Mystara and the Path to Immortality
Skrogg's Journal - Chapter 3
10th Felmont, Day 85
Still the madness continues. I can see why my family back in Ober’s Mimbur thought I was strange for wanting to leave the safety and comfort of home. The tales never told of the continuous ups and downs of being a hero. One of our comrades, my closest friend, Thorsgrim, met his end today. My grief is only partially relieved by the thought that he will be in Valhalla, being honoured having fallen in battle. I shall miss the gruff Godi (the Northern term for priest) and our conversations about Thor. I don’t know who will guide me now. I guess Ragnar will be willing, but he reveres Odin more than Thor, although he can still teach me about being a warrior. Thor will provide, I’m sure.
The day started much like any other, cold, wet and misty. Dunnak Ironhammer bid us farewell and we continued on our way to The Rock. The going was tough and we spent much of the morning leading our horses through the rocky terrain. It seemed the area was prone to avalanches as there were lots of loose rocks and evidence of rock falls, needless to add we picked our way through this area with great caution. Soon our destination loomed in front of us. This mighty pillar of stone, sitting in a large open area, was rectangular some 50’ long and 15’ wide reaching up probably 150’ or more. The sides narrowed toward the flat topped summit and with the weathering in the sides, looked kind of like the face of an angry beast. We approached The Rock but were amazed to find a human woman bound to it. She was visibly upset and was yelling at us that we were in danger and should flee. Naturally we weren’t going to flee, especially since our goal was right there, so we approached with more caution looking out for the “danger”. As we got closer, we could see that the woman’s clothes were tattered and she was dirty and looked in pain. She was shouting at us, somewhat hysterically, that a hideous Hag, jealous of her beauty, had imprisoned her here to die and we should flee in case the Hag come back and find us. Well, if this wasn’t a classic Damsel in Distress, I don’t know what is. The warriors approached the chained woman with the intention of freeing her and possibly slaying her captor should she (it?) turn up. I could hear Azimi muttering something about the temperature and how someone could survive for long, but before I could think further on that our horses went mad. They started bucking and rearing. I let mine go and barely dodged a flying hoof. Ragnar and Sven were not so lucky as they were knocked to the ground. At the same moment we were attacked by flying daggers. Some foul sorcery was afoot. The wickedly sharp knives ducked and weaved in an effort to stab us, but we prevailed, smashing the daggers to oblivion. Although uninjured by the daggers, Thorsgrim and I both felt dizzy and weak, maybe some after effect of the foul sorcery. Before we had time to think, Thorsgrim was attacked by a repulsive creature, it’s claws and fangs trying to find a way through his armour. After a quick struggle, Ragnar and his pole-axe once again proved their lethalness, by decapitating the creature. We went to free the woman chained to The Rock, but found her already gone! Azimi informed us that the woman had been an illusion and that the creature we killed, the Hag, was obviously trying to trick us . Foul sorcery indeed. Sharp eyed Sven noticed a small crevice in the rock behind were the Hag had been “chained”. Being the smallest, I volunteered to investigate. Reaching in, I could feel the handle of what was a sword. As I grasped it and pulled it out, I could feel a humming and what could only be described as a sense of contentment. The feeling was very strange, as it seemed to be coming from the sword. I’m still not sure what to make of it, but I have a feeling that this blade may be important, (a sign from Thor?) so I shall look after it to the best of my ability. Looking at the blade, we noticed some writing. It read “Broad and wide the path to nowhere; thin and narrow the way to true riches. Unravel the riddle the riches to win.” Was this a message on how to live? Turns out it was a clue on how to get into The Rock, as the narrow side was an illusionary wall which we found thanks to Kurin. How obvious these clues are when you know the answer. So, weapons drawn, we entered The Rock. More sorcery was happening here too. The room we entered was much bigger than it should have been! At the far end of the room, more than 300’ away, were statues of four Kings guarding 7 chests. Two Kings stood on each side of the chests, crowns gleaming in the light. The chest on the furthest left was a valuable looking thing, covered in gems, surely this was the chest with the “secret” hidden in it. The chests decreased in value down to a simple wooden thing at the end. Gripping our weapons tighter, we strode down the hall toward the chests looking for danger. We found danger, but not from any creatures. The statues of the Kings started to move! They drew weapons and started a slow advance toward us. Thinking that this was a good time to test out Thor’s gift, I moved toward a statue. The statue seemed to be made of granite and had lava for blood as a bit leaked out after a bolt from Sven’s crossbow chipped it. The statue swung it’s mace at me, but I ducked and landed a blow to it’s side, unfortunately it wasn’t hard enough and harmlessly bounced off. I’m not really sure what happened next as a lot of things went horribly wrong. The statue, having dropped it’s mace was trying to blast me with lava from it’s finger-tips. This proved quite deadly as I was enveloped in flame and I collapsed in pain. I am told that the blast was made more effective by a miss-timed throw of oil from Azimi. She had been trying to make the statue unsteady on it’s feet by throwing oil under it, unfortunately one of those throws got me at the same time I was blasted by lava. Whoosh! Up in flames I went. I must have blacked out for a few seconds, as when I awoke, the statue had moved to attack Sven. Seeing my friend in danger, I got up and attacked. I should have been in more pain than I was, but my wounds seemed to be healing all by themselves! I can only assume that Thor was watching over me. Unlike poor Thorsgrim. When the battle had finished we rushed to our fallen comrade but there was nothing that we could do. He was beyond Azimi’s healing ability, his life was in Thor’s hands now. With heavy hearts, we got back to finding the secret of The Rock. I felt that we should have taken the contents of all the chests as we deserved it after such a tough journey here and the deadly battle with the statues. Surely Ravenholm could use the treasure. But both Kurin and Azimi counselled caution. They said to remember Arkayz’s warning about “all that glitters is not gold”, and I have to admit they made a lot of sense. Still, imagine what we could have done with all 7 chests… So heading the warning we opened the least looking wooden chest and we were not disappointed. Inside was more money and jewellery than I think I’ve ever seen in my entire life, more than enough (I hope) to help Ravenholm through the winter and ease it’s troubles. There was also some chainmail armour, a shield, some potions a rope and some books. Azimi said to take these as they could be enchanted. There was also a talisman with the letter “T” emblazoned on it. When we picked it up a portal opened in the middle of the chamber through which we could see Arkayz’s Manor. Will we never be rid of sorcery? Still, at least we didn’t have to travel all the way back before giving Thorsgrim his deserved farewell. The talisman is part of the secret that Arkayz wanted. There is some history between his family and the city of Tuma to the north. Maybe there is something there that we can explore. Hopefully Azimi can find something in those books of hers. Asking Arkayz about an appropriate place for Thorsgrim’s farewell, he said rather cryptically that if the Valkyries didn’t come for the departed after a whole day, then possibly, depending on our hearts desire, the departed wont depart. Does that mean Thorsgrim might not be dead? I sit here by his bed-side, rather selfishly hoping that Thor has more for him to do in this world…
11th Felmont, Day 86
This has been a glorious day indeed! Thorsgrim has returned to us! It seems that Thor is not finished with him yet. In fact, he seems more holy than he used to be. Thorsgrim can now call upon the power of Thor and cast holy magics. I hope this helps him see that Thor hasn’t forgotten him and still wants him for some purpose. Thorsgrim had been a little down before this, thinking that he had failed Thor somehow so I hope that instead of seeing this revival as a rejection, that he sees it as a renewal.
Azimi has been using her magics to find out about some of the items we had found at The Rock. She wanted to investigate my sword as she was puzzled by my miraculous healing after the battle. I told her that it was Thor looking after me and nothing to do with the sword, I didn’t really want to give the blade away even for a few minutes. But she insisted, so I relented. But when she grasped the sword to cast her spell, there was a jolt of energy and her hands were burnt. Needless to add, she dropped the blade and I quickly scooped it up vowing not to let anyone touch it, as obviously Thor wants me to have it.
Arkayz has offered for us to stay a few days to recuperate, so we will do that. Now that Thorsgrim has been returned to us, the trip home will be a much happier one.