Tales of Tolgard
Mezzo 5, 2316 HR
It’s been a long day. Yet, what I have seen interests me so I’ll write about it.
Nadia and I traveled all day and, as evening was falling, made our way to Windy Tree. I realized that the stories that had brought Nadia and I to this town didn’t matter and that my destiny drew near. I also had a feeling that events that would unfold this night would change my life, and I was right!
Windy Tree is a small, lonely village that lies deep in the woods. The closest settlements were a days travel away and I felt the isolation keenly. I’d learned from Nadia that no one dares to travel at night around these parts because the village itself gets its name from the strange noises the trees make when the wind blows. Initially I thought that was kind of silly, but when we arrived and the wind picked up, it sounded like screams as the wind howled between the trees.
We entered the village just as dark overtook us. It’s hard to explain, maybe the feeling of eyes upon me and the hairs on the back of my neck prickling, but I think the village was weary of our approach. The only things that stood out were a single, ramshackle inn and a general store with the windows and doors barred tight for the night. Near the south edge of the village a graveyard lied undisturbed- at least what I could see through the slithering mist. This odd fog seemed to be rolling in from the woods to the wast.
The only thing even remotely inviting about the place was the subdued lights of the inn, called the The Wailing. The fog made it hard to see, but there seemed to be a figure hunched down between the inn and the building next to it. When we went to look, we found a pale human girl that looked mostly dead. We offered her help and she accepted- her name was Allium Canadense. She definitely need a good night’s rest- we offered to share our room with her and she accepted. First, however, we investigated the common room of the bar.
A bard sat in one corner of the inn strumming on a lute and humming to himself. No one seemed to notice or care that we had entered, excepting the barkeep who tossed a rag over his shoulder, nodded in our direction, and went to help a customer that desperately needed another drink to add to the growing collection of empty tankards in front of him.
There was an injured dwarf sitting by the fire. I smiled to myself, noticing his wounds. He was staring at the flames intently with bandages partially bled through. He seemed entranced by the fire, mesmerized by the licking flames hungrily consuming the logs and stretching towards the air. He groaned a moment, grabbing at his bandages, and then resettled in his chair.
We sat down at the table and ordered dinner. For one so sickly and slight Allium had quite an appetite, ravenously tearing through her rare steak, daring anyone to take it from her with her darting eyes. Nadia and I had a more subdued meal which, while plain, was certainly filling and the ale wasn’t too watered down and was vaguely close to cold.
It’s seems strange, but Allium almost seemed to drink up the darkness and regained her composure. She said a man had attacked her and left her for dead. She could not recall anything of her life before tonight but was happy to have met new friends. Interesting.
The barkeep stumped over and gave us a dire warning about the graveyard. He said there had been a lot of trouble in that part of town- strange noises and shapes drifting through the fog. He advised us to avoid it but, if we felt strong enough, perhaps we could pierce the shadows and take care of whatever evil was lurking there. We thanked him for his melodramatic story. I was just about to order a second tankard when I saw the girls’ eyes sparkle- oh, no… They wanted to investigate… Well, I was tired from the road but couldn’t let them see any weakness, so I followed along.
The graveyard had a weather worn wooden fence around it which was broken in some places. A gate once allowed the graveyard to be locked at night, I guessed, but was lying in a rusted heap near ancient hinges. A low lying fog floated through the graveyard, swirled by winds I never did feel. It looked like the graveyard was a few hundred feet across, but I had no idea how deep it might go- whether simple towards the wood or deep into their embrace. The graves were composed of various rough carved headstones and loose dirt patches.
As we entered the graveyard, I felt a chill slide down my spine. The fog swirled around us as we walked deeper into the gloom. A small path led through the graves towards the wood- we followed it for a time. And then we had company.
It was quite a night of battle. We fought 9 humanoid skeletons, 3 halfling skeletons, 4 zombies, 3 ghouls, and near the edge of the woods 2 more monsters. They were gore-streaked, four legged animals that seemed like the unholy union between a rat and a wolf. Even that mating could not explain the amazing size of their toothy maws. Nadia later told me they’re called carcass eaters.
That last battle proved almost too much for us. I felt there was still a bit of evil left in the graveyard, but we were not up to challenging it. Nadia showed a disturbing habit, over the course of the battles, of enjoying a bite or two of the corpses we found. I suppose the wealthy are never crazy but merely eccentric, but it certainly caught me off guard.
We had been plundering the graves as we went and compiled a sizable pile of treasure. After all, the occupants of the grave had attacked us first, so to the victor goes the spoils. I’m sure they would have wanted to help fund our further adventures had they been alive to ask.
We found 5000 copper pieces, 2400 silver pieces, and 790 gold pieces. We also found a black pearl, a white opal, a bloodstone, and an amethyst. We also found a composite short bow, a dwarven battle axe, a tanglefoot bag, and a potion that we later learned was of the healing variety.
A solid nights work. We staggered back to the inn, as dawn was approaching, and went up to our room. Tomorrow we will cash in our loot and live like kings!