Eldritch Shard

Adjeza'a Written Testimony

I, Lady Adjeza “Brightstar” Boudain, Paladin of Pelor; daughter of Thegn Artius Boudain, Chamberlain to the King; grand-daughter of Eorl Edward Boudain, Grand Witan of the Witenagemot, do swear that contained here within is a true telling of the events that occurred since my departure from Briarsby that pertain to the betrayal of the people of Loch Tavish by Lord Thomas Braun III, the Duke of Chesterwood to the Kingdom of the High Elves to the best of my knowledge and memory.

When we first arrived at Briarsby Duke Ian Helfast was absent, but there was an outbreak of disease among his people. I mention these events for I feel they have a bearing on future events, though this court has asked for only events occurring after our rescue of the Loch Tavish villagers at the fluorite mine. My party and I felt compelled to help and our investigation led us to a kobold lair just outside of town. When we were in the lair, we discovered two humans that the kobolds had captured in the woods and were using as a food source. Their normal food source had become exceedingly scarce for them and possibly even contaminated, so they had resorted to eating whatever they could, which included the sheep stolen from the villagers and anyone straying into the forest. I was particularly intrigued by the story Bizig, a noble hearted guardian to the dying kobold chieftain, told me about finding these two humans; their behavior being unusually daring and dangerous. A kobold hunting party had spotted the two men creeping through the dense forest under cover of darkness and in a manner that seemed to be secretive, covert, and therefore suspicious. The kobolds ambushed them when they paused, perhaps for rest or possibly rendez vous. They were angry and offended by the intrusion, even a little fearful. Bizig pointed out their possessions in a pile near their corpses. Upon rifling through the discarded debris I found a sealed document. I recognized the language as elven, but have no ability to read that ancient tongue. Of our party only Garak was able to read the scroll. He reported to us that it was a contract between the lord of one of the major elven houses and the Duke of Chesterwood. The Duke would receive gold and an unspecified favor in exchange for providing resources to the elves, not all of which were specified, but the population of Loch Tavish was clearly stated as among them. We were all appalled at these implications and developments and wanted to return the document to Lord Ian as quickly as possible. However, we were thwarted in our effort, for while we were battling the chief kobold to retrieve three shards that he was hiding on his person, he obliterated the inscriptions on the scroll. It is unclear whether he was privy and party to the plot or whether he did this act out of spite and desperation. We are uncertain whether he was aware of the contents, as I was the one who broke the seal; it being completely intact when found; or whether he was only aware of its value to us. In the end we were only able to give Lord Ian the scroll with the official seals on it and Garak’s memory of it’s contents and then hurry on our to Loch Tavish to see what could be done to recover any villagers, find further evidence, or prevent their capture as the situation deemed. We left with heavy hearts and little hope, however, since it had already been so long since anything had been heard from Loch Tavish, but maybe since messengers were still passing contracts back and forth the deed had not yet come to pass.

As we were hurrying on our way to Loch Tavish we were hailed by Hrod to help him recover his family and friends from Loch Tavish. You have already received full intelligence of the events that immediately followed from various sources and so I will not tire you with further iterations.

On our way to Loch Tavish we encountered some of the Javich tribe on patrol while sleeping in the ruined temple to Pelor in the razed settlement of Briswald. We passed through forest from Briswald to Loch Tavish that had not previously been there, and strangely the forest to the south of the road was evergreen pine forest while the forest to the north was deciduous fey woods. Neither had been so close to the road previously and evergreen so far south is odd. I don’t know what this might portend, but I feel anything so grossly out of place and seemingly magical should be reported to you. Along the wooded road we encountered an arachnid like humanoid and his pet spiders after being ensnared in one of his traps. When we killed one of the monstrously large spiders, we were able to persuade him to guide us through the rest of the road to avoid anymore of his pitfalls and webs in exchange for no further harm to him or his pets.

We arrived at the edge of Loch Tavish near dusk but decided to find shelter nearby rather than in the ruins themselves. While Tim and Londel were on watch that evening they were alerted to the presence of an ogre rampaging through the ruins of the town by a lone ranger named Njal Lokison. Everyone was roused to dispatch the ogre before he killed any survivors or ruined any evidence still remaining. Grateful to Njal for his alerting us and hoping for his assistance we invited him to join us for the evening and following day.

The town of Loch Tavish was badly damaged. Many of the buildings had been tumbled down to nearly nothing but rubble. There were strange scorch marks on most of the buildings and even the ground. Buildings had caught fire and burned to the ground, others survived with minimal fire damage. There were huge reptilian footprints everywhere. It seemed fairly evident that a dragon had done the majority of the destruction, but why was yet to be determined. The damage that the ogre had done in the aftermath was miniscule by comparison. He was merely scavenging through the wreck and ruin for an easy meal.

The ogre corpse was no longer where we had left it the night before. It had been dragged into the remains of mayor’s manor by something slimy. There was nothing left of the ogre and we found the beast that had made such work of our last foe. It was a foul abhoration covered in slime, eyes, mouths, and tentacles. Poor Berza received the brunt of its attacks and it looked as though it intended to swallow her up whole, but we were able to dispatch it before it was able to accomplish its cruel intent. We were horrified to discover an elf beneath the demonic carapace. Garak recognized him as Iefan, a notoriously cruel mercenary to the elves. His sins must have been vast and of the darkest nature to have been given such a retribution as that form from the gods. I suspected that dark shard magics were at work there.

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