7th of Vendarl, Tempen 608 AR
I just returned home from a most bizarre and long adventure. It was also cold. Far too cold. What madness could possess Khadorans to live in such frigid places escapes me. Where to begin…
We were hired by a scholar out of Ceryl University, though it is a wonder how such a scatterbrain manages to survive in that infamously grueling institution, to travel with him to the northern reaches of Khador to excavate an Orgoth ruin. We were to be his escorts, providing him protection in the foreign frontier and also overseeing the other mercenaries he hired, the twenty of which are clearly former grunts from the Cygnaran military. He had chartered a ship to take us discretely to the Khadoran port of Ohk, and from there we would head to the site of the ruins. Unfortunately as I would later discover, he had neglected to plan a way back.
The ship brought us there in three weeks, hugging the coast the whole way so as to avoid the southward current. We came ashore in the dead of night, but were as must be the case considering following events, seen. I contacted the local underground using my investigator’s knowledge of the criminal sphere, and was able to find a hidden lodging for our lot to stay in for the night. The scholar and I headed to the local and seldom used library to peruse their records for useful information. The scholar, demonstrating a frightening lack of expertise, found little of use but I was able to find something. My efforts were able to find the precise location of the ruins, and a backwater village conveniently close by for us to stay in whilst we investigate them.
Additionally, in our…lodging we encountered a strange trollkin named Brogg, a warrior and as much a foreigner to Khador as us. He wished to join our company and I, seeing that his abilities added to the company and that he was competent, granted his request. Though considering his bearing since, I’ve had some regret concerning that decision. Despite his personal failings, Sergeant Brogg is useful in a fight, and has shown himself to be an asset.
The next day we set out, disguised in Khadoran winter coats provided by our underground associate, and traveled for two days to a minor village on the way to our destination. We rented rooms at the village inn for the night, but while most of us were sleeping, there was a commotion downstairs. I went to investigate, and discovered that Khadoran soldiers were interrogating the innkeeper, looking for us, the “Cygnaran spies.” I woke the rest of our company and got them preparing for a hasty withdrawal, and went back down stairs to create a diversion that would facilitate our escape. I found a servant boy, and convinced him that we were covert Khadoran operatives, and that the officers leading the Khadoran troops outside were really Cygnaran spies seeking to foil our mission, which of course was for the good of the motherland. Not the most creative lie, but it worked. I sent the boy to accuse the Khadorans while our company snuck out the back. Unfortunately, the Khadorans had all the exits covered, so there were Khadoran soldiers there. However, Brogg simply scared them into submission and they let us pass without harassment or alarm.
Knowing that we were being pursued, we left the main road and traveled the remaining distance cross-country. We reached our destination a week later. The villagers there were a strange sort, but appeared harmless, though that initial assessment later turned out to be wildly inaccurate. They seemed willing to allow us to use their village as a base, as long as we left some soldiers there to guard it, and we agreed to those terms.
We set out for the ruins the next day, taking the rest of our men with us. We encountered a bizarre war band on course for the ruin; they were human, but not Khadoran military and wielded not a single firearm, but outdated crossbows instead. These green-clad warriors were no match for us and our soldiers, though their presence was strange occurrence out in that frigid locale.
We found the Orgoth ruin easily and quickly began to excavate. We uncovered what seemed to be some sort of occult sacrificial pit, with a dark alter, soulcages, and a pile of weapons with actively writhing, screaming faces on them. Some momentary stupidity compelled three of our men to pick up the largest of the Orgoth weapons, and they were immediately overcome by an unnatural bloodlust. Propelled by black magic to inhuman speed, they slew half of the other soldiers before anyone could react. We had to kill the three of them before they hacked apart anyone else. Damn the Orgoth and their dark magic.
We also found a collection of Orgoth documents, which greatly excited our employer, for little of their writings survived the Scourge. He seemed to be satisfied with these records alone, and the rest of us deemed it intelligent to leave the cursed Orgoth weapons behind. So having collected all we wished, we left for the village. We did not receive a warm welcome upon our return, because nothing in Khador can ever be warm.
We came back to the village to find that our soldiers had been slaughtered by the villagers in some sort of Devourer Wurm cult sacrifice. And the villagers were now clad in the same green garments as that war band we earlier encountered. After a tense and short discussion with the villagers, Brogg began to provoke them, shouting praises to Menoth and insults to the Devourer Wurm, which the villagers to promptly attack us without further speech.
The battle began with a crushing advance into their village, with our side crushing their formation. Most of them were dead when two monstrous wolf-men of superhuman strength emerged from the buildings to assault our formation’s rear, severely wounding our employer, and four others appeared to accost Brogg, Syra, and Pin. I quickly bandaged the scholar’s wounds, likely saving his life, and held the two rear-assaulting wolf-men in an alleyway between two houses with nothing more than my flail, keeping them away from our riflemen while they put round after round into the beasts. Once all but two of the wolf-men and two of villagers were slain, they threw down their arms and conceded defeat. Brogg wanted to murder the remaining survivors, but I forbid him from that act. The Thurian Irregulars will not kill enemy combatants who willing surrendered, for I will see to that for we are not monsters, even if our enemies may sometimes be.
Bizarrely once the villagers were to talking with us again instead of trying to kill us, they offered to hire us in the future, for as they told us, we were clearly capable fighters worth the coin. We made it clear to them that we were unwilling to work for Devourer Wurm cultists, but then they informed us that they were not and rather are part of something called Circle Orboros, which tries to maintain the balance between Menoth and the Devourer Wurm. I told them that we were fine with fighting worshipers of the Devourer Wurm, but we would not burn villages to control civilization’s influence, and that seemed acceptable to them. They also informed us that Khadoran troops were looking for our group and that they would be willing to conceal us if we would wait to speak with the villagers’ superior, who was not present then.
So two weeks of hiding in the chilly cold frigid freezing forests of northern Khador later, we meet this person, an adolescent spellcaster of some sort. After a bit of discussion we agreed that the Thurian Irregulars would be willing to work them for the purpose of curbing Devourer Wurm cults’ power and that they would send us quickly back to Ceryl by magical means if we dealt with a small local problem. This “small local problem” turned out to be a batch of dragonblighted nyss and other blighted monsters, and though Syra seemed perturbed by the experience we dealt with them soundly, losing no one in the fight. This surprised the young girl, for apparently she did not expect us to survive, much less crush the blighted monsters. She held out on her arrangement though, and led us to a circle of carved stones. There she enacted some magic, there was a flash of light, and when the blinding effect of the light wore off we saw we were in Ceryl Park.