Much peril stands before Clan Redforge, and I fear the day may come when we cannot overcome them. Ysran‘s death hit us hard, as did the travels back to Gormit. The ankegs nearly did us in. I doubt I will ever see a cockroach again without a burning desire to grind it to pulp with the heel of my boot.
Fortunately, luck came back to us when we managed to find some desperately needed shelter to hide from the goblin search parties. With the safety of the sunlight, we made much better time and arrived at the Homestead.
Karig was troubled by our tales of the goblins and saddened by the news of Ysran’s demise, even a brave as it was. We drank heartily that night to honor our fallen comrade. Our new halfling friend joined in and we toasted his companions as well. The next morning, we buried Ysran and the three adventures next to the one we had dug for our short-lived recruit, Torrin. I could not help let out a bitter chuckle at the thought that we now had a real and proper cemetery. Over the graves, I said a few words:
“It is the Mason’s will that the stone be worked and
that which is without form be made into those things
that better our lives. Redforge was once strong but is
now in need of being worked once again. A piece
chipped away is not a wasted action in working a stone,
but a noble sacrifice in order to find the shape within.”
I only hope that this proves true and Ysran did not die in vain and rescuing the halfling will make us stronger in the end. It was this that I contemplated as we prepared to return home. However, things are not that simple and yet another blessing (or curse, I’m not sure which yet) was placed before us.
As we walked, a lone figure approached. As the figure got closer, we realized it was a dwarf, delirious it seemed, and one that I recognized! I did not know the dwarf’s name but I knew that I had seen him in the forges at the Clan stronghold. He was one of ours, a survivor. He was out of his senses and looked as if he had been walking for days without food or drink. Most strangely of all though, was the handle of what appeared to have once been a forge hammer held tightly in one hand.
We took him to the house and placed him in bed. I did my best to watch over him and heal his wounds, but I also thought it prudent to set a guard nearby as well. I may have recognized his face, but I knew nothing more about who he was. While I tended to this mysterious dwarf, Shinku took Habit to speak with the mayor in Gormit. The mayor asked if we could escort Habit to Pilik so he could inform the council that resides there about the growing goblinoid menace. We agreed, of course, but my primary concern was with this new guest.
His mumblings were incoherent and strange, but more disturbing was that he seemed to somehow be setting the very bed on fire! We were forced to take him outside to prevent any danger, and I did everything I could think of to lessen his delirium. This seemed to work and he started to awaken. He claimed to be uncomfortably hot and extremely thirsty, though I detected no fever in him. In his fits, he had finally let go of the handle. It was oddly hot to the touch. Shinku, being our only resource in the knowledge of the arcane, took it away for study. He returned with burns on his hands and said that he thought it seemed to be some sort of implement to focus magic, though not one that a typical wizard would employ. He also said that it was distinctly connected to this dwarf somehow. His knowledge was useful but neither of us could say what it meant. Despite the return of his senses, the dwarf was quite desperate to have the handle returned to him. He seems to be the only one who can hold it without receiving burns.
Now that he was coherent, the dwarf said that his name was Dwallain, and he had indeed worked in the forges of Redforge. He seemed to feel great shame that he had taken shelter when what he thought was an earthquake had hit the stronghold. He did not know until now that it was an attack and in fact, claimed to not remember how he survived or how he found the homestead. He could not seem to recall the last few weeks at all! He seemed honest enough but not knowing what happened and how he is connected to this burning handle disturbs me.
That night we made preparations to travel with Habit to his home city of Pilik. Unfortunately, however, we were down one member of our group. The suggestion was made that our new friend should accompany us. I must admit, I feel it safer for him to stay close by and away from the homestead until we can determine whether his condition is safe.
We gathered what supplies we could and chose to stop in Tidling for whatever else we needed. I sought out a wizard actually. I had heard that magic users have ways of moving the magic of one item over to another similar item. Not long ago we had acquired a magical war hammer, though one too large for any of us to use, and I hoped I could make use of its magical enchantment. Happily, the stories proved true and the wizard was successful. (Thank the Mason. We can use every advantage we can get!)
The next day we continued on to Pilik. For two days, our travels were undisturbed, but on the third… We encountered more goblins. We were not caught off guard, but they moved fast! I was hit hard by a number attacks and I believe I must have blacked out for a time. I woke up on my back, looking up at Red. It seems the warforged has a touch of the healing skills.
We fought back the goblins and finally overcame them. The most significant part of the battle however, was Dwallain. Seemingly on instinct, he released fiery magic from the broken handle. While it might have been helpful at the time, I can only speculate what it portends.
Now as we camp, Shinku spoke with me privately. He believed that Dwallain might be possessed by something, some sort of magical parasite perhaps. As I write this journal entry, I cannot say if this new member of our group is a boon or a new peril. I can only hope it is the Mason’s will to bless Ysran’s sacrifice by providing us with a new ally rather than a new danger.