Today, as we were assessing our position above the Riverguard Keep, to our great surprise, Savara, the noblewoman from Featherdale Spire, stumbled up the hill into our midst. She claimed to have come to warn us about Thurl Merroska, that shudderingly creepy man who heads the Spire, and the Howling Hatred Cult, which he leads. She says that he intends us dread harm, which I have no trouble believing. She also informed us that the Cult of the Crushing Wave at Riverguard Keep below us has been terrorizing merchants on the river and impeding their trade. The two cults are marginally aligned. Clearly the Howling Hatred Cult is aligned with the Elemental Prince of the Air, and the Cult of the Crushing Wave is aligned with the Elemental Prince of Water. This truly cannot be good.
When we left the Spire, Thurl Merroska insisted that the Bugbears were with the Scarlet Monastery, but in our observation of Riverguard Keep today, Arturius saw three of them leaving the Keep below us, boarding one of the keel boats and heading south on the Dessarin. It is becoming ever more obvious that Thurl has lied repeatedly to place us in ever greater peril. We should have known this yesterday when the Featherdale Knights mercilessly slaughtered our animals. What a barbaric sight!
Riverguard Keep we have been told is home to Jolliver Grimjaw, the leader of the Cult of the Crushing Wave. Crushing Wave apparently is marginally aligned with the Cult of the Howling Hatred. This is an uncommon situation. I’ve been told by the others of our group that this Master Renfrin has said that the four Elemental Princes are not cohorts, but that may not be entirely correct. I don’t know how this will affect this mission into which I stumbled, one part of which is to return this Thurl Merroska to Master Refrin. I know that we need to bring him back alive, but my anger at him for the cruel destruction to our helpless animals burns hot in my heart and would that we could destroy him in turn!
Alas, my savage nature means I must make penance. I devoted myself to several hours of meditation and worship this evening on the road.
I am frustrated at our inability to make decisions. We spent many precious hours trying to determine our next actions, but it wasn’t until our gnome bard awoke from a lengthy nap that we were able to discern a path forward. Or, rather, in this case, backward, since after yet more discussion we decided it was most prudent not to approach the Keep, but to return to the Spire in a more direct attempt to apprehend Thurl Merroska. We may actually be able to travel faster without the horses, but keeping an eye on the skies for more of those awful Featherdale Knights. It would be too terrible if they saw us returning. It would give them far too much advantage over us. I dread returning to that dreadful place, but it is a necessity. Moradin preserve us all.
We have been traveling as swiftly as we dare in our return to the Featherdale Spire. Besides keeping an eye out for aerial knights, it has been an uneventful few days. I am bone weary, and am certain the others are as well. Well, except for Emiya, our terrifying barbarian. She seems to be indefatigable. How I yearn for her stores of energy!
We are here now, in the hills above the Spire, hiding under some scrub, listening to Savara as she holds forth on the guard situation at the tower. I am not entirely certain that she is trustworthy, but Arturius clearly holds her in high regard, so I must refrain from judgment. Only time will tell if we have placed our trust wisely. She tells us that our best chance of finding a way into the spire is during the day as at least half of the knights are away from their roost. At night, however, they stand a firm watch with eagle eyes.
In the end, it has been decided (not entirely by me) that half of our party – Emiya, Tanis, and Savara, with her secret knowledge of the Spire – will search the base of the tower for a rumored hidden passage into the keep. While it was not my choice to be left behind, my fatigued state makes me grateful for the opportunity to refresh myself in sleep. Even if all goes well, it will be many hours before they return to us.
Alas, my sleep was not to be undisturbed. Some time after I lay down, I was awakened by Dim and Arturius to follow our compatriots’ steps. Down we went to the tower, ending outside the portcullis where we waited anxiously for our friends’ reappearance. Soon enough, the portcullis was lifted, allowing us to slip inside where we were met with the sight of several corpses and Emiya and Tanis in grave need of healing. They had certainly acquitted themselves well! I went to work immediately to heal our brave wounded. Fortunately, my rest had been sufficient so that I was not overly fatigued by my spellwork, thank Moradin!
Shortly, however, as we were planning our next steps, our presence was discovered and the alarm was raised. Our feisty group fought for our lives against knights and monks that came flooding down the stairs as we were climbing to the top toward Thurl’s study. Suddenly, Thurl himself came flying into the spire on his forbidden gryphon. Everyone and everything stopped in fearful anticipation, which is where my story must hold….