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Browsing Posts in Campaign Logs

More water damage has obscured many of the entries beyond, including the one that modern scholars have spent the most time attempting to reconstruct – the encounter in Ferrier Keep that was later referenced in several other places by second or thirdhand reporters, but has never been fully described by any with firsthand knowledge. The damage to Auditore’s journal is not unexpected, given how the intact pages begin.

filthy sewers. Scouted forward with Dane & Talon. Stumbled upon Red Soldier, but the two felled him quickly. At Lord Wallace’s instruction [Editor Note: This reference is to Malcolm I, who is recorded as to having traveled with a man known only as Whitecloak; this is generally believed to be Gabriel Auditore and this historical document is confirmation of this theory], we pressed on where we entered a wide section of the tunnels. My memory here is sketchy, though I recall another of the Red Soldiers appearing and I springing forward to delay him so as to protect the archers. The skirmish passed quickly, even though more Reds appeared, and my contribution was negligible. One of the Reds fell to my blade and Talon’s arrows and I recall hearing Rainald’s warcry moments before a Leader emerged from the darkness, but a second of the monsters won through my defenses and thrust his weapon into my body. Had it not been for Brother Mendel and the Lord, I fear I would have fallen.

I woke elsewhere, in a shadowed room that my compatriots said was reached via hole in the sewer floor magically erected by the Leader before he was slain. My grievous injury was mostly healed, though they burned and I fear infection. Roughly chiseled stone stairs beckoned and, once we were rested, we stepped toward them.

Emerged from the room and into an alien vista. Architecture is completely foreign, with scribbles that could be writing though none I have seen. Upon looking back we discovered it to be little more than a doorway in the rock.

The sight we beheld was both terrifying and magnificent: Two moons hung low in the sky that was otherwise normal in appearance. A great canyon, with trees that look to be upside-down, with branches growing into the ground rather than upward toward the sky, stretched out before us. The foliage was unfamiliar – the leaves I’ve never seen, nor has Dane or Talon. A great river cut through the canyon, and in the far distance was a boat, which we set out toward. Bro. Mendel & Magnifico exclaimed over “restored mana levels” though I knew not what they meant. Experienced a lightness of step that I had never before felt.

Near dusk, Dane & Talon kill a blue, four-legged beast that tastes funny. We camp now, and mean to press on upon the morrow.

Sleep beckons now, though my wound burns. I pray that this land is not an eternal Purgatory.

Several pages from this journal have been destroyed by water damage and are illegible. It resumes in mid-sentence, with no indication of the date or the context although modern researchers have narrowed the date down to one of three in the year 2005 based on the reference to a sandstorm that wiped out Bordertown.

-damage is beyond the scope of anything I have witnessed before. Entire buildings have vanished, swallowed up by the sands, and the locals wandered the streets with wide, terrified eyes. Mendel did what he could to succor them though it was for naught as a small band of riders entered led by a captain named Benwell. They bore a strange story, of being overwhelmed by great insects in the desert commanded by a magic-using devilspawn. Their injuries were dire and the fear in their eyes too clear to be a lie and it was decided to abandon Bordertown, to retreat to Wallace. Our aid in convincing the citzenry was needed but we knew it would not be enough – the Enemy was too close and would reach the outskirts before the commonfolk could flee. A plan was agreed upon: we would remain behind with the Thunder to hold off the creatures and sell ourselves to save who could escape. I thought it a good plan, one worthy of us, and volunteered to scout our foes.

Atop Cometes I rode forth into the desert, skirting the escarpments and staying out of sight. The Enemy approached on swift legs, marching with military precision. Tall they were, a hand and a half greater than even Rainald, and dark scarlet in color, with broad wings and long glaives. Their captain floated at their back though he was gray and seemed to have no wings. None looked like the two creatures we fought in the desert. I counted eighteen of the red ones, though another pair came was revealed to me when I sought to return to the town. Neither of these scouts saw my passage.

In Bordertown I reported to Benwell. Thunder he may be but I thought him to be timid and unmanned by his flight from the creatures so it was to Rainald that I deferred to in terms of military strategy. It was decided that our band would move forward and ambush the scouts in the hopes that it would slow the full force. One of the Thunder accompanied us, a boy by the name of Radskyrta.

The ambush was successful though it was a close thing. I struck from concealment at one of the red creatures, but its hide turned my father’s sword aside and it grasped me with strong arms. God was with me as I was able to plunge a dagger into the beast’s eye, felling it. The other Rainald and Radskyrta charged, but they were laden down with mail so I was able to reach it before they much to my detriment as its glaive cut deeply into my flesh. It felled Radskyrta and Mendel disarmed it with a grace I had not expected from such a portly priest. Rainald then smote it with a blow the slew it outright. Again Mendel proved his worth by recalling Radskyrta from the brink of death and washing away my injuries with magic. Truly, God is good.

Back to Bordertown we went where Benwell declared his intent to abandon our charge and follow the commoners to Wallace. Again we volunteered to remain upon the flank to observe and ensure that the foul creatures would take no more lives. I suspect that our bravery surprised Benwell – for were we not mere mercenaries? – but it served a valuable purpose. The creatures entered Bordertown and ransacked it, seemingly searching for victims. Their foul leader then wove some great magicks that caused many fires before creating some sort of portal that the beasts used to depart. I rode to Benwell to advise him of this, then returned to my companions and suggested we retrieve the bodies of the two we slew for further study.

Night began to fall before we could reach Wallace so it was decided we would set camp and finish our journey upon the morrow. And what will that day bring us I cannot help but to wonder…

It is with considerable trepidation that I put quill to ink in a meager attempt to record my thoughts and fears. By no stretch am I a great scholar nor a wordsmith – I am many things: a bladesman, a rogue, a thief, a murderer, a liar, a Lost Soul likely damned to burn for my sins of which there are many. Of the Lord’s Commandments, I have violated all but two – never have I sought a God other than the Almighty, nor have I made false idols in His Name. All the rest have I broken and none do I regret more than my sundering of the Fifth.

But my thoughts wander astray and leadeth me into temptation. Who am I? I am Gabriel, of the fallen House Auditore, late of Crane and of Megalos. And, like my father before me, and his father, I was an Assassin.

I fear not these words falling into false hands, for I compose this using the codes and cyphers taught to me by my father, who learned from his father, and so on, back to the beginning. If you have the skill to break these cyphers, then I congratulate you and pray that I am already dead.

But no matter. I fell from Grace long ago, and now seek my path as that of a common mercenary, selling my blade to those who can afford it and seeking adventure where I should seek forgiveness. I am at peace with the Lord’s plan – would he save me from the cruel fate that fell upon my House if he did not have a Plan? He placed my feet upon this Path and I shall stride forth, eager to serve as he directs and be his blade where he needs me. The Lord knows I am a sinner – perhaps it is a sinner and not an upright man that he requires.

Of late, I travel with three – a northerner named Rainald who is strong of arm and of heart; a Franciscan named Mendel who is unlike any priest I have had the misfortune of dealing with; and an archer known as Talon, who is hunted for a crime he did not commit. An assassin – I know not if this man possessed True Training or no – slew the duke of Tacitus, and Talon is now hunted for this crime. Though this murderer – I hesitate to call him an Assassin – was later slain, my curiosity, ever my bane, has kept me at Talon’s side – if the murderer was truly trained in the Art as I was, then those he called Master must invariably move against any they consider threats. I had believed that the conspiracy that robbed me of my House was slain by my actions but now I wonder if it was wider than I feared.

But again I digress. I blame these meanderings upon poor sleep. My dreams have been dark of late, ever since the Great Desert. My companions and I ventured deep into its heart with a scholar and met what I can only call demons. The scholar lies in a deep, unnatural slumber and I wonder if ere he shall wake.

Tonight we sleep here in Bordertown. It is an ugly place with no grace or beauty. Men come here with dreams of glory and venture forth to die with naught but those dreams. If e’er I must enter that desert again, it will be too soon. Rather would I spend interminable weeks listening to theologians debate trivial points of the Bible than face one of those sand demons again.

But I tire and my hand weakens for I am unaccustomed to such scribe work.

What a wild week it has been. We are back in Bordertown and I finally have some time to write. It has not been a good week. We started out into the desert six days ago, with our small party joined by Franklin, our guide, and Elijah a fat brute of a man from Wallace. Rainald and Elijah never seemed to get along well, like everything was a competition, but I guess that won’t be a problem anymore. Elijah is another victim of the desert and its creatures.

We travelled at night and the first two days we made a good pace with little to trouble us. Dixon and Elijah we’re using a little more than their daily share of rations, but it was manageable.  On the second night we caught glimpse of a camp ahead. Gabriel and I moved forward to investigate, but the camp was deserted, though we now know why. The reptile men in that camp had fallen victim to the same beasts that took Elijah. They are like nothing I have ever see before, and god willing, I hope I don’t encounter them again. And their smell, it’s beyond words. At least I know they can be killed.

Two of these creatures followed us for the next day, always watching at a distance. It reminded me of the way vultures would follow and wait for a wounded animal to succumb to the desert. When we set camp at the end of that days travel, these desert demons as Rainald called them, came closer than they have before. Instinct told me they were done waiting, but before they could react Elijah charged away from the camp at one of them. The stupid fool. It was over in seconds and his body was hauled away. Damn they are fast.

Dixon despite all his schooling, obviously thought Elijah’s rash action was the right thing to do, and he to fled the camp. Dixon, just like Elijah was attacked and dragged off. The creature had some distance to run before it would have any cover so arrow after arrow I loosed at this desert demon. I don’t know if it was luck or just my shear persistence, but the beast dropped from an arrow that struck it in an eye which grew from the its tail. I continued to loose arrows until it was still. Gabriel charged out to check on Dixon, while Rainald helped me take the beast’s head as a trophy. I don’t know what magic spawned them, but when it had died it’s body turned to stone and its eyes to gems. Using whatever magic Brother Mendel possesses, he was able to bring Dixon back to the living.

Dixon has remained unconscious the entire time back to Bordertown, and we have all been plagued by the same nightmare. I think it may be this beast head as it hums constantly and Brother Mendel has divined it to be of some magical nature. I’m going to try sell it.

I write this from a crude shelter on the outskirts of Wallace. I’m wet, cold and filled with a deep disrespect for Hunters of Elohar. It turns my stomach when I think that I once held these people in high regard, when in truth they are cowardly murders. Bernardus is dead, his throat cut while he was sleeping.

The celebrations in Wallace indeed lived up to everything I had been told. Even after the clouds darkened and the rain set in, the townsfolk’s spirits were still high. I’ll add that the rain had me a little nervous, there was something unusual about it. The way it formed, its intensity especially at this time of year. I don’t know, it just didn’t seem right.

Like everyone else, Rainald, Myself, and two new friends, Brother Mendel and Gabriel, continued the festivities indoors. Brother Mendel’s heart is in the right place, and seems a good man of God. Gabriel, is a bit of a mystery but seems to be a man of some skill and training.

As fortune would have it, an odd man by the name of Dixon Morello approached me looking for some people that would be willing to escort him into the Great Desert on an expedition to investigate something. I’m still at a loss as to what he was going to do, but he was offering to pay four gold a day, and seemed good for it. We’ll meet him in the morning, let’s see what comes of it.

Brother Mendel made mention that he might be able to offer some assistance in Bernardus’ recover, so as the night drew to a close we started the trek to the cottage. The rain was heavy and still has not eased. Things were not right at home, the old lady always sleeps with a candle on, and Bernardus would normally be awake at this time, but both houses were dark.

Gabriel and I went cautiously to investigate, and that’s when we found Bernardus had been killed. Something reminded me of old father Ustus back in Tacitus, preaching that God has a plan for us all. I wouldn’t say I liked Bernardus a great deal, as he had always been difficult, but he deserved better than this. Was that God’s plan for him?

All things have been quiet for a little while. Bernardus is still not well and his recovery is unusually slow. The others from Tacitus have left Wallace for lands elsewhere, and it’s probably for the best that there was no mention of where they would go. I, on the other hand will stay here, at least until Bernardus is well. Besides, Wallace is a nice place and I’ve managed to get some good steady work through the Armsman’s Guild.

Raids into the desert have been frequent, and I’ve managed to learn many desert survival tricks from some of the old hands. The Great Desert is an unforgiving place, and it will claim any man who ventures there unprepared. Despite this, it a bares a natural beauty I’ve not seen anywhere, and sadly my sketches will never capture the colours of this landscape.

Of the other’s in the employ of the Armsman’s Guild, one in particular stands out. Rainald, a Northman with a stature like that of a dwarf in the body of a man. Perhaps he has been lying to me and is just an overgrown dwarf. He’s a capable warrior and I do well to call him friend.

The Wallace harvest celebrations are in a few days, the townsfolk are excited and I’m told everyone will be in town for the festivities. It will be interesting.