Author Topic: Research Notes: Talis Skyshard  (Read 483 times)

Talis

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Research Notes: Talis Skyshard
« on: December 01, 2023, 05:43:43 PM »
Midwinter, 1384 DR

Entry: 043
Location: Easthaven, Icewind Dale
Topic: "Winterclaw #13" cross reference - "Winterclaw #1-#12," "Arveiaturace" (?) and "White Dragons."

Summary notes: Death; Setback; Progress.

Notes:

I have finally made progress, albeit at much cost.

In reference to entries #7 through #12 in this series, both Tukjack and Wulfrick are no longer working for me.  It would appear that the concerns I first noted in entry #8 were well founded. Last night, Wulfrick returned to the site of Offering 3 without my knowledge and attempted to steal both the diamonds and also presumably the goat that I had left for Winterclaw.

When Tukjack and I arrived by way of his sled, we found Wulfrick's frozen corpse, minus one leg and with my offering nowhere in sight. Tukjack was furious and told me if I did not get on his sled he would leave without me. I convinced him to stay for a few minutes - the white* lie that my quarry does not hunt during the day kept his loyalty for long enough that I could investigate the cause.

I felt guilty about the deception, but this is the closest thing to a breakthrough that I have experienced and Tukjack is ultimately fine.

(*Side note: Pardon my pun, self. I know you will understand that even in the direst circumstances, humour can help.)

Wulfrick was frozen solid from the waist up. His leg had been bitten off, going by the nature of his flesh wounds. I surmise that whatever attacked him did so with icy magic or a frozen breath. Given that we are seeking a rumoured White Dragon Wyrmling, I believe the man's attempt to steal the offering may have provoked an attack. I wish he would have believed me.

I understand Tukjack's subsequent refusal to carry on with the project. He has a wife and child - had he not stepped back, I would have insisted. He has no dreams of becoming a Wyrmspeaker - only a desire for coin. I paid him some silver for the additional stress, but I could not afford anything more than that. The truth is I have almost ran out of diamonds and gold both.

Tonight, on Midwinter, I shall venture out alone and leave tribute. If Whiteclaw remains in the area, as I suspect he must, then he will doubtlessly confront me. If the Light of Magic wills it, I shall make first contact with a real Dragon and gain his trust. If she does not, it may be also be my last contact with one.

I have prepared for this eventuality as best I can. If this is my final entry, know that I was not a fool. In order to create something new, one must take risks.

May this night inspire me forever more.

Talis Skyshard



« Last Edit: December 02, 2023, 08:05:29 PM by Talis »

Talis

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Re: Research Notes: Talis Skyshard
« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2023, 04:32:13 PM »
1 Alturiak, 1384 DR

Entry: 044
Location: The Lady's Rest Inn, "Barovia"
Topic: "Fog Anomaly" cross reference - "Winterclaw #13," "the Vampire" and "the Ezran."

Summary notes: Ossalur; Mists; Teleportation.

Notes:

I do not know where to begin. This report shall have to come in multiple parts. (See future notes referenced 'the Vampire' and 'the Ezran.')

As noted in entry #13 of the Winterclaw series, I spent Midwinter's night encamped in the wilderness awaiting what I hoped to be my first encounter with a dragon. This did not come to pass.

At approximately three in the morning I was awoken in my tent by the sound of a low growl outside. I felt a mix of fear and excitement as I exited my tent in search of the source. I could see nothing, but a faint blue wisp of light and the sound of a creature lurking in the darkness.

"Ossalur," came the voice. This means 'travel' in Draconic, which seemed to be a clear instruction. I ventured into the dark with my storm lantern, keen to do as asked. If I was to survive and learn from this Wyrmling, I must do exactly what it says and defer to its judgement.

I walked for what may have been thirty minutes, although I am aware that an errant mind can make any moment eternal. Regardless, I was well out of sight of my meagre camp by the time the incident occurred.

The wind ahead of me suddenly picked up and the wisp of light disappeared, replaced by a cloud of blueish mist. A biting gust cut through my furs and almost sent me to my knees, but I pressed on. I am certain I heard that voice once again. "Ossalur." I must have.

If this were a test, I would endeavour to pass it. I continued on into and through the icy fog, determined to prove myself to the Goddess and to reach my goal. I then slipped on what must have been a puddle of ice.

I found myself face first in a muddy patch of grass. As I arose; the mists parted. I could smell garlic and heard the sound of a lute being played in the distance. There was no sign of Winterclaw, nor a drop of snow. I could only surmise that these mists were a conjuration of wild magic; or a distraction from some sort of hidden teleportation circle.

Before I could get my bearings and test my theories, however, a goblin-like creature approached me. I would later learn that his name was Skratt the Caliban. (See future note referenced 'Caliban.')

"Welcome to Barovia," he said. His answers to my immediate questions would fill me with incredulity and created even more questions.

If only I knew that this would be the least exciting thing to happen on this night.

Light of Magic preserve me.

Talis Skyshard


« Last Edit: December 02, 2023, 08:09:10 PM by Talis »

Talis

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Re: Research Notes: Talis Skyshard
« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2023, 03:23:20 PM »
1 Alturiak, 1384 DR

Entry: 045
Location: The Lady's Rest Inn, "Barovia"
Topic: "the Vampire" cross reference - "Winterclaw #13," "Fog Anomaly" and "the Ezran."

Summary notes: Skratt the Caliban; Emillian Drache; "Outlanders."

Notes:

This note is a direct continuation of entry #044, "The Fog Anomaly." It is longer than I would like.

Skratt informed me that the 'Mists' had taken me to this realm of "Barovia," (See future note referenced 'Barovia') as they had other 'Outlanders' from foreign lands. In his ignorance he implied that there was no way to depart from this place and that I had become trapped here forever. I did not entertain that notion for long and asked him if he had seen any evidence of a White Dragon passing through.

Skratt laughed, then told me that there was a den of local Kobolds nearby. He led me passed a rotten looking town towards a cave, where I hoped to find some sort of explanation. "Ossalur," after all.

I did pray for guidance, but She did not answer. Had I failed Her? It was as though Her Light did not shine upon me. Perhaps we were within some bizarre demiplane, conjured by an insane archmage such as Halaster Blackcloak. Perhaps this was part of Her test. I still maintained Her blessings, after all.

We entered the cave. I attempted to speak to the Kobolds, but they just attacked, as they are known to do. As we progressed into their main chamber the temperature dropped and those deathly mists re-appeared. All that I could perceive was the sounds of quick bladework and dying Kobolds.

A man's voice then echoed around the cavern out in a language I could not recognise - guttural and slow. I would later learn that this native tongue is known as Balok, and is akin to no language I recognise. Could this land really be beyond Toril? I have not yet had time to give that thought appropriate contemplation.

Emillian Drache, I would learn, was a fallen Knight of this land. He wore blood red armour, wielded a wicked greatsword and had been cursed with Vampirism. I could not follow the speed of his movements and before I knew it, he pointed his blade towards us and issued a challenge. Skratt answered it.

"Go and get help!" he screamed as the Vampire descended upon him. I heard the wet thud of a defeated Caliban as I ran for the entrance, in a panic. I had been prepared to die this night - for the Light of Magic, for my dream of becoming a Wyrmspeaker - but not for a cursed monster's sport in a den of dead Kobolds.

Skratt bought enough time for me to make it back to town - and I would not leave him. If there was any chance that this "Caliban" could be saved, I would see it done. I ran into the rotting temple of Lathander (see future note referenced 'the Morninglord Peculiarity') and cried out for help. Three people answered.

Aelia Arclight, Telmonte and Brother Nishan were all, I would learn, 'Outlanders.' Each of them rushed to my aid and followed me to the cave, having recognised the description of the Vampire. Once we arrived we confronted Drache, who was stood over the prone form of a still-breathing Skratt, thank Kereska.

The Vampire Drache said he would leave "peacefully" if he could be allowed to slay me, for having ran away I had apparently forfeited my life. He appeared to have some sort of honour code, which meant that Skratt could be spared and I must be slain. Fortunately for me I have never seen the value in following irrational and harmful rules. Father would likely agree.

The heroic trio refused his demand, so he swore to hunt me down before escaping into the night. How wonderful, self.

Telmonte said I should eat some garlic. I am not convinced that a herb will solve all my problems, though. I shall have to investigate the weaknesses of Vampires more thoroughly than an apparent aversion to Cormyrian seasoning.

After making sure that I was alright the trio bought me supper and left me to eat at a table in this disappointing inn. Kind of them. I was shortly joined by a group of Bahamutists, of all things. I decided not to tell them of my upbringing, for obvious reasons.

The day was not yet over. I will finish this next report before sleep takes me, for it at least has some less life-threatening implications than the above.

May the Wonderbringer keep me motivated.

Talis Skyshard


« Last Edit: December 04, 2023, 04:07:34 AM by Talis »

Talis

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Re: Research Notes: Talis Skyshard
« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2023, 11:01:08 AM »
3 Alturiak, 1384 DR
(Note: 14 "Martie" 778 Barovian Calendar (BC), apparently.)

Entry: 046
Location: The Lady's Rest Inn, "Barovia"
Topic: "the Ezran" cross reference - "Winterclaw #13," "Fog Anomaly" and "the Vampire."

Summary notes: Trygve; Emmanuelle de le Foret; 'Ezra'; the Gods.

Notes:

Apologies, self. It took me longer to write this report than I had planned. I was struck by a sudden melancholy when working on my first draft. The burden of no longer feeling Her presence is challenging. I have destroyed my previous attempt and started again. I pray that when we next read this, it shall be in better spirits.

I finished my last report having mentioned that I was sat next to some Bahamutists, by my poor luck. As they loudly boasted of themselves, a grizzled looking Dwarf from another table offered to give my fellow new arrivals advice. They laughed at him, causing him to depart with a dire warning about the fate of the arrogant.

I followed the Dwarf out of the door despite being tired and wary after everything that happened earlier. I was keen to learn from someone who had clearly survived in this horrible place, and asked if he would share his wisdom with me instead. His name was Trygve, of Dvergeheim. (See planned future note referenced 'Dvergeheim Dragon.')

We prepared to set off not long after midnight. It was pitch black outside, and even my eyes struggled to make out much of my surroundings. I lit my storm lantern and as the light beamed across the Outskirts, it landed upon the unexpecting face of a human woman.

She had the fieriest of red hair, the most emerald of eyes and a strong build. More than that, though, she looked tired and lost. I felt for her, and for some reason and despite having made no introduction, I asked if she wanted to come with us. Her name was Emmanuelle de le Foret and bizarrely she agreed to join us on our midnight march.

With my two travelling companions I finally had a chance to properly query my new situation. This land was one of many trapped in the mists, Trygve said. The Gods of 'other worlds' could not speak to me here, said Emmanuelle. There were no Dragons in Barovia, added Trygve, save legends of something beneath Dvergeheim and another within the mists, supplemented Emmanuelle.

Two off-handed comments amidst a much more pragmatic conversation, dear self, but to you and I this bodes well. Perhaps this is why the Light of Magic sent us here? I shall endeavour to investigate both rumours.

Trygve took us up a hill towards an abandoned ruin. There, the dead stirred and attacked us. Emmanuelle explained that these were the "Legions of the Night," a unified force of the evil "Mists of Death" that threatened to destroy us all. Trygve did not argue.

I instinctively disbelieved such nonsense. The undead are an evil and dangerous foe, indeed, but the notion of some greater unity to these disparate forces beggars belief. There are countless examples throughout history of dread powers turning against one another. Despite this, however, Emmanuelle opined it with such confidence that I almost believed her. Dangerous, that.

This Ezra, her "Guardian in the Mists," was supposedly the only deity willing and able to thwart this great and terrible foe. Whilst I found this rather na´ve, the woman also made sure to stand in front of me whenever the dead threatened to attack. We are no slouch, self - or, you better not be because I'm not at the moment - but this woman would not give an inch despite it.

(Note planned future report referenced "The Church of Ezra")

It was almost as though she was willing on the risk. Even at good opportunities to retreat, she charged onwards. It was rather frustrating, almost. I had only ever seen this sort of zeal from the mindless recruits father brought to the Cult as meat shields - yet Emmanuelle was focused and could hold a conversation, unlike them. Fascinating.

Trygve explained that if I was to survive here, I needed to find good allies and not take undue risks. That the superstitious and parochial peoples of Barovia would never be my friend. That the local authorities should be avoided and never crossed - hardly new to me, self - and that the Count was a powerful wizard who would not abide any breach of his authority. I jested that this was my nature, but the Dwarf simply repeated his dire warning.

I thanked Trygve for the gift of supplies and retreated to the Lady's Rest, where I immediately began writing these entries.

If the Light of Magic cannot hear me, why is She still answering my prayers?

I refuse to believe that She is not here. I shall not.

Talis Skyshard

 
« Last Edit: December 06, 2023, 07:55:49 PM by Talis »