Tim and Londel has the first watch. They woke everyone up midway through their watch and told us that a mysterious stranger told them there was an ogre rampaging through the ruins of Loch Tavish, that he was going scouting, and we should be ready to fight. when asked for a description of the stranger they couldn’t do any better than “human-sized and wearing clothes.”
About an hour later the stranger appeared in the middle of the camp and announced that there was indeed an ogre but that it appeared to be on its own so we should hurry up and go kill it. I question the sanity of anyone who actually wants to fight one of those things but the rest of the group seemed to want to go along with it. I boldly volunteered to stay back and guard the camp.
A little over an hour later they came back and Holg had a brand new tooth for his necklace. Have I mentioned that? Every time Holg kills something he takes a tooth and adds it to a necklace he’s always wearing. It’s mostly hyena teeth, but that ogre tooth is pretty impressive. I guess that means he killed the ogre, or at least claimed the kill and no one wanted to challenge him.
The stranger introduced himself as Njall, son of Loki. He sounded like he expected us to know who that was but didn’t actually seem upset when all he got were blank looks. He asked for permission to join the camp and the others let him. I would have preferred giving him a good interrogation regarding just how much he knew about the current situation and what his intentions were, but nobody else seemed interested so I just went back to sleep.
The next day we all went into the ruins for a more thorough investigation. It looked like a huge dragon had hit this place and hit it hard. Buildings torn in half, giant claw marks everywhere, trees knocked over, and a disgusting smear of bloody viscera going right through the center. No people anywhere.
The others got pretty excited about the smear. Apparently it was where they had left the ogre’s corpse last night. I couldn’t believe they hadn’t burned it, but I guess they were all in a hurry to get back to sleep.
We followed some drag marks from the smear to what was once the largest house in the area, presumably belonging to the mayor. It had been torn up pretty badly and even had a small hole dug in the middle of the foundation which had been filled in by water. Near the hole was a bunch of smashed onyx. Interesting fact: when the church of Pelor gets a hold of one of the Eldritch Shards they tend to hide it in a box made of onyx and filled with holy water. One wonders why the Mayor had a similar setup.
There were still a couple of wings of the main building intact as well as an entirely too tall tower. I mean really, really tall. It was also pretty badly damaged and I could see the thing swaying in the breeze and hear the it creaking. Not a good sign.
The drag marks led to a hole in the wall of one of the intact wings. Most of the others went in the hole to investigate; I stayed outside with Xavier. They weren’t inside for very long before they came out and said they killed some sort of horrible abomination that turned into an elf when it died. I went in to check it out and I recognized him.
I guess I can use his name now without worrying about him acting against me. It was Iefan, quite a piece of work even for an elf. He wasn’t attached to any particular family that I knew of, but he was always available when there was shady work that needed to be done. Attacking and enslaving an innocent village would be right up his alley. The question, of course, was who had paid him to do it. The obvious answer was represented by the emblem Tim found on that scrap of armor.
The Boss was covered in some sort of horrible filth as a result of her battle with whatever Iefan had managed to turn himself into so I went off to look for a nice tub so I could prepare her bath. When I got back I discovered that Adjeza had gone up to investigate the tower. By the time she got down I had finished giving the Boss a quick bath.
Adjeza reported that there was strange writing up there. She said it was evil, and that there was more evil where a window facing west should be. She had never seen anything like the writing before, but she somehow understood one of the symbols. When she named the symbol it made my hair stand up and for a second I could hear the whispers again. I have decided not to record the named she gave for it. There are some things best forgotten.
She asked my to go up and investigate. I glanced at The Boss; she nodded, so up I went.
Not a good time. I had never had a problem with heights before but something about this tower made me light-headed and gave me a horrible fear of falling. Not of falling to ground, but rather losing my grip on both the tower and the world upon which it rested and tumbling uncontrolled through the void until landing in some alien world controlled by eldritch forces terrible beyond all mortal comprehension. Or maybe it was the wind.
I reached the top and saw the symbols engraved upon the wall. As soon as I laid eyes on them I was struck by a blinding pain. I knew these symbols; I had seen them somewhere before. A dream perhaps? I got dizzier by the second and found myself speaking, not knowing what I was saying or the language in which I was saying it. Something about a gate and a key. I had this dream before. With a great effort of will I turned away from the symbols and ran down the stairs, no longer caring if I fell or where I landed and only knowing that I had to get away from that writing before it drew me in.
By some miracle I reached the bottom before passing out.