I have made a grave mistake. We came north with such high hopes, Effu and I. We two together were going to conquer the world and make a fortune doing it. “Opportunities abound in the north,” someone said. Who said it? I cannot remember. It doesn’t matter. They lied.
All I have encountered in the north is death.
Effu is dead.
Ai, I can barely believe it! Such a pointless death. We were trying to cross the river a few leagues upstream of the ford, trying for the element of surprise, but it turned out to be the territory of a minotaur.
Madon, the boy from the village, is dead too. He and Effu attempted to cross the river first on a raft we’d made, but it collapsed beneath them in a freak collision with river flotsam, dumping all their weapons and armour and gear straight to the bottom of the river.
They might have stood a chance against a minotaur had they possessed their weapons and armour, and had they staggered out of the river at the same place as each other. As it was, we could only watch helplessly from the far bank as the minotaur swung its great axe, first at Madon, then at Effu a few hundred metres upstream.
They didn’t have a chance. Both fell almost immediately. And we could do nothing to help them.
She was my friend and always had my back when it counted. I have failed her.
I did avenge her. Calwyn, who hides his nature well (but not well enough), snared the creature in a web of sleep. I crossed the river and, with a mighty roar of fury and grief, stabbed the minotaur through the heart.
The others would not cross, however, and reluctantly I returned to them, recognising the folly of searching alone for the corpses of our companions. We decided to return south to the ford.
Yet now, a few days later, we must finally abandon the search for their bodies. I thought it likely the minotaur would be solitary as most are, but we are once again close to the area Effu and Madon perished and we have encountered another. It has made its sentiments about our intended intrusion very clear.
The others do not wish to risk their lives, even to make sure the souls of our companions are conveyed to the afterlife. Not even the blockhead Sir Robin and his irksome sidekick, Sparrow, who might have been expected to mourn Madon at least.
Sir Robin and Sparrow
Sir Robin and Sparrow intercepted us as we planned to cross the ford. They are boys from one of the plains villages, just like Madon was, and I fear they will be killed just as swiftly.
Sir Robin is stupid as they come, but his sword looks impressive. (I am yet to see him wield it.) As for Sparrow… I do not think I have ever taken quite such a strong dislike to anyone.
They claim to seek treasure. They do not care that I have lost my best friend. I believe that obnoxious Sparrow might have hinted it didn’t matter since she was from the south. I am not sure how I did not strangle him. They do not even seem to care about Madon, who was one of them.
Bah, I dislike them both. And now I’m stuck here on my own in the north among the barbarians. Oh, Effu, how could you do this to me?
Demolition before dawn, and a dire wolverine
My only solace has been our demolition in the dark ours before dawn of a band of orcs and an ogre, headed for Madon’s village. Since Madon’s demise, we dare not return there, but nor could we allow them to be attacked unawares.
We were only three — Calwyn, Alix and I. It was before we met the new boys and crossed the river to where we are now. I spotted the orcs while I was on night watch and we followed them into the gloom. With the advantage of surprise and Calwyn’s night vision spell (that young man is decidedly useful), we defeated them swiftly and silently.
Effu, that was for you.
I was less happy about defeating the dire wolverine we encountered in the cave on the far side of the river. This was the same cave we had cleared several days previously, but the humanoids had not returned, perhaps for fear of the dire wolverine. It attacked us, alas, and we killed it. May Emrys keep its soul.
The cave proved excellent shelter against the snow and hail and incessant rain we’d been enduring — have I mentioned it rained for about five days straight? We were wet and cold and tired and oh so heartsore. Although we dared not light a fire, at least we had shelter.
Finally the weather cleared and we headed north, upriver. The terrain is difficult, but, aside from searching for our comrades’ corpses (at least I was doing so), we also intend to try to approach the humanoid fortification from an angle they will not anticipate.
At least that’s the plan. Tomorrow we will head inland, I dare say. The minotaur has chased us off and our only options now are to return downriver or head up into the hills to the west…
Yep. Another session and two more dead. We’re not having a good run. Kae is now the only southerner in this band and there’s some intra-party conflict going on… Not to mention the fact she’s grieving the loss of her friend and feeling very alone and vulnerable. Fun times.
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