After a week of waiting Deige has finally assembled the adventurers she thinks would be most compatible and capable to accompany me to find Raddinal… or in their case to investigate the Burning Sage. I read the report she gave on each of them, and admit I am a bit surprised; it seems there isn’t a human among them. I’m not sure if this is because of me being a non-human myself or if these were the strongest among the townsfolk who applied. Likely it is the latter for the Baroness doesn’t seem to be one to take tender feelings into account; she is much more utilitarian.
We have Gracevyre, an elven druid. She must be a wild elf, as I was under the impression they were more modest, however she has the silent reserve I thought the woodland folk would have. I trust she will be a capable companion.
I worry a bit about Fruben, the halfling seems to fit some stereotypes that are not very condusive to a long trip of any kind, much less the exploration of difficult terrain and dangerous castles. Although his love of food and timid manner are cause for concern, I believe in giving chances to those who desire them. Besides, I doubt the Baroness would recruit an unworthy party.
Absylon appears human, although his dossier suggests he is a slightly different race known as an ‘Elan’ that is unfamiliar to me. He is quiet and reserved, although I believe the crystalline chain that wraps around his chest is some sort of weapon and it takes either a fool or a highly skilled individual to use such a thing. The look in his eyes makes me doubt that he’s a fool.
I don’t know of the strange Fey woodland race of Killoran other than the scant bit written here, but Jolokar seems a capable sort. He alone came fully prepared to leave at a moment’s notice. I am heartened by what must have been a prayer or benediction to Bahamut or a blessing from him when I was explaining my allegiance to the Dragon God.
The diminutive gnome Quoice should at very least be able to blend in or get away from trouble if need be. His woods lore should also be a good compliment to Gracevyre’s skills. His drinking gives me pause, for that amount of brandy in that small of a body seems incongruous. I noticed no signs of inebriation however, and it shouldn’t be a problem once we are on the trail in any case for he can’t possibly carry enough to last for more than a day or two, even if he carries no other rations.
The Baroness has kindly offered to outfit us with whatever we need. I have taken requisition requests only for food, and need nothing for myself to survive the rigors of the wilderness. Since the ones who know the wilds and the surrounding area far better than I have asked for nothing untoward I assume the area isn’t anything all too unusual.
In spite of my slight feeling of foreboding, I must remind myself that this is merely an investigative trip. If there was any doubt of the safety of such a great wizard as The Burning Sage Orestain I am certain that the Baroness would dispatch a far larger force.
Thankfully, the smaller of our party moves as slowly as I do in my full armor. I will not be an impediment to our progress due to my insistence on wearing it… other than the ten minutes it takes me to don it in the morning that is.
We are finally out of the forest and either we are exceedingly lucky or our scouts are very top notch because we encountered no trouble at all. Of course none of them mentioned even seeing any of the rumored Troglodyte hordes… perhaps the Baroness has finally beaten them into submission.
The mountain region seems to me to be more foreboding, but perhaps it’s just the lack of greenery. Forests are such pleasant places, even if they can be dangerous at times.I begin to believe it truly is my reliance on the skills of our scouts that has allowed this to happen. I don’t even need to issue the orders I was afraid I might be required to issue… they know their work and simply set to it. Being city bred it is a relief to me; I have brought myself through some difficult terrain, however I’m not certain I’d be able to do the same with an entire group without help.
In any event, we reached the gates of the Obsidian keep without any trouble. As we approached the final rise I could see the keep itself seemed to be quite literally in the center of an active lava flow. The others didn’t express much more than a passing concern about the environment though. I offered to pause and change spells for more protective based ones that we could more easily endure the extreme temperatures but when my companions seemed nonplussed I decided they must have their own protections and we pressed forward.
The door itself was made of something called ‘electric obsidian’ which seems to take some of the heat of the volcano and convert it into electricity. An attempt to open the doors by hand earned me a sharp shock; thankfully my body protects me against mild electrical currents and I was not harmed.
The door opened smoothly when I presented the key the Baroness had given me. She said it only had one use, but perhaps I can get it recharged for her. The foyer had obviously not been used for some time. According to the log book, the last party to enter came eight years ago; obviously Orestain comes and goes by other, likely arcane, means.
It appears the Keep is largely abandoned, although we did encounter some… well I’m not certain what race they are, but they appear to be some kind of Dwarven race. Their leader is named Gorblam, he informs us that his people have been trapped here for some time.
More disturbingly, it seems my brother’s mysterious benefactor is indeed not benevolent, or even human. She is named Bruuhl and is the offspring of the green dragon Skuthosiin who was slain by Orestain and a Troglodyte sorceress… who apparently is the other ‘dragon’ Orestain slew. Whether he perpetuated the myth of killing two dragons or simply allowed it to thrive, it is clear that everything we thought we knew about the Burning Sage might not be gospel truth.
Gorblam claims my brother is also directly responsible for the fall of the Sage… that he interrupted some great summoning ritual and threw half the Keep into the pillar of gray flame. In the wake of the failed experiment, the foul Necromancer Bruuhl invaded this side of the Keep and has taken up residence along with many undead slaves.
Others have expressed an interest in visiting a sphinx that the Sage often consulted with, but I seek only the destruction of the Undead scum and to free my brother from whatever folly has resulted from his foolishness. First the undead. Then I will free Raddinal.