The Earth-Fire Forge – The Isle of the Mists
From the Private Annals of the Church of Pelor.
Transcribed by Beltak, Scribe to His Radiant Servant, Tremak the Plush.
The 14th Day of Ches in the Year of the Sudden Journey.
After months of steady progress of the town, and the annals being recorded every tenday or so, I now find myself scribing every night by our ever decreasing number of candles and limited ink. The adventurers play their part in this flurry of activity, with barely an hour passing without incident that it is in our best interests to record. Only this morning two of the adventurers set out to the isle in the middle of the lake of mists and found something more than worthy of our records.
Yet again one of their number, Tradden, was keen to relay the tale to me, so that I could scribe.
I’m uncertain as to the party’s reasons for heading towards the isle, and the ruined tower that lays upon it. Perhaps it was just intrigue about the lands around us, or perhaps it was to search out more information. One of their number, the elven cleric of Melora, Celestia, had been intrigued by the book that had been found on the isle by Valino and his men before the Feast of the Moon. Although we have so far been unable to translate it, I feel it may be of value, and perhaps she did also, and sought out further texts.
Whatever their reasons, two of the party struck out for the tower this morning, by foot, along the path to the boathouse. It is here where Tradden takes up the tale.
The sky was overcast with ominous clouds gathering as the pair, Khalin the dwarf and Tradden the warrior, headed toward the east gate. Checking their gear a last time, they nodded to the guards as they passed out and across the moat. Following the rough trail they wound their way to the south-east towards the boathouse.
They proceeded cautiously – wary of any goblin attack – but arrived at the boathouse within a half-hour without incident. The boathouse was barred and shuttered, with neither Aaron nor Fortune there for fear of the goblins.
In the early morning light the lake seemed dark and foreboding, small black waves cresting and crashing onto the rocky shoreline. A dull mist curling and roiling toward the shore from the centre drew shivers down Khalin’s neck.
Tied up, next to a small wooden jetty, was a large row-boat with two carefully stowed oars – a large fishing net carefully folded in the bottom. The pair cast the boat into the waters and began to row towards the isle. Tradden assures me that his piloting skills are second to none, and soon they were into the mists of the waters, well on their way to the isle, some half-mile from the shore.
Tradden’s bearings were sound, and his practised rowing action soon had them in sight of the isle – or at least they assumed it was the isle – through the mist. At first all that could be seen were jagged, wet rocks, but having skirted around the coastline for a few minutes they found a little alcove, which whilst rocky, had a gentle slope fit to bring in the boat. Before long, they felt a comforting ‘crunch’ as the boat touched up on the pebbled shore.
The pair remained motionless in the row-boat for a few moments, listening for any noises penetrating the mist. Then, slowly enough not to rock the boat, they both clambered out and tried to find their bearings. The mists were thick here, swirling to and fro, and seeing much beyond twenty feet or so was difficult.
The ground was firm, so at least that didn’t seem a problem – it rose away from the water on a shallow incline. After checking that the boat was secure the pair moved up the slope cautiously. Within a few yards they came across grasses and trees growing, rather than just shale and rock. Pushing their way past the trees they came into a small opening where through the mists they could see what appeared to be the ruins of a tower.
As Tradden turned to face Khalin to discuss how to proceed, the pair heard a low droning noise from somewhere within the mists. Before they had much time to prepare two creatures flew towards them rapidly!
The first creature flew towards Tradden, its four bat-like wings flapping incessantly. A keen droning issued from its mouth below a sharp and protruding nose. It swept up towards Tradden and darted straight at him trying to grab the young fighter in strange tiny claws and bite at his exposed flesh.
The bite struck home, piercing Tradden’s skin and drawing blood. Claws dug into his clothing as the smell of blood cast about on the air. Latched on with its bite, the stirge continued to draw blood from Tradden’s wound, weakening the fighter. However, he managed to strike back, his arms essentially free and the underbelly of the creature an obvious target. With a short, sharp stab he punctured the creature’s belly with his short sword, drawing hot blood.
Khalin the joined in the action, taking a swipe at the creature with his warhammer, hoping to knock it away from his companion. As the hammer struck the side of the creature it let go of Tradden and turned to attack the dwarf, its claws grasping his beard, but Tradden took the opportunity to strike at the creature’s back and it fell motionless to the floor.
Another one of the creatures, a stirge if I have gauged correctly, flew around the pair, trying to dart in and bite. However, the two companions gathered their energies and fell into a defensive formation, striking out when they had chance. In time, the second stirge went the same way as the first – sliced in half, its bloated abdomen spilling blood over the sparse grass, the edge of each of the two halves gleaming with the frosty residue left by the fighter’s weapon.
Tradden cleaned his weapons of ichor and sticky blood and re-sheathed them on his back, their work done. He sat on a nearby rock and tended to his wounds – his neck was going to hurt for a while given the vicious bite marks from the sharp proboscis of the flying thing, but the other scrapes and cuts would be fine given a bit of rest.
The pair then headed off towards the crumbling tower, Tradden in the lead with Khalin close behind. The mists began to thin out a little as they approached the base of the ruin; Khalin noticing that here and there were wisps of the mist that rose up from the ground in little bursts.
Upon closer examination the dwarf exclaimed the mist to be steam – hot and smelling faintly of rotten eggs. He believed the source to be an earth-fire, deep below in the ground, heating the water of the lake in places and causing the mists.
There seemed little time to speculate and examine, however, as Tradden ushered Khalin towards the tower.