle magical golden glitter that make ghosty orcs easier to hit. I might not be able to take down a troll by myself yet, but I can at least protect myself reasonably.

Regular people cannot, not against warriors like the Locusts. Yenven and his wife, his wife especially, almost died. They seriously almost died. Their light was almost put out forever. They got most of the others out, thank Boccob, but there’s a lot of blood on these scaly forearms of mine, and it wakes you up to the reality of the situation. At least Doster is good for one thing, although he could have hurried it up a bit since it was three versus one.

We lost Earl and one of the guards. Alton’s not taking it very well, which is understandable. I was told we had two casualties, which is two too many, I think. I pose you this: is one life worth expending to save the lives of many? The cost is everything to the one who would die. Everything.

So what is the answer? Do you murder the one to save the many, or do you try and preserve all to their possible detriment? I don’t think there is a clear answer to that, but there never is when it comes to life and death.

I will kill someone in my defense and not bat an eye. I’ve stolen from hard-working people to feed myself, and I remember them. I remember the face of each one. I think it’s a side-effect of the raven curse, the same reason I like crusty bread, eyeballs, and insects. When people learn about my curse, they ask, “Why do you not go to the clergy and have them remove it?” Because I’m not sure I’d know how to be human again even if they could remove it. I tried that once too, and they all failed to dispel it. I get weird looks when I order an eyeball in my martini instead of an olive anyway — Something you can only do in certain bars in Ignavus. I’ll have to take the gang to a couple. Deneva and Thunk might like not getting stared at. — but they accept this personal oddity because I’m “different.”

I am glad that I am not the only one to oppose the paladins. Korwindel seems to have pegged them for nothing more than bullies that like to throw their weight around. Would I have fought with that paladin for trying to arrest him for the orc? You bet your non-feathered ass I would have. I had the nerve to defend myself against Doster in front of all of his men for touching me. This guy? Certainly, and I’m not out of power just yet.

I didn’t agree with how Korwindel dispatched of the orc, but from the way it was going, either he or the paladin would have. The orc would have died, which is a shame. Even in prison, he would have gotten more food than if he’d been out on his own. Starving isn’t fun. Been there, got the t-shirt.

It wasn’t a good night, despite the fact that it could have turned out a lot worse.

We have a lot of work to do for the incoming invasion, and part of me questions whether the information was genuine or fed to us. I must propose and prepare for either option.

Note to Self: Need to begin collection of lead.


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