Pathfinder's Rise of the Rolemaster

To the River
Journal of Markuss Dancis

Mirtul, 1st Dilundi, 14th Year of his Lordship Kresimir, Kotor Barony;
We subdued the bandits after a vigorous exertion. Despite our many wounds and their even more wounds, only one of them died and none of us. Thanks be to God! We bound them all, wounded and less wounded and took rest in their own camp. It was well accoutred for a wilderness camp and we found a great wealth of furs, skins and pelts, likely all plundered from local inhabitants, as well as a quantity of drink and coin, also stolen no doubt.
I have spoken with their chief, a Mannishwyn named Samga who appeared to be of either Ugrian or Samoyed descent. She possessed a remarkable constitution and great skill with her axes and a lack of ability to speak civilly. She was so persistently foul when I sat with her after she awoke that I was compelled to gag her and return her bound to her fellows.
I had a more fruitful conversation with one of the others, a young Yrchishmin of Kamalar descent named Meuakos. From him I learned that we had already encountered all of the members of this bandit gang, but that they consider themselves a part of a larger bandit kingdom centered around a lake to the northeast. As this is the same general direction run by the Vardar River, I wonder if this lake is the source of the river. We will investigate this rumor when we have the opportunity.
I will allow our captives a nights rest and we will return to Lady Samaras’ Trading Post on the morrow.

Mirtul, 1st Miluteni, 14th Year of his Lordship Kresimir, Kotor Barony;
We have returned to the Trading Post and I held trials this morning on the bandits that we have captured. By their testimony it was confirmed that the woman named Samga was their leader. She did neither confess nor repent when given the opportunity, choosing instead to profane myself, those standing witness and those providing testimony. As an unrepentant thief and malefactor, I sentenced Samga to death by hanging to be carried out immediately through the use of a nearby limb and a horse.
The other defendants were repentant and pled for mercy. They have each been sentenced to servitude for a term of 4 years honest labor, overseen by myself, the Lady Samara or Koldo Bolibar or by an individual deputized to the purpose by one of the aforementioned. Food, clothing and housing will be provided for them or they will be provided for sufficient time and opportunity to obtain such things for themselves, for the duration of their servitude.
I am pleased with these sentences, as the 10 indentured servants will provide much needed labor for the work of refurbishment and establishment of the Trading Post as a business. With Master Bolibar and his 2 hired guards,Andoni Ibarra and Manus MacGlaisin, to oversee the work, the Lady Samaras and Master O’Glaisin will be able to accompany ourselves on our trips of exploration.
We depart for our first expedition 2 days hence, on 2nd Dominica.

Mirtul, 2nd Urosi, 14th Year of his Lordship Kresimir, Kotor Barony;
This land is rich with spring. We have travelled a good 40 miles in the previous 4 days, a pace made possible by our baggage pony, the stoic nature of Lady Samaras and the woodmastery of Silviu. Our course was initially north by northeast until we came upon the good Vardar River whereupon we turned to the east by northeast and followed its course upstream.
The woods are thick with many broadleaf great trees, bright green with new growth; oak, chestnut and walnut among them. In the open spaces, great caneberry brambles alternate with grassy pastures. We have seen trail of bear, wolf, great cats, dear, elk and wild boar. Small creatures and birds are abundant, as are flying bugs of all description.
As we approached the Vardar, the ground frequently became marshy and inconsistent. The trees grew taller and their branches created perpetual shadow beneath. The great river itself ran swift and cold and was well stocked with fish and waterfowl.
We came across evidence of some hunting bands of Border Hills folks, but have spied neither homestead nor settlement.

Mirtul, 2nd Casimiri, 14th Year of his Lordship Kresimir, Kotor Barony;
This noon we we had another sharp fight with those strange savage creatures we first met when we rescued Konstante Biterei, and Luukas was again wounded by them. Their numbers and the fierceness of their initial assault nearly overwhelmed us, but we proved to be their betters and escaped with no harm, save for poor Luukas who has no love lost for these savages.
We have finally met the first Border Hills folk on this venture, a troop of Elarkish tribesmen of Kamalar descent. They were of the Silent Mammoth tribe we were to discover eventually, but our encounter was not one of immediate camaraderie.
The tribesmen and women were initially quarrelsome with us and they were upset by our presence in a patch of winter radishes, a food source apparently critical to many Kamalar tribes of the Border Hills region in the spring months. Luukas was greatly interested in the winter radish, but a fight with the Silent Mammoth tribe was averted only through the efforts of Silviu, the sole individual capable of speaking their language.
It was during the crux of this dangerous standoff that we all were set upon by a mass of the savages, the Silent Mammoth as well as our own party. They sprang upon us from the cover of a small defile that they had used to approach near to our position before we became aware of them. Using my arts and my skills I was able to fend off 3 of the attackers until Silviu came to my aid. Silviu laid about himself manfully with his axe, eschewing the use of his bow due to the suddenness of the enemies onset. He and his great wolf friend handled 2 attackers of their own before lending assistance to me. The Lady Samaras cast her powers upon them and put one of the savages into a magical slumber, but was forced to defend herself from the assaults of another until Master O’Glaisen was able to come to her aid.
Alas, Luukas is a worthy companion and a man amongst those learned in the ways of healing and plants and he does not lack for bravery, but he is no great warrior and was wounded twice by the dagger of his assailant. One he took in the shoulder and the other took his ear. The wound looked disfiguring, but Luukas believes there will be only a scar and an unusual angle to the ear once it is healed.

Mirtul, 2nd Miluteni, 14th Year of his Lordship Kresimir, Kotor Barony;
This evening we have camped amongst an outcropping of rocks with a stream running nearby in a cascade. We happened upon a wild pig, trapped by a foot snare, and thereby found ourselves dinner. Silviu discovered a wolf trap nearby, several covered pit deer traps as well and many more snares. He recovered several animal carcasses and was able to free a couple of uninjured or lightly injured animals. Sometimes I do wonder about his softness for beastkind and how such a quality finds space in the heart of a hunter such as he. Nevertheless, we will be busy for tomorrow with the skinning and preparing of the hides and meat of the dead animals.
It has been three days since Luukas took his wounds and he is recovering well with no sign of infection.

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Hunting Thieves
Journal of Silviu Cojocaru

Cuwalen 5, The Claw of Lightning, 14th Year of his Lordship Kresimir, Kotor Barony;
We stayed last night at a large farmstead. There were Mannish and Elarkish folk working together and a Yrchish family that shared the land, but worked somewhat separately with the herds and with hunting and other woodscraft. I almost felt at home. Lupescu was not as welcomed and her presence near the homestead caused some alarm among the herds and herdsmen, so I left the promised comfort of warm bed and meal and spent company amongst the herdsmen for the night to keep calm with the wolf about.
In the morning we were taken by one of the young Men of the homestead, Zan, nephew of Oleg who is their leader, to a ruined castle atop a hill several miles away. We were told that we have much in common with with some people we were to meet there.
The castle was more of a ruined hill top watchtower or fort, and as we approached a tall woman of striking appearance with dark brown skin came from within the gatekeep and greeted us. The woman’s name is Kalina Samaras and she has a companion named Ailean O’Glaisin, a warrior with flaming red hair. They have claimed this ruin with the intention of making it a business in the wilderness, a trading post with the passing caravans and the homesteaders and tribesmen of the Border Hills.
Lord Markuss immediately pledged our assistance when the Lady Samaras raised the topic of some recent difficulty they had from a group of bandits who are threatening them. Lady Samaras and Master O’Glaisin were most pleased and pledged their assistance to the execution of our charter in turn, once their business partner returns from a purchasing trip in Visegrad. In addition to the warrior’s skills in combat, the lady claims to possess skill in magic.

Cuwalen 6, The Claw of Lightning, 14th Year of his Lordship Kresimir, Kotor Barony;
The bandits returned on the day that they had told. It was kind of them to keep their schedule so that we knew when to expect them and could prepare. We set a simple plan to trap them. They expected to find Lady Samaras and Ailean in the fort, and so they waited for the bandits inside the gate, in a small courtyard. Lord Markuss and Luukas awaited behind a closed door within the guard room next to the gate. I secreted myself in the woods outside the fort with Lupescu near my side.
We were told of a bandit company more than a dozen in strength, but only 5 approached. All were mounted and one led a pack mule. Their arrogant confidence was our benefit. They called loudly at the gate and laughed when there was no response. They dismounted and 4 of them entered the fort, leaving 1 to hold the horses. I told Lupescu to remain where she was and began to approach silently, loading my bow.
I loosed my arrow and feathered my target once our trap was sprung on those within. Alas, my target had moved and my arrow struck only his ear, not his head as intended. He quickly took cover within the gate doorway. I gave Lupescu an order to attack, and she sprung from her spot as though I had loosed another arrow. The horses all fled at the approach of the wolf.
I was able to see within the fort a bandit plying his bow against those further within while Lord Markuss engaged another man who was protecting the bowman’s flank. I fired several arrows at the bowman to draw his attention, but despite glancing at me he stayed to his task until Lord Markuss was able to dispatch his foe and then struck down the bowman with a single thrust of his sword.
Lupescu routed out my original target and he attempted to flee. I brought short his flight with another arrow and he surrendered.
Within the courtyard, Ailean had engaged the other 2 bandits in combat and traded manly blows with them after being wounded by an arrow from the bowman. Lady Samaras assisted him with her magic, wounding one of the men and placing the other into a magical slumber. Ailean subdued the last foe and all was resolved.
Luukas tended and bound the wounds of Ailean and 2 of the bandits who were bleeding fairly. The bowman had received a most severe wound to his organs and he was beyond the aid of Luukas to save. He died and was buried by his companions the next morning. I attempted to find their horses as all had fled in the same direction, but their tracks were quickly lost.
Lord Markuss interrogated the prisoners and learned that the rest of their band had another camp a half days walk away along a well worn path, near a creek. Desiring to deal with the bandit problem completely, we learned of their numbers and defenses of the camp, a blind on each approach to the camp where a guard can keep watch on the path.
In the evening the looked for business partner, Koldo Bolibar, returned with a wagon heavily loaded and 2 men at arms. We depart in the morning to find the bandits in their camp.

Cuwalen 7, The Claw of Lightning, 14th Year of his Lordship Kresimir, Kotor Barony;
The path to the bandits camp was as described. We came upon it at midday and I was able to discern the location of the guard post nearest to us. We approached carefully to as close as 200’ from the camp; any closer and I feared that the clanking of Lord Markuss armor and Ailean’s shield would betray us to the guard.
I continued forward to the guard post and shot the Elarkish bandit there with an arrow. His shouts roused activity from the camp. True to their nature, the bandits were a rabble and charged to battle as such. Were they to assemble and attack en masse we may very well have been overwhelmed as they outnumbered us a goodly amount. As it was however, I could hear their chief ordering them to charge at one-by-one as they readied themselves.
I feathered several more, Lady Samaras placed 2 into an enchanted slumber, Ailean was able to over-match 3 of them. Their chief was a doughty and fierce warrior, fighting with an axe in each hand, and nearly had the best of Lord Markuss but for the worthy aid of Luukas who stuck the bandit chief from behind and provided a respite for Lord Markuss to take the victory.

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The Bandit’s Castle
Journal of Kalina Samaras

Ches, 3rd Casimiri, 14th year of his Lordship Kresimir, Kotor Barony;
The weather has turned, finally. More than a month it has been since we arrived at the Leviton Homestead and I can count on one hand the number of times I have glimpsed the sky, so persistent have the clouds been. Now, finally the snow has thinned and falls only every couple of days, mostly at night and the days are regularly warming enough to begin to melt the fresh falls and make some progress on the drifts pressed against buildings, fences and trees.
These last few days my companions and I have returned to the small hilltop castle that the bandits had made into their lair to collect the valuables we had stashed. Koldo, Andoni and Manus are to return to Visegrad with the wagon and 2 of the mules and the goods, mainly a large quantity of cloth and 3 fine tapestries from the east and a supply of religious items that were probably bound for Nesme, including a large bell, some incense, candles and musical instruments. Koldo will attempt to sell or redeem these goods to service our debt and purchase additional goods for trade to the homesteaders.
Ailean and myself will remain here in the Beastlands.

Tarsakh, 1st Dominica, 14th Year of his Lordship Kresimir, Kotor Barony;
It is the first day of Tarsakh, the month that the Leptona name The Flowering, and it seems an apt name as I see more and more evidence of life returning to the land and hills around us. Ailean and I have been quite busy in the time since the others left for Visegrad, cleaning the detritus and accumulations of years of abandonment out of the ruined castle. There was a fire and many of the rooms have collapsed walls and ceilings, but the outer wall and the main gate entry and adjoining guard rooms are sound as is the cellar space and dungeon.
With some work and carpentry I feel it will make a fine shop and center of commerce in this region.

Tarsakh, 2nd Miluteni, 14th Year of his Lordship Kresimir, Kotor Barony;
I have been walking and riding nearly non-stop for the last week, visiting as many of the homesteads and seasonal camps of the local Kamalar tribes as I could convince Jetei, son of Teleboge, to lead Ailean and myself to. We made many friends and shared many meals and even more drinks and I feel that the journey was well worthwhile. These are the people who will have to trust me to buy and sell goods at fair prices if my venture is to succeed.
On that note, we saw signs of the first caravan of the season out of Visegrad having passed by heading east into the Beastlands, bound for Nesme or perhaps beyond. I begin to expect the return of Koldo at any time.

Mirtul, 1st Martedi, 14th Year of his Lordship Kresimir, Kotor Barony;
We have survived a most unpleasant encounter with a local bandit gang today. Ailean and I were each caught unawares by the approach of a most foul mouthed woman and her men, numbering more than a dozen. Words and threats were exchanged, Ailean was his usual bold, good hearted and foolish self while defending my honor against the woman’s rude insinuations. We were in no position for a fight however and I am induced to take serious consideration of her demands, outrageous as they are.
She is expecting a payment for security, as she calls it, when she returns. And the payment she has demanded is either my casting crystals which she simply views as jewelry, or my castle for her to use as her base. She stated that she will return for her answer in 3 days time.

Mirtul, 1st Giovedi, 14th Year of his Lordship Kresimir, Kotor Barony;
Yenosh has answered my prayers and an ally has appeared in the moment of our need. Zan Kruhalk arrived this noon, leading 3 strangers to my door. Led by Lord Markuss Dancis, the youngest son of a nobleman in the valley, the other two men are commoners, Silviu Cojocaru, a woodsman and hunter, and Luukas Ruutel, learned in plants and the arts of healing. The men are holders of one of Baron Kresimir’s charters, the knowledge of which inspired in me this mad plan to build a business in the Beastlands. Their charter charges them to explore and tame the Border Hills north of the East Road.
I explained to them my purpose and goal of building a trade center to service the needs of those still making honest livings in the area and to profit from the travelling caravans. I also spoke of our current need for assistance in dealing with the woman Samga and her gang. I am pleased to write that it was with no hesitation that all three men proved their honor by agreeing to provide their aid in dealing with the bandits when they make their expected return tomorrow. In return Ailean and I have pledged to lend our skills and expertise to Lord Dancis in the execution of his charter upon the return of Koldo.

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Meetings with Friends
Journal of Luukas Ruutel

Arnaulen 8, The Flowering, 14th Year of his Lordship Kresimir, Kotor Barony;
We have been staying in a camp of Yrchish folk of the Kamalar peoples. This particular encampment is part of the Swift Deer tribe and we have been well sheltered in their rough built cabins.
We were brought here nigh on 2 ten days ago by the fur trader Konstante Biteri whom we met in the wilderness just south of the Vardar River. When we encountered him he was in much distress, being pursued by some creatures harboring ill intent. Lord Dancis chose to intervene and as I foolishly attempted to assist the battle against the creatures I received a wound in my leg which was most discomfiting. Mr Biteri repaid our aid by bringing us to this tribe and speaking well for us. He has some influence with the folk in this area it seems, as his word has seen us well looked after.
I have been housed with an elderly woman of the tribe who has seen to my needs with great attention. It seems less care has been afforded to my companions, as they slept outside and were rarely offered food by my host. Her skill with herbs and healing practices has suitably impressed me and my wound has healed nearly completely. I have been able to walk about with limited pain the last 3 days and I expect that in a few more I shall be free of all discomfort.

Cuwalen 2, The Claw of Lightning, 14th Year of his Lordship Kresimir, Kotor Barony;
We took our leave of the Swift Deer tribe this morning, and it is well that I healed as quickly as I did. They also are readying to leave their winter camp, where we stayed with them, to meet with the other bands of their tribe for their spring ceremonies.
Rather than continue along the course of the Vardar River, Master Cojocaru has led us on a southerly course. He was able to converse well with our hosts and made many friends and learned somewhat of the surrounding lands. They confirmed the existence of a lake as the source of the Vardar, some three or four days walk to the northeast. But we were warned against travelling in that direction.
It seems that some powerful band of thieves and rogues has taken over an old ruin of a fort and subjugated the main camp of the Grey Wolf tribe on the southern shores of the lake. Towards the end of summer there were many reports from travellers in the area of attacks and raids. The Grey Wolf tribe is of mixed Yrchish and Mannish folk and they have a reputation as fierce warriors.

Cuwalen 4, The Claw of Lightning, 14th Year of his Lordship Kresimir, Kotor Barony;
Ever since we left the Swift Pony tribe’s camp I have spotted solitary wolves on several occasions and soon realized that each sighting was of the same wolf and that it was following us. I mentioned this to my Lord Dancis and Master Cojocaru. Master Cojocaru told me that he had met the wolf while I was convalescing and they had become friends. He then chuckled and told me that I had just helped him win a bet with Lord Dancis about how long it would take me to notice the wolf. I don’t think that four days is a flattering estimation of my powers of observation! I guess that the wolf will be following with us for a while, which might complicate matters because this afternoon we came upon a robustly active farmstead.
We approached from the north, alerted to the presence of some settlement by the smoke from their fires. On the western slope of the valley are several buildings, houses, a barn and other outbuildings, all surrounded by gardens. On the eastern slope is an orchard with several types of trees, cherry and hazelnut along with others who have not yet revealed their spring foliage. Between are fields of bare ground that fill the floor of the valley, many freshly turned, all separated by tidy rock walls. A fair sized flock was scattered around the south end of the valley where we could see a couple of ponds. At least a dozen people could be seen working at various tasks.
We were spotted quickly as shouts were heard soon after we began our descent from the ridge near the northern end of the valley. A half a dozen menfolk headed in our direction, all of them armed with some weapon, bows and clubs mostly. We halted our approach at a respectable distance and as they came within speaking distance we could see that there were Yrchish, Elarkish and Mannish folk among them.
A man shouted a greeting to us, demanding to know our business. I suppose living on a farmstead in the Border Hills would tend to make one suspicious of strangers. Lord Dancis spoke for us. The farmsteader, Oleg Leviton, welcomed us to stay for the night and offered to introduce us in the morning to some people that he said we would have a great deal in common with.
I don’t think that the wolf will be welcomed to stay however.

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The Rescue of Konstante Biteri
Journal of Markuss Dancis

Tarsakh, 1st Svoradi, 14th Year of his Lordship Kresimir, Kotor Barony;
With much anticipation today our small party has left behind the East Road, striking off to the north to follow the line of the Vardar River. Aside from the East Road being the southern boundary, our charter is somewhat vague in its description of the boundaries of our land grant, so we have agreed to start our explorations and surveying as the East Road leaves the Border Hills and its path diverges from that of the river. It is said that the Vardar trends east by northeast and that there is a lake from which it flows. Exploring the land between river and road and confirming the rumor of the lake will be our first goal.
The weather has been fine and we have made good time out of Visegrad, needing only 6 days by foot to make the Vardar Gap. The roads have not been muddy and the rains gentle and light in the mornings. We have met with several farmers and lumberjack parties along the road, and they tell us that they expect the caravan season to begin early this year.

Tarsakh, 1st Libereci, 14th Year of his Lordship Kresimir, Kotor Barony;
Silviu brought down a young buck in the afternoon and we set an early camp in order to clean and preserve what we can of it to supplement our supplies. Luukas has pointed out several plants that he says will be edible or fruit bearing in summer, but has found precious little of use in this early season. We will likely be in camp for a couple days as we burn slow fires to dry the venison.
We have followed the course of the Vardar River for 5 days through light forest ripe with the earliest blooms of spring. We have crossed over a dozen or more creeks and streams draining the snowmelt from the hills and higher land to the south of the river. The land near the Vardar itself is often marshy and uncertain, but when we have been able to find it, the main course of the river runs swift and clear. We have sighted 3 ruined towers or forts atop hills. None have been near our course, but we have noted them for exploration in the future. What we have not seen sign of is any current inhabitants of these lands. It is known that there are farmsteads still in these lands, worked by sturdy and stubborn folk, but it seems they do not dwell along the river.

Tarsakh, 1st Miluteni, 14th Year of his Lordship Kresimir, Kotor Barony;
Our 2-day camp has allowed us the time to patch and repair our equipment and gear. The hide of the deer has been put to work on my jacket as well as Silviu’s trousers. It is makeshift at best, but I believe the patches will serve well.
We have finished drying the venison in strips and have gotten it packed as securely as possible. Luukas found some wild onions and winter camas and they have been added to our stores as well. If we are careful and nothing is lost or spoiled, we should have supplies to last us another two ten-days, more or less. We will continue to forage as we explore but I hope that we will manage to find some settlement or homestead before we are put in too much of a difficulty for supplies.
We break camp in the morning.

Tarsakh, 1st Borisi, 14th Year of his Lordship Kresimir, Kotor Barony;
Shortly before mid-day we were following a rough game trail through a wood of hornbeam, chestnut and linden, probably a deer track. We heard a sudden commotion from some distance away in the direction we were travelling; much shrieking and shouting and the braying of horses. As we listened we could hear that the commotion was drawing nearer to our position and presently we could see through the trees a mannish figure leading a train of pack mules. The figure was attempting to run at speed, but the animals were scared and panicky and much effort was being expended in simply keeping the beasts moving in the same direction.
Behind the mules by perhaps no more than 30 paces we were able to catch sight of small mannish figures running in chase, drawn to notice them by their shrieks and shouts. The pursuers were closing quickly. I glanced at my companions and we all dropped our packs to the side of the trail. Luukas stepped behind a tree and readied his sling. Silviu drew an arrow back with his bow while I drew my sword and stepped forward while summoning a mystical shield for defense.
The man was preoccupied with managing his mules and was nearly upon me before he noticed my presence. “Get behind me my good man!” I said to him, and then he was past. The closest of the pursuers was feathered by Silviu, but not before it shrieked a warning to its companions, then they were upon us. I stood my ground as the first approached and with a solid blow I drove him back. A second struck at me with a crude javelin, but his attack was blunted by my mail shirt and I smote him twice in return, dazing him and gashing him badly in the leg. A third attacker appeared before me, armed with a spear and this one would prove to be a much more savvy combatant.
They were not like any creature I had encountered before, nor heard tale of. They were mannish in figure, but short, shorter even than Elarkish folk. Their skin appeared brown and their hair black, long and stringy. They had wide mouths with small stubby teeth, and pug nose and beady black eyes. They spoke a language, but not one that was familiar to our ears. They wore a hard leather armor and their weapons were crude and basic, but effective, as demonstrated when Luukas came too close to the spear wielding one and was stabbed badly in the leg.
Our position appeared bleak as I continued to trade blows with their captain, unable to land any telling hits. Soon I knew that the other two would recover from my earlier blows and surround me. Silviu was being attacked by yet another of the creatures and could not come to my aid.
Fortunately, the goodman we rescued came to our rescue in turn. He appeared at my side and struck a great blow against my first attacker, wielding an axe with skill and determination. He then came up behind the captain who was still matching me at arms and struck him cruelly about the head.
I turned to fend off an attack from the last of the creatures attacking me, only to discover that it had fainted from blood loss. So relieved, I moved to assist Silviu and coming up behind his opponent ran him through.
And that is how we met Konstante Biteri.
Goodman Biteri is a fur trader. He travels regularly throughout the eastern flanks of the Border Hills gathering furs and pelts in trade for pots, pans, knives and other items of high value in this region. We quickly gathered his mules and packed Luukas astride one as his wound was rather serious and we set off for a settlement he knows of that is not too far off.

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A Battle in the Snow
Journal of Ailean O’Glaisin

Alturiak, 3rd Giovedi, 14th Year of his Lordship Kresimir, Kotor Barony;
This dai ooud bee Arnaulen 5, The Claw of Snows, at hom, and mai thats toodai find themselvz oftin leengring upon mai familee. Thei kan not yet no that I hav taken this foolish venshur into the beestlandz, and it mae bee that bai the taim thae reseev mai letr I wil be feesting at the feet of heros in Kanassas Hall.
Stil, I am baoond bai oth and onur to Lady Samaras and shee is hedstrong and wilful and kan not be dissooaded frum her kors of akshun. Even tho it taks us both into the Beestlands, storees abaoot wich I hav ben fed sens chaildhood that ar noomerus and entrtaining, in a perelus and often bludee fashon. I prai onle that the batl ooe engag in this eev wil serv az the beegining ov aour oun storee that leeds too the Ladys ultimut reedempshun, rathr than to aour oun ignomineus deths.

Alturiak, 3rd Dillundi, 14th Year of his Lordship Kresimir, Kotor Barony;
I survaivd the batl, and having dun so, I reeliz that my last intree oouz kooaieet doomlaidn. The batl wuz a hard faut afaeir, and I did not emrg unskathd. I wuz gifted a wel brokin rib by a sharp blou from a klub, smartlee ooeelded by ooun of the bandits. But, perhaps I shud start at the begining of the storee!
Wee had agreed to handel a groop of theevs that had ben making truubel at the Levituun Homsted and on Arnaulen 3, the nait of wich the snous returned, Zan Kruhalk, nefu of Oleg Levituun, and Jetei, 2nd son of Telebog, braut neus that they had finalee diskoverd the bandits haanting a ruind hiltop casel haf a daees ooaaking distans.
We set aut befor frst lait the nekst morning with the to homstedrs as gaids. It lookd as thou Andoni and Manus wood ern ther coin after al! Of cors in the snou, a haf daeez waaking distans took most al of the dae and we neerd the kasl as nait fel. We wer egzasted frum the daees march and needed to rest befor we cuud maek ane asuult so we faond a vantag poeent frum wich we cuud obzerv the kumings and goings of the bandits.
Wen we stopt mooving the kold began to set in, but Lady Samaras put an inchantment of ooarmth upon aur boots and kloks to keep us in kumfert. We caunted a haf duzen bandits and asumd ther to be at leest tuis that number. Ther leedr ooas a graet beest of a Yrchish ooarior, but the others luukt to be a matlee groop of Mannish and Yrchish pezintfok drevin to evul akts by hard taimz. Thaee apeerd poorlee ekuept ooith klubs, smal sords and lethr brestplaets with feeu bouz prezent.
Ooee laed aur plan and aprocht the kasl under the cover of ful dark and a lait snou. Zan and Jetei sirkld araoond the kassl, to keep wach in cais anee bandits fled during aur atak, or atempted to flaink us. Ther ooaz a seengl gaard posted at the entrans with a blaezing faeer to keep him ooarm, and also to provaid iluminashun for aoor arouz. Anuther faeer blazd gust ooethin the entrans and anuther gard ooaz ther. Ooee attakt laet enuf that most uv the rest of the bandits ooer sleeping.
Ooen ooe had aprocht az closlee az ooee kud ooithaut daengr ov being deetekted ooee ooaited ooil the Lady beegan to preepair a spel for atak. Ooen she ooas redee us menfolk chargd to the atak (ooel, Andoni and maiself did) or fetherd the bandit standing gard (thats ooat Manus and Koldo did insted).
Ooee had supriz and luk ooas on aur said. The to bandits on gard ooer kooiklee dispacht, ooan bai an arou Manus deliverd unto his gut, the other frum the bal of mai morningstar upon his unprotekted hed. After that the batl beekaim a kunfeuzd and desperit afair. Much shauting and hulabaloo ooas raizd within as the resting men raoozd and redeed themselvz ugainst aur asult.
In trooth and eeternal thankfulnes haooevr, thaee fot laik the rabl thae ooer. Ae streem of foz eemergd frum within the kasl, individguals rushing to the kontest as thae felt themselvz prepaird. Neether ooaiting nor courdinaiting ther caunteratak ooith ther felous. This alaooed us to engag them in turn and ooithaoot beekuming ovrooelmd bai ther soopeereeor numberz. Andoni proovd himself a daootee ooareeor az hee laid abaut ooith hiz mais. Manus fetherd anee hoo maid it past Andoni and I ooarin sum tuk advantag ov the distrakshun ther felouz provaided az we smasht them daoon. Even gudman Koldo plaeed hiz shortbou ooith a ooill and gaiv much distres to thos bandits aooaiting ther apoeentment ooith aur mais and morningstar.
Deespait the valer and efrt ov us minfolk, al wud hav cum to not had Lady Samaras not taiken her part at kee moments. Once it ooas that a bandit managd to avoid al ov aur blugunings and fethrings to gaeen an advantagus pozishun upon us, poisd to straik a blou most dedlee ooen a bolt of laitning flasht frum the dark to straik and dispirit the fo. This unfortshoonut viktim ov her atenshun immeedeeatlee reetreeted into the kassl, both ov hiz armz haenging limplee at hiz saidz, ooer ooee faoond him later, porlee bandagd, for al the gud it did him in the end. The sekunt ooas the veree leeder of the bandits hoo ooaz nokt baak and aaf balans bai the blast she deeliverd to him. Andoni had ben hard prest bai the maitee ooareeor hoo ooor a fain kooaletee steel brestplait and ooelded a hevee ooar matuk with dangrus skil. Ooen hee ooaz forsd bak bai the Ladys paoor, Andoni ooaz abel too moov too aid mee ooen I faoond maiself under an inchantment kast frum ooithin the kaasl that left mee dazd and unabel to eefektivlee deefend maiself agenst the too bandits asulting mee. It ooas at this taim that I reeceevd mai oouond, kurtisee ov the klub ov ooun ov mai uponents. Andoni kooiklee dispacht thos too ooail I reekuvrd mai ooets and Manus finisht ther leedr ooith a breleeant shot, puting an arou thru hez hed that keld hem standing.
Aftr that the wil too fait left the reemaining bandits and we herd shaoots of panik and surendr frum within. Zan told us that thai kaunted three taiking flait, inklooding ooan ooaring hevee robz that ooas prabublee the ooan rispansabl for kasting the stuning spel upon me. Ooel ooud I laik to mach ooith hem ooil aooair ov hiz prezins and not obstrukted bai a mob ov undrlings! Ulas, I ooaz not in anee shaip to pres the isheeu in the dark and snou.
Ooe tuk okiupansee ov ther leir for the reemaindr ov the eevening, Jetei handeld the dispozishun of the ingurd theevs hoo had retreeted into the kaasel during the fait and wer unabel to flee. The nekst morning ooee gatherd ooat portabl valubalz thai had akooaird and kreeated a stash of the bulkeer aitems too reklaim ooen the wethr turnz. Then ooee returnd. I ooud laik too sai it ooaz a return too a heros ooelkum, but thez folk in the Beestlandz lev laivs ooer thei oourk hard and ekspekt nuthing les of thoz thai aafr ther hospetaalitee too. Thaee maid ther gratitood uparent, but it ooas ekooalee plain that ooee had simplee dun the ooark thaee ekspekted ov us.

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A Start Before Spring
Journal of Kalina Samaras

Alturiak, 2nd Martedi, 14th Year of his Lordship Kresimir, Kotor Barony;

The heathen weather-witch’s fortunetelling had been specific regarding the dates when a stretch of clear, cold weather would hit the valley. On the morning of Alturiak, 2nd Svoradi, yesterday, the clouds emptied of snow, the sun shown through and the temperature dropped, just as she said it would. She was certainly as good as her reputation and worth her fee, usurious as it was. The next storm is not supposed to arrive for a full tenday.

Ailean, Koldo and I had made the necessary preparations for our journey and managed to make some good deals on supplies and equipment, which partially made up for the excessive cost of the weather divinations. Most of the suppliers we patronized were happy to simply have our business during what is their slowest season. We even managed to hire a pair of Whitewater sellswords on the cheap. They probably expected to spend their entire contract comfortably drinking ale in the Whitewater Tavern and sleeping in their own warm beds while the usual late winter snow storms kept us from traveling.

1 wagon, 4 mules, a small mountain of equipment and supplies and 2 somewhat disgruntled caravan guards, we departed Visegrad by way of the Caravan Gate and took the East Road towards my destiny.

I just hope it is a good destiny.

Alturiak, 2nd Borisi, 14th Year of his Lordship Kresimir, Kotor Barony;

The last 7 days have been torturous and now there are only 3 days before it is said that the snows will return. It is difficult to say which was the greater torture; forcing slow progress through thick and fresh fallen snow which was our fate for the first two days of our journey or enduring the freezing cold which has at least allowed us to make better time over the now aged and hardened snow the last five days.

We have passed through the gap in the Border Hills created by the Vardar River, although we have had no sighting of that waterway, hidden as it is under the ice and snow. We now exit the Kotor Valley and approach the Beastlands, of which I have heard many tales, most recently from Andoni and Manus, our two worthy guides. Even taking allowance for the exaggerations of tellers of tales, it does not sound like a land I wish to sojourn within in such a small party as ours, and not far with even a larger party.

Andoni assures us that there are some farmsteads still resisting the dangers of the wilds hereabouts and some old buildings that may serve as a base for our business venture. I pray that he is correct and that we may find one or both within the next few days.

Alturiak, 3rd Svoradi, 14th Year of his Lordship Kresimir, Kotor Barony;

This morning we met with the Levitons, a family that has kept a homestead here for decades. Goodman Oleg and his wife Svetlana preside over an extended family and employ some Yrchish and Elarkish families on their land as well. Several dozen people in all live on their homestead.

The land itself is well sited in a small valley. All is covered in snow and ice, but I am told a small stream runs through the valley and fills a pair of ponds at the southern end. Fields separated by tidy rock walls fill floor of the valley, an orchard with cherry, apple, pear and hazelnut trees lies on the gentle eastern slope while the houses, outbuildings and gardens stand on the steeper western slope to receive the morning sun. Sheep and goats graze the nearby hills under the eyes of the Yrchish folk while several draft animals are kept in a barn nearer to the houses.

The houses and other buildings are solidly built and most are dug somewhat into the ground; I am told that this helps keep them cool in the summer and warm in the winter. I can certainly understand the reasons for building them in that manner! It is only one more day that we are to have this break in the weather and the snows should return tomorrow. It is well that we found the Leviton Homestead when we did!

Not all seems to be well however. When we approached with our wagon and mules we were greeted most brusquely by several of the minfolk. It was only by the presence of Andoni, who was known to Oleg and a couple of the others from past dealings, that we were permitted to say our peace. Koldo spoke well for our intentions, and that we brought such a store of supplies with us certainly helped. We were invited to stable our beasts and provided beds for our use, but a service was requested for the courtesy.

It appears that the reputation of the Border Hills as a bandit infested land is not exaggerated and since the beginning of winter the Leviton Homestead has been subjected to the regular and unwelcome attentions of such a group. It has mostly consisted of sheep and goat rustling, but recently the scoundrels mounted a raid on a storage building and made off with a fair quantity of dried fruits and good grains as well as making a great noise and commotion and putting a fright into everyone.

Several of the younger men have been using the clear weather to carefully check on ruined buildings and caves around the area and believe that they have found the lair of the thieves. While these homesteaders are hardy, tough and not frightened by the prospect of fighting, neither are they foolish nor prone to taking unnecessary risks and they are not warriors. My companions however are warriors and Ailean has been known to take risks that are both foolish and unnecessary, so we have been requested to look into the problem of dealing with the bandits as payment for the hospitality of the Levitons.

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