Within the swirling Mist (IC) > Biographies

The Journals of Ariel Van Der Vaart-Torden and the Bickering Witches


Gary T:
It was approaching sunset when my carriage pulled into outskirts of Vallaki (which unfortunately I must profess I remember very little of the ride in from Nova Vaasa as I was sleeping off the previous evening’s revelry thank s to my weakness for muscular young farmhands and Nova Vasaan beer); my first clue that things were different here should have been the carriage drivers irritation at my dawdling while disembarking and his insistence that he had to get home before nightfall.  I exited the carriage with a seedy inn to my right and a poorly kept but rather pious looking church to my left.  While normally one with one ear bent to the metaphysical, I was exhausted from my day’s travel and the church was all the way on the other side of the street, so I chose the path more traveled.

The inn, the Lady’s Rest, was typical of a roadside inn.  The guard at the door was a gruff fellow who surely has cracked the skull of more than one unruly patron over the years.  The innkeeper was not overly cordial but polite enough.  The beer I found to be a bit watery by Nova Vasaan standards, but I’m sure I’ll adjust.  The company was neither spirited nor or dreary except for one exception.  A troubadour from some place called Moonshaes, was a most entertaining fellow.  While a bit too much of the pouting artist for my taking (and believe me, had he not been so sulky I would have taken him), once he decided he was ready to perform put on quite the show indeed!  His performance was truly the highlight of the evening.

Following his performance, the patrons entertained me with children’s stories of werebeasties that would carry me off in the night (if only!).  When I expressed my desire to actually observe one of these creatures in action from a safe distance, one dark and mysterious woman accepted my offer and proposed to lead our group of four off in search of adventure. 

After a few hours of fruitless meandering (imagine that, searching for mythical beasts actually proved useless) our brave little group started to splinter.  It seemed our blind witch seemed to take affront to our fearless leader making herself unseen just before us entering the so-called “den of evil”.  You might ask yourself why a blind lady would care if someone was invisible, but for whatever reason it really seemed to bother her.  Our guide claimed it was so she could surprise whatever beast we wandered upon.  Personally, I think she had grown bored with our expedition and had gone into the fishing lodge looking for a handsome fisherman, a quest I would have surely joined her in if I were able to make myself disappear.

After what seemed like a couple of hours of useless bickering, it was decided we would abandon our luckless pursuit of the lycanthropes and instead take a hike up the mountain.  The idea of trekking up a mountain in search of spiders and undead (both of which aren’t that uncommon in Nova Vaasa) did not seem like an adventure as much as a chore, but I was bound to the hapless group for the duration of our journey…

[anyone who reads these jouranls and enjoys them please make a small in-game donation to Ariel as I hope for her writings to be her primary source of income as she is not much of a performer for a bard, thanks] :D

Gary T:
Our expedition up the mountain, though not uneventful, was predictable enough.  We encountered a pack of starving wolves which were quickly disposed of; I even felled one myself via my crossbow.  It was the first time I actually dropped an attacking beast and I must confess the rush was exciting and addictive.  Later we encountered a truly massive species of bear.  My conscious is not proud of how we disposed the noble creature, leading it into a ravine and showering it with missiles from a safe distance, but I was starving and bear meat is a personal weakness of mine.  Shortly after we were ambushed by a family of crag cats, in which one broke through our front lines and engaged me.  I was able to fell the beast with my sword, but not before receiving a nasty scratch on my forearm.  Fortunately I had purchased some healing drought before leaving Nova Vaasa and was none the worse for the encounter.

It was at this point our bickering witches decided to resume their quarrels.  Our tour guide, having gone off to scout the spider den appeared dragging some poor girl's lifeless corpse.  She was hellbent on exploring these spider caves.  The blind one wanted to go to some cottage.  Mr. Torden, the brawn if not the brain of the group, seemed content to have 3 ladies all to himself.  I myself thought the idea of a cottage to stretch my sore feet and get out of the cold seemed like a fine idea.  At this decision we lost our tour guide, who decided to go alone, and though a bit smaller and surely less combat effective, at least the newly restructured group harmony was a relief to my emerging headache.

After a brief encounter with a kindly dwarf, our gang of three approached the cottage.  Following a brief preparation period, during which I sneaked a sip of whiskey-did I mention it was freezing and I had a headache, we stormed the cottage.  At first it appeared just as I expected it too, desolate; but out of nowhere, we were beset by a flurry of mindless undead that dropped me with a quick arrow shot to the chest.  You might ask how I know they were mindless?  How else would you describe a creature, that with an armed warrior and a spell hurling witch about to assault him, would choose to fire at hapless victim armed with journal and torch?  Fortunately, my comrades quickly disposed of the threat and the kindly witch treated my wounds, or else my situation might have been dire.

After searching the cottage, we uncovered the cellar door, which my confident companions decided to explore.  Having learned from the previous encounter, I exchanged my journal for my short sword and descended with them.  The sights I encountered in that cellar were eyeopening and life changing.  We were immediately beset by a host of horrors and apparitions of numbers and kind that I could not have imagined in my darkest nightmares.  Their hunger was ghastly as they tore into my flesh, searching for my life source.  I lost track of the witch, but Torden fought with ferocity and courage.  When I woke from near death, I was alone before the terrible host of death, I tried to flee, but was again beset by their full hunger.  I can only assume they had their fill and were slowly bleeding my life force, as once again I was allowed to rise from certain death.  Stumbling, in desperation, I grasped and scurried up the ladder and through the cellar door.  I found my recovering companions and collapsed in exhaustion and fear at their feet.  Torden tended my wounds and we rested a bit before deciding it would be folly to try recovering my effects.  I had lost my sword and my purse, but escaped with my knowledge, my story, and my life- a fair exchange I must say.


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