From the Diaries of Valino El-Dallomati
The 28th day of Eleasias in the Year of the Ruins Reborn.

With a dozen buildings now standing, and solid stone towers at the west gate, this place is feeling more and more like a real town. The decision has been made to make an east gate as well. A low simple bridge will cross the moat at the east edge of the town, with a trail leading down to the lakes’ edge. There is already a good worn trail building up around the town, mostly having been trodden in by the Priests going up to the Crypts to tend to the old tombs.

Though it is very well known that I totally object to it, houses are being constructed outside the stockade. It is much too soon. But the council has declared that if folk are willing to take the risk they can do so. They hope it will lead to the whole area around the moat being utilised and a second stockade being built around these buildings. That is all well and good, but I feel we should only do that once there is no further room inside the moat.

I have secured the area to the east of town, near where the eastern entrance way will be, as a training area. Here we will place combat dummies and archery targets. All the townsfolk agree they should all have at least a basic ability to wield a sword or shoot arrows and I am delighted that they are almost all keen to learn.

There are notable exceptions of course, Skillet for example, but what difference he could make even if we were attacked and he could wave a sword with any competence is beyond me. Still, he would do well to take note of Lowberry Shortshanks, the smallest member of the Guard by some way. I have been impressed with Shortshanks, having originally had reservations about how much use a member of the largely worthless Smallfolk could be in the Guard.

A number of large tents are up in the eastern area and the guards seem more than happy to practically live out of these, even though they will all have at least a room in a house like everyone in the village. A whole house has been assigned to me. Though flattered, I have no real intention of using it a great deal. A single room is all I require. I am more at home in my tent out with the other guards than sat at a desk by a hearth.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a roaring fire as much as the next man, but it has been months since I have had to raise my war mace or halberd in anger, and I am almost wanting a horde of Goblinkin to attack. Sitting in a military tent at least gives me the vague idea that I am still a War Priest. Sparring with other fighters, and training the townsfolk how to fight as a basic unit is no substitute for a pitched battle.

The structure of the Guard is taking shape. Bearing in mind that all members are virtually volunteers. Yes, they will get free accomodation and food, but they are all doing this because they want to, and though Barghest holds the rank of Captain, and I that of Sergeant, they are pretty meaningless titles out here. Still we maintain good discipline as if in a regular army.

I now have three people working in a more senior capacity. Beloin Thunderthimble, a member of the Stoutfolk who sports a mohawk; Jason Henrikson, who since arriving has proved exceptionally capable; and Helener Tudor, a raven-haired, tattooed young woman who keeps very much to herself, when not acting in an official capacity. When she is she is the total opposite. Using her mouth and sword in equal measure. She seems to require to prove herself to herself at every available oppotunity, challenging all other members of the guard to sparring matches. As this keeps people sharp, I have no objections.

It has been a very busy time. We had a great Midsummer’s Festival in the centre of the town. Despite the fact that The Guiding Fire is well overdue spirits have remained high. However, it did not last. Two youngsters, Brand and Fortune, went missing after the celebrations. Fortunately they were quickly found, and along with them a strange circle of stone.

I spent many days hacking though wicked vines and undergrowth to clear the circle, vines that seemed to grow back as if under a spell of haste. But once cleared we happened upon an old chest. Within it we came upon a book, well kept and protected in oiled rags it was. Beltak has the book now, I think it is related to that strange old man. Rusterslan or Rasterabang or some other odd name. This man is not from the Islands, by all accounts he was already here. I am not so sure. Not that he was not already here, that much is clear, but it is more likely he travelled across alone from the Islands some years ago. I’m told he is quite mad. Beltak, however, seems to think he is significant. In any case, I have a Guard go past the coast every few days where his abode is, just to keep an eye on him from a distance.

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