Tragedy on the road to FHD

Master Caddis has been keeping me very busy. In the last couple of days I have been running around trying to make sure that we have plenty of provisions for the trip to Fairhaven Downs ( FHD). We keep dried rations on hand, basically jerky, dried fruit, and this flatbread stuff that stays edible longer than a dwarven spinster’s beard. I actually have never seen a dwarven spinster, but I think that must not be entirely true because girls don’t have facial hair, right? We keep two barrels of water in our cart, and when we are in town I always drain them and then refill them with fresh water as they can get stale after a while. My master came back with a bunch of flowers today, some nice looking pink and purple blossoms, but there was a lot of greenery with them too. I was so shocked I just stood there when he handed them to me, but then he explained that they were actually an herb and I should put them someplace where they wouldn’t be crushed. There is a spot between the water barrels that stays pretty cool and dark, so I put them there. I’m not sure how I felt about that – I don’t remember the last time I got flowers from anyone.

We finally got everything together, and when we left I got to meet Galeon and Kaila who were going to travel with us to FHD. Galeon is the mayor or elder or sheriff for the village. I found out that he’s the one who offered our group the princely sum of 3,000 gp to save their village. I’m surprised that nobody else has been interested in doing the work, as there are lots of people in the streets of Leighstead who are asking for money. I guess the news that two families have been eaten kind of turns most folks off. It’s quite a bit more dangerous than working in a bakery or mucking stables. Kaila is a ranger who offered to help escort us to FHD. It seems that everyone is feeling pretty lucky to have her along, as they don’t have to pay her and she is part of some group that helps keep the general vicinity of Leighstead safe. Or else maybe it’s because we have a connection now to The Ruby. At any rate, she looks very dangerous with not one but two swords hanging at her belt. Kenjio seems quite taken with her.

We’ve been on the road now for about 4 days, and Kaila has been able to find food for us a little better than half the time. I know master Caddis prefers fresh food to rations, and I have been doing a better job of… I’ll have to write this later, I can’t do this right now.

Galeon said it was a dangerous place, I don’t understand why he didn’t listen. Everyone is upset right now. I can barely write. Galeon warned us that we were coming to a very dangerous spot on the way to FHD, and that it would take several days to pass through it. There was evidently a big battle here a long time ago, he said something about a plague that infected some tree people, who then went crazy and slaughtered thousands of farmers in this district. The land has never been the same, and the restless dead still wander the area. We had made camp, and were just getting settled in when they raised the alarm. Two, well, things came and attacked us. Kaila said that they had been ogres at one time, but now they were less than that, or maybe more than that. It was dusk when they attacked us. Ecanus had stood up in the middle of our group and rebuked them. That’s what Galeon called it, but it evidently did not work and just made them angry. They both charged at him, and it was everything that the others could do to try to keep them away from Ecanus. It wasn’t enough though, as they kept swinging those huge clubs at him. Ecanus kept trying to rebuke them, but I think that everyone else was making so much noise that it didn’t work. The last I saw of Ecanus was when he was on his back, bravely shouting up at the horror standing over him. I remember the firelight made his eyes and his hair both look like burnished brass, even though I know his eyes were golden and his hair was silver. In the firelight, he looked like a different person. I saw the ogre take a final swing at him, but couldn’t see what happened next.

They finally managed to kill both of the unliving, and my master came over and told me what had happened. I can’t hardly think about how Ecanus died – I know he was brave to the end, yelling out at the monster as it loomed over him, but when I think about his eyes it is easy to imagine the fear in them as that massive club hurled down at him. I didn’t believe him at first, but I was unable to break my master’s hold on me to go see, even though he was weakened by the combat. The smell of blood, sweat, and ichor hung over our campsite like some evil cloud, and I was very happy to leave that place behind us. Master Caddis made sure to leave his note behind, but he didn’t bother me for his parchment and ink. I tried not to look at the body wrapped in canvas in the cart, even though I knew it wouldn’t change anything that had happened.

I don’t think I could have gotten through the next few days without Kaila. I’ve only had one other opportunity to travel with a woman while on the road with Sir Caddis, and that was a little over a year ago when we were going back to Hall. We had first met Sister Saphia just outside of Pire. Well, perhaps I should say that she met us. We were performing caravan escort and had the poor fortune to run into a warband of gnolls. This was a larger caravan, and we had quite a few guards, but Caddis was the only one that had his own mount. The gnoll front line had done some extensive damage, and our guards were only barely holding on. That’s when a new gnoll stepped forward and threw lightning at Rornak One Eye. Rornak was huge, taller than Caddis by at least a foot. He had only one eye, and the rumors were that he was part giant. We’ll never know though as he was fried to a crisp by the gnoll shaman. Caddis tried to rally the rest of the guards, but you could tell that things were about to fall apart for us. Just when it looked like the gnolls were going to break through, a plume of fire struck down from the sky and consumed the shaman and the center of the gnoll line. The loss of their leader was too much, and the rest of the warband disappeared into the forest. Sister Saphia rode up as calm as can be and asked about our wounded. Even master Caddis agreed that we would not have survived that encounter without her help.

Kaila seemed to understand why I was so sad, and I found it comforting to be able to actually talk to someone without having them pick their nose or ask me what we were going to have for dinner. I was reminded of Sister Saphia, and how much I missed her company. She and Caddis got on very well together, and I thought that there might be something there between them. She left us while travelling from Lisfield to Hall, and I have not heard Caddis talk about her since then.

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Tragedy on the road to FHD

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