Of Stone and Shadow

New Things

My Dearest Hadrian,

I know you told me to never trust paladins. I should have listened. It may come as a surprise to you, but self-awareness through meditation just isn’t working for me. I can’t do it any longer. Or you may not be surprised at all. You always did know me better than I knew myself. I remember you warning me the path I had chosen could prove to be not what I thought. I think that was your subtle way of telling me I’d be bored. If so, you were right. I help people regularly, which I am very pleased to do in exchange for their coin. I think if you had stayed we could have worked out a very profitable business. As it is I have to pay someone to translate for me. She’s a little daft, but nice enough and her presence gives me someone to talk to while waiting for business.

But overall it just isn’t enough. I was talking with Dhasceana, and he was thinking about finding a couple of people to go out into the Fens with. I told him I would be interested if he found other reliable people. Instead he found a paladin and dwarf. The dwarf carries this sword made of bone that just emanates a cold aura, with literal frost dripping off of it. The dwarf’s eyes are glazed as if he’s being influenced and a strong magical aura is detectable. I’m a bit worried but he doesn’t seem to be evil. In fact, quite the opposite, he does seem to take an unnatural pleasure in cutting down undead, and he does it with such ease. I’m worried the sword is going to be trouble however. The paladin is what you might expect of a paladin, eager to find and combat evil, so I would think it apparent that Aretos, the dwarf, isn’t evil.
Once we got together it was determined we should go off and “fight evil” which was a ridiculous concept but considering Dhasceana and I were just concerned about bolstering our financial situation, we didn’t object.

We spoke with Zook, an information broker, who told us about an area to the southwest that was dark and unusual. No one who had gone to investigate had returned. Of course the two new guys decided that was where we should go, and so we did. I don’t know what I was thinking.

Once we reached the place, it was evident that something was wrong. The paladin stood still and kept glaring at things randomly as if trying to pinpoint the source of the malevolent energy, but Aretos quickly detected something buried in the water and slashed at it with his sword, slicing off the head of a zombie. His sword makes this awful ringing noise when it hits undead and I’m sure it could be heard for quite a ways. More of the foul creatures began rising out of the water, but the paladin decapitated another one before it had even fully risen. The others quickly took care of the ones that popped up, maybe 4 or 5 more. I don’t remember if I even hit one. We continued moving forward, overconfident in our abilities to handle anything we might encounter. We weren’t paying close enough attention to realize the danger we walked into until they were upon us. Zombie alligators attacked us and after a failed swing at one of their heads, it managed to grab me and wrench me under the water. They killed it before I had swallowed more than a mouthful of disgusting swamp water and by the time I had reoriented the other was already dead as well. Flush with our victory, and more than a little stupid, we continued on.

Fortunately the next obstacle was seen before it reached us, 5 skeletons approached us from the direction we were heading while a group of zombies approached from our west flank and some other large creature slowly approached from the east. We set ourselves against the skeletongs as they charged us through the swamp water. We took a few wounds from them, as there was a bloody skeleton with them, and we definitely should have turned around at this point. With so many undead constantly coming at us, I think it was pretty clear that we were not going to be able to take care of this issue immediately. But alas, we thought enough of ourselves to continue, despite my own personal weariness and Dhasceana’s wariness.

We turned to take on the oncoming threats. We recognized the large creature as an undead triceratops. Thinking it possible that being undead had weakened it and caused it to be slower and significantly less deadly, plus with the showing of the magical sword and the paladin, we were sure we could take it. The paladin, recognizing my relationship with nature provided me insight decided I had the best chance to stand in front of the beast and avoid being hurt. That bastard. They went around to attack from the sides, but from an inordinately long distance, nearly 15 ft. the triceratops gored me. I was flung away unconscious into the swamp.

This was two days ago. I just woke up today. I’m grateful to be alive, and I was told it was the paladin who pulled me from the swamp as they scattered and made their escape. Still, I should have known better. I still wish to adventure, and I don’t have a problem doing so with the paladin and certainly not with Dhasceana, but I think I’m going to have to be more careful and think things through a little bit more. I know you always told me adventuring wasn’t about bashing through stuff to find the treasure. It seems I’ve got a pretty good reminder. I ache all over. But I am alive. I hope you are well and are enjoying your adventures. I miss you, and I love you. Take care. By the time you get the messenger finds you to deliver this letter, I will probably be on my next adventure. Wish me luck!

Forever Yours,
Ellandra

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