Journal of Hargus: Saintly Satyr Scholar; Prestigious Member of The Shadow Shields; Vocalist, Instrumentalist, and Entertainer; Wooer of Only the Fairest of Luscious Lady-Folk; Slayer of Only the most Devious and Dastardly of Dangerous Foes; and, Of Course, Exemplary Example of All that is Bard, Bard-Like, or of a Bardly Nature
4th of New Seed, Third Era
I can’t sleep. Fair as the Lady Diana may be, I get the sneaking suspicion that she values her station and her own safety more so (considerably more so, even) than those of her compatriots and charges, rabble that we are. And I’m quite sure I caught the good sir Nanolin scowling at me over lunch. I have yet to catch him NOT scowling at SOMETHING, though, so perhaps my imagination is getting the better of me.
Our party seems capable enough: A dwarven father-son duo(I’ve never heard such incessant chatter come from a tongue-tied young dwarf, though I am hesitant to bring it up either near the edge of his ax or under the watchful gaze of his guardian); an elven ranger named Iselas, who speaks little but has already proven himself handy on the trail; a charming halfling fellow by the name of Jon Far-From-Home who can carry a lovely harmonica tune (I guess he also uses a sword or something); and a grumpy dwarven rifleman whose name I can’t be bothered to learn since he is always the first to complain about my impromptu singing … I think it was “Rake,” or “Brakk,” or something to that brutish effect. We also came across the friendly halfling Doctor Zack who happened to be going our way. He is camping with us tonight, but his intentions beyond an exchange of breakfast for protection are as yet unclear.
… I have seen my fair share of song-fodder through my exploits in the Guild, but it leaves me wanting. Holding my passport to Westgate, I can’t help but recall they never mentioned the possibility of this drudgery at the College. My name is known to some, and there is always work for a charming satyr bard such as myself … but still, I thirst for a greater purpose. A grander tale. “He protected those wagons so FIERCELY … ” Hmph. That would make a terrible ballad …
5th of New Seed
Oh, how I despise those loathsome goblins! Confound and befuddle their meddling! Not only have they murdered three perfectly good sea elves, but my merciful ending of their leader’s miserable life has left me untended by the good (perhaps TOO good) doctor on moral grounds. Moral! Is it moral to leave a poor wounded satyr, who fought valiantly in the face of almost-certain death at the hands of those vile creatures, to try lulling himself to fitful sleep in a puddle of his own blood? I should think not … The battle, at least, will make for a wonderfully rousing composition … a field march, perhaps …
My only solace lies in the discovery of a few curiosities among the remains of the goblin raid: a long sword with some elaborate and indecipherable words on the shattered hilt; a signet ring worn by two of the dead elves on the right hand; and, most curious of all, a small, seemingly magical box with more unknown words (Ancient Merman, perhaps?) carved onto its gidled sides (also, it rattles). Had I greater capacity for concentration this night, I would stay up pondering this perplexing puzzle, but alas, I fear I would lose consciousness at the strain … Perhaps the “good” doctor will see reason in the morning …
6th of New Seed
Adventure does seem to trickle its way willy-nilly into the lives of the unsuspecting, and I do believe our ragtag band has become one such recipient. We arrived in New Gate today with the cargo, but the mysterious sea elf relics we recovered served as a welcome distraction from our humdrum task. The dwarves set out to find a fellow by the name of Sir Reginald behind the Iron … something. After a fair amount of wild goose-chasing, they came upon him … in a dumpster. Digging. In a dumpster.
The good Sir had an … air about him, that is for certain. Nonetheless, he knew where to send us. The forest gnome Tribon Goldoak is apparently the only individual on the continent capable of reading the Ancient Merman writings on our elven trinkets, and he resides several days north of New Gate in an unmapped gnome village called Stokes … Leagues away from our cargo’s destination.
Luckily for us, the good Sir had more than a few “tricks” up his grimy sleeve. We were able to bring Nanolin and the Lady to Reginald, so that he could “persuade” them to find other mercenaries for their menial task. Though we could not also convince (read: pay) the rifleman to join us, the remaining Shields have agreed to undertake this grand journey of the utmost scholarly virtue, due to its potential for greater reward at no risk of losing standing with the Guild.
Freedom! Sweet freedom and adventure! And probably women! Today was a good day, indeed.
10th of New Seed
Exhilarating! That is the first word that comes to mind when attempting to describe this scholarly endeavor. Along our northerly hike, we encountered some friendly dwarves (well, as friendly as dwarves get) near the mountains, and we managed to slay some scheming wolves just the other night! We also arrived not-so-unceremoniously at Stokes, only to find that our man Tribon has been arrested! Hmph. If magic is a crime, then I have ten toes and a hairless back. Anyway, the visit was not without merit: some of the most curious of curio shops exist here in Stokes, and I would have left with a full backpack had my purse not been so light. I did manage to procure some rather fetching black quarrels for my Cho-ku-no, but I digress …
Anyway, we make haste tomorrow in the direction of Tribon’s captors with his favored goat-friend Ronda (a sultry minx if I do say so myself), so that we might spare him from his tyrannical judgement … and perhaps get the information we seek …
14th of New Seed
Well, that could have gone better. Subterfuge and subtlety are not the strong suits of this party, I’m afraid. I suppose we DID still succeed in rescuing Mr. Goldoak, so I shall still tell this tale as one of triumph. Bar patrons VASTLY prefer tales of triumph, anyway.
Ronda’s lovely presence did manage to calm Tribon’s initial outrage (how DARE we save his life?), and he provided with not only a wealth of information but a new destination: the island of Hopatcong, to the Southwest. The box seems to have written on it some sort of elaborate riddle, but its purpose is still unclear. Tribon has recommended that we seek out Tempest at the Wandering Albatross, in order to get some more historical context for the box and possibly the other sea elven items.
Visiting an elven musician on a scenic island? You don’t have to tell me twice. We make our way first to Stroudsburg, weeks away, as it will provide us our only ferry into Hopatcong.
18th of New Seed
All Mother help us the young dwarf wants to learn music no no no no no NOOOOOOOO
I won’t do it NOOOOOOOO no no no no no
Why won’t he throw away that wolf skin
I hate dwarves
28th of New Seed
The mystery unravels itself still more! We arrived and continued through Stroudsburg without major incident, and upon arriving at Hopatcong two days later, we found our girl at the Wandering Albatross. Her musical talents were not exaggerated by Tribon in the least, and she had narrating skills to match. I will summarize:
A great battle raged long ago between a Gold Dragon, Jeska, and an evil Red Dragon-turned-Dracolich, Foc Corona, near a small island village not far from Hopatcong. Though Foc Corona was ultimately subdued, Jeska was gravely injured, disappearing into obscurity, and only one villager survived to pass on the tale. Now, apparently the remains of the village upon which this battle took place is said to be exhibiting an evil aura indicative of Foc Corona’s return. On this same island, named Fire Island, is a harpsichord purportedly capable of putting foc Corona to sleep, should it be properly enchanted and played. It is thought to still reside at the top of the Citadel.
We sleep tentatively tonight, and make way tomorrow to Fire Island, accompanied by the “Lord” of Lowellen’s Keep, Sir Gregory Allen. I do hope we find more answers than trouble upon our arrival.
30th of New Seed
The boat ride and subsequent inland trek on Fire Island has so far been uneventful, barring a rousing encounter with some kobolds. Is it in poor taste for me to observe that they are actually quite adorable riding around on their little boars? But I digress …
We sleep tonight under the glow of the volcano, cautious but curious. I should like to find this fabled harpsichord …